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Film Sector Veterans Call For Government Investment In Post-production

On Friday, at the Screen Music and Sound Guild (SMSG) panel event, ‘Screen Sector issues for a National Government’, industry veterans said new government incentives are needed to keep our post-production industry competitive on the world stage.

Speaking to a crowd of industry and Wellington leaders at Miramar creative centre, internationally acclaimed NZ screen composer Graeme Revell said more Government investment in post-production would maintain New Zealand’s appeal to international film companies.

“Countries are increasing their offers to film makers ramping up post-COVID, and New Zealand is now being decided against by productions.

“The numbers show that for every $1m invested by the Government through the rebate scheme, New Zealand gets $6m back in foreign investment,” said Revell.

“It works, and New Zealand makes a lot of money out of it. But other countries have realised this too, and they’re increasing their rebates to attract even more productions.”

Australia now has a 30% tax rebate for post-production, digital and visual effects, regardless of where the project is shot.

Ireland offers a rebate of 37% of a film’s expenditure – nearly double what New Zealand offers. Cyprus and France offer the biggest rebate at 45% and 50% respectively.

“We’re starting to see productions choose other countries with better incentives. There’s no reason to not scale up New Zealand’s rebate, and we must if we want to stay competitive,” said Revell.

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RNZ’s ‘At The Movies’ presenter, Simon Morris, moderated the event and was astonished by the rebates on offer internationally.

“There was a period for about 10 years where suddenly we had the right sort of backgrounds, the right scenery. That’s gone out of fashion. Now, the rebate really matters.”

“It’s surprising, but the most Oscars won by New Zealanders are for sound mixing and sound editing. So Kiwi film workers have a great reputation, especially in post-production, but that reputation needs to be accessible.”

John McKay, SMSG Co-Chair and CEO of Wellington post-production company POW, says a lot of his current work is coming from Asia, and an increase to New Zealand’s rebate would help to attract more of those productions.

“It’s very hard to pitch for new work when other countries offer better deals.

“There’s a lot of work out there for post-production, especially from places like Asia, and we could attract more of it if we had a rebate that was on par with our neighbours.”

During the event, Melissa Conway, Executive Director of SMSG, said the Guild has commissioned research into the state of New Zealand’s post-production sector, and it would present recommendations to the Government next year.

“It was great to have the threshold for the Post-Production, Digital and Visual Effects rebate lowered earlier this year, and we’ve seen a good increase in local post-production work.

“There’s a huge international market for post-production. The more competitive our post-production rebate, the bigger the share of work we can get. Overseas projects will have yet another good reason to use New Zealand composers, sound editors and VFX artists.”

The Screen Music and Sound Guild’s 'Turning Up the Volume' campaign aims to raise the profile of New Zealand’s screen music and sound talent with overseas productions, domestic filmmakers and rangatahi considering a career in film.

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