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Boost for New Zealand screen production

10 November 2003 Media Statement

Boost for New Zealand screen production

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Helen Clark, and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard, today announced that the New Zealand Film Commission is to receive a $10 million (incl GST) baseline funding increase in the 2004 Budget.

The increase comes close to doubling the commission’s existing baseline funding and is a significant increase in support for the local industry.

“The screen production industry was identified in the Growth and Innovation Framework as an enabling sector with significant spillover effects for New Zealand as a whole. Film and television make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economy and export earnings, as well as being very powerful media through which we express our national identity and assert our unique brand.

“In the Cultural Recovery Package of 2000, the government established the Film Production Fund to provide a bridge between the subsidised, low-budget first films which the Film Commission has traditionally backed, and fully commercial productions.

“It is immensely gratifying to see the international success of first two films to be co-financed from the Film Production Fund. Whale Rider and Perfect Strangers are uniquely New Zealand stories that couldn’t have been made anywhere else. Their success reminds us that New Zealand movies can compete with the best in the world.

“The Film Commission has been central to supporting and developing the New Zealand film industry for a quarter of a century, through developing and funding short and feature films, and putting in place upskilling programmes for New Zealand’s screenwriters, directors and producers.

“It is vital that the local film industry continues to grow and flourish. The government is prepared to make this further investment to help develop the cultural and economic potential of New Zealand’s own films and film makers. Now that the Film Fund’s resources are committed, it is time to fund the Film Commission on an ongoing basis to continue support for local feature films.”

The increase to the NZ Film Commission’s baseline will enable it to:
- cover the costs of administering the Large Budget Screen Production Grant scheme
- further support local film makers to produce more films of the status and quality that are now coming from the Film Production Fund
- develop the concept of Signature Television, to provide support to self-contained, one-off programmes which fall between short films and television series and feature films, fulfilling a policy commitment of the Labour-Progressive Government

ENDS

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