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Sound Stage Puts NZ Film Industry Centre Stage

News Release
13 April 2005


SOUND STAGE PUTS NEW ZEALAND FILM INDUSTRY CENTRE STAGE INTERNATIONALLY

New Zealand’s newest and largest international sound stage was officially launched by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark today.

It is a 24,500 sq. ft., 40 ft. high, soundproofed, fully enclosed studio space in which filming can take place uninterrupted by weather and other noise. This facility, the largest in New Zealand, is on a par with the biggest and best sound stages in Hollywood and London.

The new sound stage joins the numerous other screen production resources in Miramar developed by Camperdown Studios Ltd., co-owned by Oscar® winners Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk. The facilities include multiple sound stages at the Stone Street complex, full production offices, set, prop, costume, and related support facilities, specialty facilities for miniatures film production, two of the largest motion capture stages in the world, one of the largest super-computer facilities in the world, including the complete IT and physical infrastructure required for the enormous computing power used by Weta Digital, and numerous other production assets spread throughout the Miramar area.

Camperdown managing director Jamie Selkirk says: “As our production work in Wellington got bigger and more complex, we needed to expand our facilities to include a very large sound stage. We wanted to make the investment, but the project scale was massive, so we were also considering other alternatives. Positively Wellington Business’ help made the expansion work in Miramar possible. It made the project something we could support and guaranteed that Kong and other large productions could come here”.

Mr. Selkirk is clear about the benefits: “Stone Street was already a large studio complex, but the addition of the new stage not only gave us the facility to create Kong here, but also to entice other productions from overseas to use our facilities and the amazing skill base that we have in Wellington and New Zealand”.

A busy future is anticipated for Stone Street: “We’re always in confidential talks about other shows that can come here – either films owned and produced by New Zealanders, or Hollywood films, which bring the largest budgets. Needless to say there has been great deal of interest from productions in utilising the facilities at Stone Street, working with Weta, doing post-production at Park Road, and utilising everything else we have to offer here in Miramar”.

Already used to film “King Kong”, the new soundstage at the Stone Street complex was principally funded by Camperdown. In recognition of the importance of the film industry to the Wellington region, Positively Wellington Business, the region’s economic development agency, has received $2 million under New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Regional Partnership Programme to go towards development of the facility.

The facility will be run on a commercial basis with preference being given to those projects that offer the region the greatest economic benefit and jobs. According to assessments, if the expanded Stone Street facility attracts one mid-budget film every 24 months, the new sound stage will benefit the regional economy to the tune of $250 million over ten years; and by $650 million if it attracts one high-budget film over the same time period.

The impact on the national economy, assuming the same scenarios, is estimated at $450 million over 10 years and $1.2 billion over 10 years respectively.
Positively Wellington Business’ Chief Executive Philip Lewin says: “The completion of the Sound Stage is a landmark in the development of New Zealand’s film industry. It is a key piece of infrastructure right here in the Wellington region, and has come at a crucial point in the industry’s growth. We are delighted to have helped make this project happen”.

Ends

Positively Wellington Business is committed to building business in the Wellington region. Working on behalf of Hutt City, Porirua City, Kapiti Coast District, Upper Hutt and Wellington City councils, Positively Wellington Business offers a broad range of services to help businesses compete in the local economy and succeed in the global marketplace.

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