Hollywood on NZ

January 27th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

David Fisher in the Herald reported:

Avatar producer says the Prime Minister’s visit to Los Angeles helped the put a face to the country’s pro-film initiatives and was one of the reasons he will be back to make the sequels. …

“It’s not just two old film-makers,” said Landau, recalling the October dinner with Prime Minister John Key. It included some of Hollywood’s most influential players from major studios including Disney and Warner Bros at “chairman level”.

“People in Hollywood were able to see there is a face behind government, a face behind initiatives. We’ve all gone to countries where things get muddled in bureaucracy.

“He was very personable. He spoke about the big picture of New Zealand, and not just about the film industry, and the role the film industry could play in that.”

“It really spoke to the studio heads and said New Zealand is a country which is committed to making production work. The evening went extremely well from a Hollywood standpoint.”

And the impact on NZ:

It is a section of the community which, according to the briefing given to Mr Key before his trip, helps contribute $3 billion revenue to the economy. While the figures appear to include everything from television broadcasting to cinema works, the briefing said the area attracting the biggest grants and most publicity – screen production and post-production – grew from $313 million (0.25 per cent of GDP) in 2005 to $638 million (0.47 per cent of GDP) in 2011.

And that is excluding any tourism benefits.

Landau said those working in the industry were the driving force for him and Cameron to return to New Zealand for two sequels to Avatar.

While scenery and incentives were often cited as the greatest inducement, with Mr Key highlighting a “workforce which is not heavily unionised”, Landau has a simpler explanation.

“We didn’t come here for the location. We came here because of the industry and the support it gets from the Government. Avatar – we didn’t film on location at all. We’re coming back to New Zealand to film Avatar [2&3] because of the people.”

He said there was an excellence which, for example, was reflected in work done by Sir Peter Jackson’s Weta studio. He urged a visit, saying “you owe it to yourself” to see cutting-edge, high-quality work. “They’re continually advancing everything here.”

I’ve heard this from a lot of people, that the NZ way of doing things is a major attraction.

Landau said the growth was to the benefit of the communities in which the films were made. “The spending is so diverse. When a film comes to New Zealand, they might hire 200 local crew. But they might also put up 100 people at local hotels. Those people have to go out and eat.

“People on the production have to go and use the local stationery store. They have to go buy lumber to build with. They have to bring in a caterer on the set. It goes on and on and on.

“This isn’t just someone coming in making widgets and the spending only goes to widgets. The economic impact of a film on a community is quite significant.”

He rejected claims of low wages. “When we came here, we looked for the best of the best.”

He rattled through names of those he had met and hired, listing those outside Wellington brought in to work on Avatar. He also rejected concerns about youth workers being vulnerable.

“We’re not looking to find the youth but for those who might be out there doing that, and to those who are criticising it – the youth are your future.

“If those people don’t have the opportunity today, they will never have the opportunity in the future.”

Almost all destroyed by an Australian union that only represented a few dozen New Zealanders.

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16 Responses to “Hollywood on NZ”

  1. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    Have I got this correct?

    The so called right are calling government intervention and picking favourites a good thing, and the left are objecting to it?

    WTF?

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  2. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    pffft… actors.

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  3. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    Do you mean the government intervention of not taxing something, RB?

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    Kimble – probably more that it’s selectively not taxed.
    We’d have an awesome car manufacturing industry if the government allowed companies to set up manufacturing plants and not tax them. We’d have an awesome electronics industry if the government didn’t tax that sector. Etc.

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  5. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    Oil exploration is badly needed here yet companies have to walk the gauntlet of environmental and racist/ separatist lunacy. Three large explorers pulled out recently.

    A thousand million spent on exploring would have so much more benefit than pandering to the vagaries of tourism.

    Too hard for Key and the Nats, and no rubbing shoulders with Hollywood progressives.

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  6. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    We’d have an awesome car manufacturing industry if the government allowed companies to set up manufacturing plants and not tax them. We’d have an awesome electronics industry if the government didn’t tax that sector. Etc.

    No, we wouldnt and no, we wouldnt. DUCY?

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  7. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    Too hard for Key and the Nats, and no rubbing shoulders with Hollywood progressives.

    10 demerits – off topic

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  8. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    What or who is DUCY?

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  9. Dean Papa (743 comments) says:

    those ozzies are just biter and jealious of us, eh DPF?

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  10. Dean Papa (743 comments) says:

    curious the way some are so desperate to suck up to hollywood, while at the same time treating Kim Dotcom as a hero.

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  11. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    DPF’s still pedalling the myth about the Hobbit production being nearly moving to another country because of a union. He’s even expanded that myth to one of a film industry ‘almost all destroyed’.

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  12. Kimble (4,383 comments) says:

    If The Hobbit moved, then that would be a terrible signal to anyone else looking to set up here. LDO.

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  13. Fox (202 comments) says:

    “..concerns about youth workers being vulnerable”

    Huh?? Meaning what? That some of the world’s biggest and most influential movie production companies should avoid offering young talent here in NZ the chance of a lifetime to acquire extremely rare and valuable experience, knowledge, and tools to advance their future careers to otherwise unattainable heights, and simply hire ‘seasoned’ workers and oldies instead?

    Who the hell promoted this argument?? I want NAMES!!

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  14. Dean Papa (743 comments) says:

    steady now Mike, it’s DPF’s blog and he can do as he likes. And if you don’t like it you know what you can do!!

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  15. Viking2 (11,146 comments) says:

    “We didn’t come here for the location. We came here because of the industry and the support it gets from the Government. Avatar – we didn’t film on location at all. We’re coming back to New Zealand to film Avatar [2&3] because of the people.”

    Listen up. Above is the reason given.
    Get the govt et all out of the way and let business get on with the job. We know what to do.
    Passion is what drives these people.

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  16. Jack5 (4,595 comments) says:

    Kimble posted at 1.07:

    ….Do you mean the government intervention of not taxing something …

    More double-speak from the PR sector!

    When Left or Right want to disguise Government handouts such as tax breaks, they try to redefine them as “not subsidies”. The film industry follows the international wind-farm industry in this.We shouldn’t be surprised by propaganda from the film mob. After all, they gave the world Leni Riefenstahl.

    If the Government is sincere in believing the film industry is the way to boost NZ tourism, why doesn’t it just say something on the lines “therefore we are going to give it a hand.”

    The Government will probably explain that helping the film industry while letting an industry like Hillside engineering die is because the former helps tourism. In that case, the Government should be up front and say it is increasing its subsidies for tourism.

    The Government is picking winners. There’s fuck all difference between National and Labour.

    Viking2 at 2.44 posted:

    Get the govt et all out of the way and let business get on with the job.

    More propaganda, trying to make us believe that film industry tax breaks favour ALL business. Bullshit.

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