Move over The Hobbit, Avatar and King Kong – New Zealand wants to get its hands on some big TV hits.
Changes announced yesterday to government funding for screen productions are expected to open the door to more television productions, in the wake of previous big money-spinners such as Hercules, Spartacus and Xena: Warrior Princess.
“We are very keen to encourage television. It’s the economic bread and butter,” New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason said yesterday. “You have a couple of movies come out a week, compared to hundreds of hours of television.”
Hit shows such as Game of Thrones have been big winners for countries where they were filmed, with its first three seasons generating £65 million (about NZ$124m) for the Northern Ireland economy.
I would die of happiness if Game of Thrones was filmed here!
Other changes to government grants are likely to attract more post-production, digital and visual effects work, which was welcomed yesterday by Park Road Post general manager Cameron Harland.
“When it was announced I got straight on the phone to a company in New York who’d been umming and ahhing over whether to do post-production here,” he said. “It’s opened up a discussion now.”
The changes have brought down the thresholds at which various productions can attract government grants.
The Large Budget Screen Production Grant was previously open only to those valued at $15m or above, which excluded most TV shows. The threshold has now been reduced to $4m.
Seems a sensible threshold change. Having such series filmed here bring in far more in tax revenue and spending than the amount of the grant, and that is before you even consider tourism benefits.