fledgling filmmakers are like athletes whose only opportunity to
compete in their first major race is the Olympics... they either
succeed or fail early in their careers."
identity. It's no accident that many of our strongest films are
based on our literature, for example Once Were Warriors, An Angel
At My Table and Whale Rider. Our culture is the well from which
filmmakers draw their inspiration to create unique cinematic images
that are also internationally accessible universal stories
told against a culturally specific background.
spirit. The commission's support is provided as investment, not
grants. And to get the investment for any film that is not wholly
financed from New Zealand, producers and directors have to construct
deals and relationships with parties from different countries. In
My Father's Den, a film currently in production about a photojournalist
who is implicated in the mysterious disappearance of a teenager,
is a small feature with a complex deal structure: eight partners
in three countries, each with their own set of laws and tax regulations.
All this requires filmmakers to have the confidence, contacts, determination,
experience and patience to go after such deals if they want their
films to get made.
globally. We know we have to play on an international stage; there
is no other choice. So our fledgling filmmakers are like athletes
whose only opportunity to compete in their first major race is the
Olympics. Yet I firmly believe this is one of the key reasons for
the success of New Zealand filmmakers they either succeed
or fail early in their careers. They have to be very talented, very
ambitious and very resilient.
from the top. Since 1999, when she took office, our secret weapon
has been Prime Minister Helen Clark, who has taken the additional
portfolio of Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. Her commitment
has meant that all the arts, not just film, have received more money
and become the responsibility of the economic ministries, putting
them at the centre of the government's attention.
Though we have
come far, we must continue to move ahead. Our three-part growth
strategy involves leveraging large, high-profile local productions,
positioning ourselves to attract foreign productions into the country,
and expanding support for domestic films. Each of our Oscar-nominated
movies this year exemplifies one of those parts.
With The Lord
Of the Rings the biggest film project in New Zealand up to
that time both the government and the commission recognised
even before the first movie was made the opportunity that its success
would have both for the film industry and for the economy generally.
So the government put in place a range of leveraging activities
and even gave Pete Hodgson, Minister of Research, Science and Technology,
the additional portfolio of Minister for Lord Of The Rings. This
was a very bold call when all it had to go on was one very determined
filmmaker in Peter Jackson, a great book, and, in New Line, a brave
Yet this commitment
paid off in increased tourism and business creation. It also brought
into existence a substantial filmmaking infrastructure: Mr. Jackson
has built his own film processing lab and post-production facility
and is about to build a sound stage to service his next production,
a remake of King Kong, currently scheduled to shoot in Wellington
have followed suit or moved to take advantage of the burgeoning
film industry in other ways. For example, some of the digital effects
for Master And Commander were done in New Zealand.