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Auckland committed to new film studio

The New Zealand city of Auckland has said it’s committed to developing a new film studio, despite a recent proposal falling through.

Council land initially earmarked for a new studio and production hub will instead be used for housing after Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) was unable to meet a deadline to present a viable business proposal.

ATEED said it had 20 separate film and production businesses interested in forming a Screen Innovation and Production Precinct, and the organisation will look for an alternative site.

“The screen sector in Auckland has told us that being involved in discussions about the infrastructure our industry requires to grow, and the Hobsonville proposal itself, has united them in an unprecedented positive way,” said Brett O’Riley, chief executive of ATEED.

“Senior industry representatives who we have involved in this journey want us to keep pushing for a cluster or precinct concept. There is no doubt that the potential exists for a world-class screen ecosystem, including film, TV, gaming, animation and training, to thrive in Auckland in the right location.”

Auckland has historically been New Zealand’s TV production hub, while films tend to be based in Wellington. The local industry is already served by Auckland Film Studios, which offers three separate sound stages and recently hosted the fantasy drama series The Shannara Chronicles.

The city has had another profile boost hosting scenes for a new live-action series of long-running children’s TV action drama Power Rangers (pictured), a franchise which has a history of Auckland production since the early 90s.

“We don’t just need cityscapes for Power Rangers, we need forests, volcanoes, hills, beaches – things that aren’t always easy to find near an LA studio,” said Judd Lynn, an executive producer on Power Rangers, in comments to Scoop Media.

For more on filming in New Zealand, check our production guide.