NZ launches $36m production fund

The fund is part of a recovery package and is open to film and TV projects

By Chris Evans 8 Jan 2021

NZ launches $36m production fund

The New Zealand government has launched a screen sector recovery package that includes a new $36m fund to support high-quality film and TV productions with international appeal.

The main aim is to attract further international investment in New Zealand’s screen sector and give opportunities to New Zealand creators and IP owners to be competitive in the global market, particularly in response to Covid-19.

The Premium Fund is jointly administered by the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air and is developed in partnership with government agency Te Māngai Pāho.

Eligible projects include feature films of no less than 80 minutes, single-episode television or non-feature films and series productions including drama, documentary, children’s and animation.

The preference is for the fund to be accessed by Aotearoa New Zealand producers with their own IP, who can potentially bring aboard international coproducers for extra financing.

Applications also ideally need to have projects that use local skills and talent, as well as proposals that demonstrate the highest level of New Zealand cultural content.

Preference will also be given to projects that are creatively assessed as having “bold and ambitious concepts” with international reach, and productions that can demonstrate established consultation, engagement with or inclusion of Māori creatives.

There will be two rounds of production funding decisions, the first is in the 2020/21 financial year and the second before the end of 2021/22. The first round of submissions is open until February 17.

The move comes after the country’s screen industry last year launched a 10-year road map designed to grow the sector and make the country more attractive to overseas productions.

New Zealand is currently Covid-19 free having introduced a strict countrywide lockdown in March last year and is enjoying an unprecedented boom in film and TV production.

Major blockbusters such as Amazon’s ambitious Lord of the Rings series, James Cameron’s Avatar sequels and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, have all been shooting in New Zealand recently.

Annabelle Sheehan of the NZ Film Commission (NZFC) said at the Big Screen Symposium in December: "We are currently in a period of ‘peak production’ and this trend looks like it will continue into next year, which is fantastic news for everyone who works in the industry. It’s building waves of new creative filmmakers in all sorts of crew roles.”

Five local features are prepping to start production in first half 2021 triggering $21.6M spend and jobs for approximately 430 Crew members.

The NZFC estimates a spend by international live-action productions of between NZ$330 and $445 million in the first six months of 2021, delivering New Zealand jobs numbering between 2900 and 3900. Subject to border exemptions and availability of spaces.

More details on the fund’s guidelines are available here.



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