Boom in Auckland film industry


After a very lean few years, the Auckland screen industry is booming.

Cult television show Power Rangers is helping lead the charge, and for the first time it has a Kiwi Power Ranger in the mix.

Followed by millions of fans in more than 150 countries, this new season of this popular series has already premiered in the United States and introduces Auckland actor James Davies as one of the five core rangers.

Mr Davies has been cast as Chase – the very first New Zealand Power Ranger.

“He’s a bit of a flirt when he can be,” says Mr Davies. “[He is] a hopeless romantic who tries really hard but doesn’t get so far. He’s really into skate boarding, which is part of his identity, and of course, he’s a Kiwi.”

While Power Rangers has called Auckland home on a production level for many years, this is the first time New Zealand will be New Zealand.

“It’s great to be able to come here and film around Auckland, and show off our beautiful city, and to get our landmarks in is awesome,” says Mr Davies.

Power Rangers has been welcomed back to the New Zealand with open arms, spearheading a major upturn in the local screen industry.

“We’ve gone from famine to feast,” says Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development

Chief executive Brett O’Riley. “A lot of that is thanks to the change in government incentives.”

Producer Chloe Smith has recently filmed a pilot for a Steven Spielberg television show called Lumen and is converting a warehouse into studios for the production.

“There is an MTV series, Shanara, which is filming, Power Rangers of course, Pete’s Dragon out of Wellington, another show Crampers out of Wellington, and of course our own domestic industry is great,” says Ms Smith.

This feast of film work is all well and good, but the sudden demand is proving a challenge when it comes to studio space.

“The facilities we have, like Auckland film studios, which are booked out [and] that’s forcing productions into facilities like this, which are less than desirable,” says Mr O’Riley.

Ms Smith is soon to welcome director Sam Raimi back to New Zealand, where he will shoot his 10 episode television show Ash vs Evil Dead.

And industrial Penrose isn’t exactly Hollywood, Ms Smith says it is slightly more challenging, but they will do their best.

A typically optimistic can-do Kiwi attitude is shared by the legion of talented Kiwi film crews.

“We were dead in the water two years ago, and people did leave, and find new careers,” says Kiwi gaffer Tony Blackwood.
“We seem to be in a recovery stage, and it’s not just Auckland, it was rest of New Zealand too which was suffering. Now, there’s a wave of new work coming in.”

And a wave the industry is hoping they can ride for some time to come.

3 News

Read more:


Comments are closed.