Film NZ scrapped after review of govt’s screen production grant


The role of the country’s national film office and international screen business marketing agency, Film New Zealand, will be taken over by the New Zealand Film Commission, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry announced today.

The commission, which funds local films as well as administering the government’s screen incentives programme, will assume responsibility for the international marketing of local production from the start of next month, Joyce and Barry said in a joint statement.

As part of the integration, Film New Zealand’s staff will move across to the NZFC premises, the commission said in a separate release. The Film New Zealand board, which is chaired by John McCay, will resign and chief executive Gisella Carr will also step down.

The merger comes after the government’s review of its new screen product grant scheme. The scheme was launched last April and saw the government combine its Large Budget Screen Production Grant (LBSPG) and Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) into a single initiative, the New Zealand Screen Production Grant. Previous rebates of 15 percent for the LBSPG and up to 40 per cent for the SPIF were replaced by two rebates – 20 percent plus an extra 5 percent for productions that meet specific criteria.

“There has been an increase in the number of productions as a result of the NZSPG, and business confidence within the screen sector has improved,” Joyce said. “The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is expecting a threefold increase in applications for funding. These productions demonstrate a wider breadth of local content than before, which will lift international perception of New Zealand’s culture and creativity.”

The review will see some technical changes to the NZSPG, which will also come into effect from Aug. 1. Changes include halving the qualifying expenditure for the post, digital and visual effects grant to $500,000 in a bid to stimulate demand for post-production.

There will also be a new provision to allow children’s drama productions to access both NZSPG and other funding, an increase in qualifying threshold for significant New Zealand television and non-feature film content to align with the same criteria with feature films, while television and non-feature film productions will need to meet a 10 percent market attachment threshold to ensure commercial viability. A limit to the amount of funding available for stock and archive footage will also be introduced, to ensure funding promotes further cultural and industry development.


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