Press Release: Screen Industry Forum held 14 November 2013

updated: 18 Nov 13

For immediate release: 15 November 2103

A state-of-the-nation meeting of over 400 screen industry practitioners and businesses, ranging from the creative sector (directors, writers, producers) to service industry (technicians, post-production facilities, location managers, line producers, production managers, film accountants etc) as well as screen guilds, screen associations and film schools,  was held yesterday at the Mt. Eden War Memorial Hall to discuss the current decline in screen business which has come about by the government’s recent decision not to enable New Zealand to be competitive in attracting international screen productions.

In spite of our world-class facilities and talents, New Zealand has not been able to compete with other countries due to our low rebate. Our once thriving screen industry has recently seen screen businesses close down, facilities and equipment sold and many of our best and brightest talents leave for work overseas. In an effort to bring together the different sectors of the screen industry, Film Auckland Inc. organised the Screen Industry Forum with the support of film guilds and other industry organisations.

The vocal and passionate attendees came together from all parts of New Zealand voiced their concerns that the screen rebates were too low to be competitive, that the government’s call for more IP creation must be not be exclusive and to the detriment of attracting international screen productions. 

As a consequence, the meeting felt that this would lead to a loss of an vital sector of our economy, the brain drain of the intellectual property being the skilled and experienced screen practitioners and businesses along with the loss of a valued cultural taonga, storytelling on screen.

A panel was chaired by Rod Oram to discuss the challenges facing the industry  and the panellists were Dave Rowell, (Studio West), Richard Bluck (NZ Cinematographers Society/Head of Technicians Guild in Wellington), Brendon Durey  (Technicians Guild), Jeff Szusterman (Equity NZ), Michael Bennett ( Director/Writer), Stephen Knightly (NZ Game Developers Association) and Rachel Jean  (Head of Development, South Pacific Pictures).

The meeting was firmly of the view that the Government’s Screen Sector Review analysis of the screen rebates is faulty and that it did not consult with appropriate industry. The meeting called for the Government to enter into more open dialogue and consultation with the industry and passed a motion mandating that a pan screen be facilitated for this purpose.

The meeting was also concerned that the wider community needs to know that the screen rebates are only paid when money is spent by the international screen productions.

The following resolutions were passed:-

A pan-screen industry structure will be formed that provides a unified voice on issues that strongly affect the industry (“the Pan Screen Group”). The aim of this group is to actively support a healthy and vibrant industry that contributes positively to the New Zealand economy. 

Film Auckland Inc. will co-ordinate the first meeting of this group. 

That the Pan Screen Group shall seek an urgent meeting with government.

The group will advise the government that it is a pan industry group and therefore should be consulted, on all key matters regarding the New Zealand screen industry - domestic or international.

The LBSPG and PDV Grant should be increased to a level which will restore New Zealand’s international competitiveness with immediate effect.

The increased rate should apply for at least three years while a new strategy supporting “IP creation” including its funding, investment and infrastructure model is developed.

For all press enquiries, please contact:
Alex Lee, Acting Chairman, Film Auckland Inc. ph: 021 682868 
Felicity Letcher, Board Member, Film Auckland Inc. ph: 027 2226669

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