Film Auckland Inc (FAI) began in 2003 as an industry initiative to promote the Auckland region as an attractive filming destination, as well as to support opportunities for local industry. FAI supported and facilitated the development of the Auckland Film Studios located in Henderson.
In late 2010, Auckland City Council developed a specialist screen focused team under the umbrella of Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development Ltd (ATEED). FAI agreed to allow ATEED to use the branding Film Auckland for this team and FAI acted as an advisory screen industry board to ATEED.
In recent years, the screen industry in New Zealand faced a downturn as our screen incentive scheme was less attractive due to increasing competition worldwide for screen productions.
On Nov 14 2013, FAI led a drive to convince the then National Government not to tamper but rather to continue with favourable screen incentives. It facilitated an emergency Screen Industry Forum - a state-of-the-nation meeting of more than 400 industry practitioners and businesses on the rapid decline of the film industry due to the government’s refusal to offer attractive tax incentives for big overseas productions.
In response to a decline in the screen business in New Zealand, more than 400 people in the industry came together for a forum recently.
In the following videos recorded at the event, a panel discusses the current challenges and business people share their personal concerns.
This video shows highlights from a panel discussion, chaired by Rod Oram, with 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).
This video below shows personal responses of business people to screen industry issues.
The cry was heard, and within a month Prime Minister John Key had announced a rise to 20% rebate on international production, and a further 5% for productions that met criteria that would specifically benefit local industry. This confirmed the importance of FAI as the pan-screen industry voice.
FAI held a hui at UNITEC for the screen industry to identify the type of studios required in Auckland along side what the important factors are to take into consideration in designing and locating new studios.
It continues to provide advice and comment to both ATEED and govrenment on important issues affecting the industry as a whole and in particular, within the Auckland region. It provides highly relevant comment on the incentives, the economic reasoning behind the use of incentives and on the floor feedback on matters that affect the sustainability of the diverse screen and supporting businesses.
In 2014, both FAI and ATEED agreed to further rebrand with the specialist permitting and screen promotion and attraction office being called Screen Auckland, while FAI regained the use of Film Auckland Inc.
Screen Auckland looks after the promotion of the Auckland region as a destination to both local and foreign productions, as well as being tasked with the day-to-day business of facilitation and permitting on public land.
FAI takes an inclusive ‘pan-screen industry’ approach reflecting today’s filmic landscape.
Recently in the run-up to the 2017 general elections, FAI ran the Screen Industry Election Forum to question the main political parties as to their election platforms and to answer questions pertinent to our screen industry.
FAI supports a robust and vital screen ecology across all screen sectors including film, television, digital content and transmedia, as well as new developing technologies. It also values the associated supporting economic sectors.
The screen industry is a major contributor to Auckland’s economy and a key growth sector identified in the Economic Development Strategy. Production activity alone generates more than $ 700 million annual gross revenue, and the wider industry injects more than $ 2 billion into the regional economy.
Auckland’s unique and diverse locations, skilled production personnel (crews, actors, directors, writers etc) and modern screen infrastructure make it an attractive destination for international creative industries.
FAI believes it is important to have an independent industry-run organisation whose purpose is to represent the screen industry for the benefit of all who have an interest in it as well as the wider Auckland community.
Film Auckland Inc has a board of directors comprising experienced industry practitioners who are key industry leaders from across creative and technical practitioners, associated businesses and professions to work to create a healthy sustainable screen ecology within the Auckland region. They support the screen industry by tirelessly providing pro bono time, skills, knowledge and resources to FAI activities.
It prides itself on leading the way in developing, supporting and maintaining the health of the screen industry within Auckland, as well as providing representation and a voice for all sectors of the industry.