Purpose

Film Auckland Inc. (FAI), takes an inclusive ‘pan-screen industry’ approach reflecting today’s filmic landscape. 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 is run by an advisory board of experienced industry practitioners. The Film Auckland Board comprises of 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. 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.

Board

Alex Lee Chair

Alex Lee is the current Chair of Film Auckland Incorporated. He is a trained lawyer and filmmaker.

He has an entertainment law and commercial law practice in Auckland. Alex taught law in Hong Kong and Auckland and was the former Auckland Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. He has two postgraduate masters in laws specialising in public law, international law and international trade law.

After completing his Masters in film and TV drama directing from the Universoty of Auckland, he was invited to teach film production at the Masters level. He has also been the Head of the Department of Performing & Screen Arts at UNITEC.

Alex has been extensively involved as an advocate of as well as a capacity builder within the screen industry.  He is a Co-director and Founding Trustee of the Documentary New Zealand Trust which runs the Doc Edge International Film Festival,  the pan-screen industry Screen Edge Forum, Doc Pitch, Doc Edge Presents and the interactive immersive capacity building and exhibition arm known as Story Edge. He co-curates the festival programme and designs the industry programme. He also selects and invites the guests to the events. He also chooses the finalists for the Doc Pitch projects as well as the digital interactive projects for Story Edge World Exhibition. 

Alex has also been advocating for greater support and visibility for the Asian screen and performing arts community as Chairman of the Asia New Zealand Film Foundation Trust and Founder/General Counsel of The Oryza Foundation for Asian Performing Arts. 

He is a Board Member of Creative Coalition and a previous National Executive Member of the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand. He was also on the past Mayoral Think-tank on the creative industries as well as the China Club sub-committee of the NZ Film Commission.

Alex has been invited to be a panellist and speaker on many international screen forums as well as a jury member of various leading film festivals overseas.

He is working a various NZ/international co-productions in narrative and documentary long form films as well as immersive/interactive stories.

Grant Baker Deputy Chair

Grant Baker is the Managing Partner and co-owner of Images & Sound, one of New Zealand’s longest running Post Production facilities based in Auckland, New Zealand. Grant has over 30 years experience in the New Zealand film and television industry starting his career at TVNZ as an audio engineer and later editor before becoming a post production supervisor, eventually joining Images & Sound in 1993 where he has worked on numerous feature films and TV drama productions.

David Rowell Treasurer

Dave Rowell is a freelance financial controller and a co-owner/operator of Studio West. With over 30 years experience in the motion picture industry, he has worked in Canada, Australia and France. Originally from Canada, Dave has worked in New Zealand since 2000 on a number of TV Movies and bigger projects such as “Narnia: Prince Caspian”, “Bridge to Terabithia”, “Yogi Bear”, and more recently “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2” and “The Shannara Chronicles”.

Annie Dodman Secretary

Annie is a respected freelance production manager for local and international productions, with over 35 years experience. Prior to that she has worked as the Floor Manager for television in Christchurch, and as a location manager. Since then have worked on many films and MOW’s including several for the Disney Channel and features 30 Days of Night, Aliens in the Attic and Walking with Dinosaurs.

Pieter Holl Board Member

Pieter is the managing director of Pieter Holl & Associates Limited, which is widely regarded as the leading tax and accounting adviser to the New Zealand screen production industry. He spent 15 years working as a tax specialist in a “big four” accounting firm before setting up the firm in 2001.  The firm has assisted around 70% of all of the international productions that have qualified for the New Zealand grant since it was first introduced in 2003. He is also a trustee of The New Zealand Children’s Screen Trust.

Graham Dunster Board Member

Graham is the founder/operator of Auckland Actors Ltd, one of the longest running and most successful talent agencies in the country. He has had eleven years of administrative experience in the UK commercial television scene. He currently also is the chair of the Actors Agents Association of NZ (AAANZ), is an Equity supporter, and founded the NZ Actors Agents Guild.

Katie Kempe Board Member

Katie is the founder of Cherokee Films, a commercial production company that creates world class TVCs and content for some of the world’s most well known brands. She is also a member of SPADA.

Sioux MacDonald Board Member

Sioux is the founder of Film Crews, an Auckland based crew booking agency, servicing all New Zealand and international producers needing film crew in NZ. Prior to owning Film Crews, Sioux spent 9 years in the post production sector at TVNZ, Go Post Avalon Studios, Flying Start Pictures, Communicado, Juice TV, and AAV New Zealand. She is also the vice president of the NZ Techo’s Guild.

Marg Slater Board Member

Producing international TVCs in New Zealand since 1994, Marg Slater has worked with directors from all over the world. She has also sat on the board of the locations office, Film NZ; is currently a Board Member of Auckland Film, and a Trustee of The New Zealand Dance Advancement Trust. Marg has developed & produced, six short films, music videos and produced Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children. In 2009, she joined TBWA\Whybin as Head of TV Production, and spent a brief period as line producer for It’s In the Bag, Series 3. In 2011 Marg produced BARE, a theatre production, with Toa Fraser and Ian Hughes, to raise funds for the Red Cross Christchurch Earthquake Fund. In June 2012, she returned fulltime to Slater Films to focus on the development and production of TV drama, and children’s online content also freelance producer for TVC’s. In 2015 Marg produced the Auckland season of Lumina for The New Zealand Dance Company.

Alice Shearman Board Member

Alice is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG). With over 18 years’ experience in the film and television industry, starting at Film Equipment Company (FEC) in Wellington. Previously Alice was the Deputy Chairperson of the Actors Agent's Association of New Zealand (AAANZ) while she was a Screen & Literary Agent for over 9 years.

Gabriel Reid Board Member

Gabriel Reid has worked in theatre, opera, film and television as a promoter, actor, writer, producer and director. He has held staff positions at TVNZ and Opera New Zealand and has created award-winning broadcast promos, network idents and short films. He has run his own company, Pageant Films, for twenty years. He secured his Ph.D. in Film, Television and Media Studies with a thesis examining the impact of digital technologies on film production. He undertook his doctoral research at such notable companies as Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Blue Sky Studios, Animal Logic and Weta Digital. His M.A. thesis examined Shakespeare on film and was informed by research undertaken at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre and Renaissance Films. Gabriel is Vice President of the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ). In 2015 he won Tropfest NZ with his short film 'Every Moment'. He is actively developing a slate of long form projects. 

Tony Johnson Board Member

I began sound mixing at the National Film Unit in 1979 and freelanced from 1985. My first international credit was for The Piano in 1992. I have since worked on many International Studio Movies and have a passion for promoting New Zealand as an International movie making destination. I have won or been nominated for various Academy, Bafta, Emmy & NZ Awards. I take an active roll as crew rep on set and enjoy fostering good relationships with Studios and Producers. 

Michael Urban Board Member

Michael has worked in Film and TV since 2005. In 2011 he started working as a Digital Imaging Technician. Including Ghost in the Shell, Shannara S01 & S02, Meg as well as many TVCs. In 2015 he joined forces to create The Rebel Fleet, a Video Assist & DIT rental and consultancy. TRF has since gone from strength to strength, providing equipment for many high profile Productions in NZ and overseas.

James Brookes Board Member

James Brookes is a Company Director of Auckland’s Department of Post, and Post Supervisor for up to 15 major film and television productions, annually.  A graduate of South Seas film and television school, Brookes’ technical background as an Online Editor gives him a unique working knowledge of the post process, from production through delivery. Over the years he has become known for his collaborative nature, working to ensure that every producer is empowered and enabled to access the best technology, resources and expertise our region has to offer, regardless of scope or budget. James Brookes endeavours to unite the Screen Production community, towards the common goal of working together to create a stronger regional Film sector across Auckland. 

History

Film Auckland Inc 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.

More recently, 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. In late 2013, FAI 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. 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.

In 2014, both FAI and ATEED agreed to further rebrand with the specialist office being known as Screen Auckland, whilst 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.

Constitution

Film Auckland’s Inc. Constitution is available to download here