March 19, 2018

RNZ and NZ on Air are battling over Labour’s $38m media funding windfall

Redactions which disappeared due to a technical glitch point to a standoff which pits NZ on Air and the big private media companies against RNZ. The stakes? A huge funding boost which could shape the future of our media.

A standoff is brewing between RNZ and NZ on Air over who will control the annual $38m in additional media funding likely to be revealed in the Labour-led coalition’s first budget this May. Cabinet and Terms of Reference papers reveal the makeup of the panel convened to look at the allocation of this funding, and investigate the role of a public media funding commission. The documents had a number of redactions, thought all were able to be copied and pasted. What is behind the black bars hints at the shape of the media turf war.

At stake is who controls the money, which has profound implications for the future of public media funding in New Zealand. Currently NZ on Air dominates the space, receiving around $130m a year, with around $30m of that earmarked for RNZ. Labour announced prior to the election its desire to see RNZ expand its work in digital and television, a service it dubbed RNZ+. To help accomplish this there will likely be $152m allocated over four years – which, if RNZ were to receive it all, would more than double the organisation’s current budget.

The issue is the role NZ On Air plays in the allocation of content funding – whereby all platforms aside from RNZ apply for budget from a contestable pool, currently dominated by projects for television. The larger private print media companies in New Zealand are understood to be keen on maximising the contestable portion of the $38m for their digital platforms. The cabinet paper notes that the current commercial environment is “straining the business models of private and other commercial media companies… threatening their ability to practice journalism in depth.”

On the other side of the debate sits RNZ, which is believed to favour a direct allocation of some or all of the funds. While the public broadcaster’s relationship with NZ on Air is thought to remain on good terms, the funding system is already convoluted. At present RNZ has three paymasters: NZ on Air, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Treasury. Why, some have asked, look to add another layer through Labour’s mooted public media funding commission? ....

March 19, 2018

Anabelle Sheahan, the new CEO of the NZ Film Commission

Anabelle Sheehan took over the role at the start of this year, after three years at the SA Film Corporation.

She is not the first example of cross-fertilisation in public sector screen production bodies.

Sheehan took over the New Zealand role at the start of this year, having spent three years at the South Australian Film Corporation.

It is the latest step in a screen industry career that has encompassed post-production, talent management and a key role in the education sector.

At the NZFC, Sheehan replaces the businessman Dave Gibson who overhauled the film body with incentives and who developed New Zealand co-production ties with China.

From 2009 to 2013 the NZFC was run by Australian film executive Graeme Mason after replacing Dr Ruth Harley.

There has been plenty cross-pollination of acting talent between the two countries – John ClarkSam NeillJohn Bach among them – people who were drawn to the scale of Australian TV.....



March 19, 2018

Kumeu Film Studios is a newly converted screen production complex just 25 minutes from central Auckland

The 27-hectare site (66.7 acres) includes extensive stage, workshop and manufacture spaces, production offices, 12 hectares of forest, and two water tanks – both are the only water tanks of this size and type in New Zealand.  

In an industry event, Film Aukcland Inc. and Screen Auckland hosted screen practitioners and businesses in a tour the studios.

Chair of Film Auckland, Alex Lee together with Michael Brook, Screen Attraction Manager of Screen Auckland, welcomed the visitors along with Anabelle Sheahan, the new CEO of the NZ Film Commission. The industry also met the owners of the land and developers of the studios, the Ryu Family.

The 200 odd guests were shown across the facilities and too the opportunity to mix and mingle with each other.

March 19, 2018

60 pct of women in film industry have experienced sexual harassment

More than 60 percent of women in New Zealand's film industry have experienced sexual harassment at work, usually by someone senior to them, according to a survey.

The Screen Women's Action Group (SWAG) has held two forums in Auckland and Wellington to "break the silence" around the issue, says spokeswoman Emma Slade.

The forums heard from women across the industry that unacceptable behaviour - from creepy comments and jokes through to sexual assault - were part of a culture that had to change, she said.

December 11, 2017

Hollywood Reporter: New Zealand’s Film Industry Worth $720M to Economy

By Pip Bulbeck, Hollwood Reporter, 8 Dec 17

The New Zealand screen industry contributes around NZ$1.05 billion ($718 million) to real GDP and around $483 million to exports annually, according to a new economic study released by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).

Economic modeling done by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER), based on the most recent available data (2015), estimates that without the industry’s major incentive, the International New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG), exports would shrink by $175 million, household consumption by $98 million and real GDP by $120 million per annum.

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December 11, 2017

Mystery in film revenue

By Tracey Roxburgh, 6 Dec 2017

A big drop in reported film industry revenue in the South can only be explained by an industry survey not capturing all the activity in the region, a local film boss says.

The film industry generated about $21million in revenue for the wider Otago-Southland region in the 2016-17 financial year - down from $35million the year before.

However, Film Otago Southland executive manager Kevin Jennings believes there is an issue with Statistics New Zealand's Screen Industry Survey report, which lists film industry revenue around the country each year.

''I find it interesting because both productions and shoot days have increased [in the southern region], yet that number's dropped ... I don't think it's capturing everything,'' Mr Jennings said.

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