Cameras keep rolling
Continuity. It's the golden word when it comes to the film and television industry and something West Auckland production companies are revelling in.
A whopping $3 billion was generated by New Zealand's film, screen and digital sector last year, higher than it's been for the past four years.
Auckland's production and post-production industry made $200 million from films but television was still the most significant earner, bringing in $400m.
Many of West Auckland's film companies benefited from productions like World War II epic The Emperor which wrapped filming at Auckland Film Studios in Henderson last month.
It's been almost a year since Auckland Council Investments spent $1.5m buying the studios outright.
Owner of The Dolly Shop film equipment company Dennis Thompson says the purchase has been positive for business.
Mr Thompson says council ownership has given production businesses consistency for the future.
"They'll be more committed to the studios and give us the stability to weather future storms."
Mr Thompson says the studio and film businesses in the west are beneficial for other industries in the area too.
"I'd say that we use 10 other businesses in the area for the maintenance of our equipment."
He says a healthy drama television industry has been vital for this area.
"Long-term productions like Go Girls, Nothing Trivial and Outrageous Fortune have really been our bread and butter and given us the continuity to keep a core group of people working."
Mr Thompson says American film producer Rob Tapert has been instrumental in bringing work west.
"He's what has kept people going in these dismal times. He's very creative and a shining example of what producers should be like."
Mr Tapert has brought projects including Xena: Warrior Princess, Legend of the Seeker and Boogeyman to West Auckland.
Main Reactor prosthetic and model making studio co-owner Felicity Letcher says business has been thriving.
"Certainly we've found that during the recession we haven't been adversely affected thanks to Rob Tapert and Ghost House Pictures who bring a lot of work to New Zealand."
West Auckland production companies have also handled Mr Tapert's Spartacus series and The Evil Dead film remake made at other studios.
Ms Letcher says a high New Zealand dollar could have sent international production companies elsewhere but Mr Tapert's ensured they've remained.
"Rob's committed to us and he does provide a consistent level of work.
"He should be commended."
Ms Letcher says West Auckland's supreme locations and wealth of film workers allows companies like hers to continue working relationships.
"We've worked really hard over the years to build the infrastructure and expertise we have."
Film Effects director Jason Durey says within New Zealand his Henderson-based special effects company has worked on every film project that Peter Jackson hasn't.
From feature length films like Spartacus and Emperor and Yogi Bear to Kiwi institutions like Shortland Street, Outrageous Fortune, his business has kept busy.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?