Film funding changes a win-win for industry

In a bid to attract more international film and television productions, the threshold for a rebate on productions made in New Zealand has been lowered.

The change followed a review of the New Zealand screen sector by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Revenue from New Zealand's screen industry in 2012 was $3 billion, up from $2.6b in 2005, the review found.

To capitalise on the continued growth, the threshold for the large budget screen production grant was lowered to allow a 15 per cent rebate for film productions with at least $4 million expenditure. Productions previously had to spend at least $15m to qualify.

An additional 15 per cent rebate is available for productions in excess of $200m, with the budget capped at $9.75m.

The grant has been awarded to 35 productions, including Avatar and King Kong, since its inception in 2003.

The newly lowered threshold will come into play on October 1.

Similarly, the threshold for the post, digital and visual effects grant will also be lowered from $3m to $1m from tomorrow.

The screen production incentive fund was also changed, with the threshold reduced from $1m to $400,000 per hour. The fund is a financial incentive to encourage the development of New Zealand-focused productions.

Eligible projects receive a rebate of 40 per cent for feature films, or 20 per cent for television and other productions.

Film New Zealand chief executive Gisella Carr welcomed the changes.

"The results signal the Goverment recognises the value of screen to the New Zealand economy, and the role incentives play in attracting large budget productions and in particular international investment into New Zealand."

Park Road Post general manager Cameron Harland said the lower thresholds would open up the doors to many more international productions.

"It's a proper win-win for the industry. It means we can have proper conversations with international companies who previously might not have looked at New Zealand as an option for their post-production work."

Fairfax Media