The makers of would-be biblical epic Kingdom Come have, for the first time, acknowledged their difficult financial state.
But despite empty sets, cancelled accommodation bookings and workers being kept in the dark, they insist the movie about the life of Jesus will go ahead, saying they expect filming to start in April.
After repeated requests for information, Kingdom Come spokesman Ernie Malik has confirmed that the film-makers were seeking bridge financing to pay "outstanding creditor debts".
Delays to filming throughout January and early February were due to "financial issues" and cementing a distribution deal, he said. That deal was now firmly in place, and film-makers had also secured an investor "in principle" to fund the film.
Banks were performing due diligence on South Vineyard, the company that is making the film, and funding was expected in two weeks, Mr Malik said.
Filming was now expected to start in April, with pre-production work to begin early next month, he said.
The company's repeated delays have cost Wellington workers and businesses alike.
Museum Hotel owner Chris Parkin said the film-makers had initially booked as much accommodation this year as he would expect from his largest client.
"We were expecting some business from Kingdom Come, but we're not holding any rooms for them at the moment," he said.
The gates were locked at South Vineyard's base in Miramar this week, while a large, elaborate set on Defence Force land near Mt Crawford prison in Maupuia was empty except for piles of timber and the occasional security guard.
A Defence Force spokeswoman said South Vineyard had been given a licence to use the land, which included a requirement to return it to its original condition once filming finished.
After rumours about financial problems, the Defence Force had "sought and received assurances that the movie production will continue", she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News