US fantasy TV series to be shot in Auckland

Austin Butler is also set to star in the new TV series.
Reuters

Austin Butler is also set to star in the new TV series.

A US fantasy television series based on books by top-selling American author Terry Brooks is to be shot in West Auckland.

Henderson's Auckland Film Studios will be the base for Shannara - a production backed by MTV Networks and Sonar Entertainment

The first Shannara book was published in 1977 and Brooks has since gone on to produce more than 30 sequels and spin offs.

NEW SERIES:  New Zealander and Hobbit star Manu Bennett has been cast in US fantasy television series Shannara.
Reuters

NEW SERIES: New Zealander and Hobbit star Manu Bennett has been cast in US fantasy television series Shannara.

"The Shannara books already have a worldwide following eager to see a screen adaptation," studios chairman James Hill said.

The TV series will star Spanish actress Ivana Baquero, 23 year-old Austin Butler and New Zealand Hobbit star Manu Bennett.

Auckland Council owns the studio and said filming would start next month.

Hill said the studio was set up by the former Waitakere City Council under then-mayor Bob Harvey to create economic activity in Auckland.

He said West Auckland was an attractive location because of its scenery, the Waitakere Ranges, beaches and its proximity to the CBD.

Tradespeople and those supplying raw materials would benefit indirectly from the production as would those needed to produce the series, he said.

The studio was at full capacity and production could continue for years if the series was successful.

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"This is great for us and great for the wider West Auckland community," the former Te Atatu South resident said.

Deputy mayor Penny Hulse was delighted to hear the news.

"This is another very exciting chapter in the history of West Auckland's movie and television history," she said.

"It is great news which means the film industry out west is flourishing and growing and that in turn means good things for the people who live in the area and the local economy."

Auckland's film industry is set for a boom year with a number of significant international productions planned, including the new Power Ranges series.

Among major New Zealand productions is the Lee Tamahori and Robin Scholes collaboration The Patriarch.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development chief executive Brett O'Riley said screen production was worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Auckland's economy each year and was a focus growth industry creating jobs.

"This is an exciting time for the screen sector in Auckland," he said.

"While productions such as Shannara are attracted by the world-class expertise of our film crews and employ hundreds of those people directly, they also create jobs in supporting service sectors such as transport, security, accommodation, food and beverage, and by supporting local suppliers of timber, paint and other materials."

Investment in the sector attracted $40 million to Auckland in the year ending in June 2014 and productions based in the region generated about $700 million in gross revenue a year.

The wider industry injects more than $2 billion into the regional economy.

 - Western Leader

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