Council CEO says premiere well worth it

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 05:00 27/10/2012

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The premiere of Two Little Boys cost Invercargill City Council more than $45,000, with the total bill almost $100,000.

The final invoices for the premiere were received this week, and the total costs released on Thursday night.

Council chief executive Richard King said the council contribution, which came from the council's surplus, was a "balancing figure" and covered expenses above the other income and grants.

Total expenditure was $99,714 and the council contribution was $45,563. The initial budget for the event had been $117,000, Mr King said.

The Southern Institute of Technology contributed $12,000, with the ILT and ILT Foundation providing $10,000, and tickets sales were $26,760.

There were 593 tickets sold and 346 complementary tickets given out.

Council staff and councillors paid the normal ticket price out of their own pockets, Mr King said.

The highest cost was the special projector hired from Gore for $24,665, and $15,985 for refreshments which Mr King said was normal for an event of this kind.

Air travel cost $3571, and $2136 was spent on accommodation.

Mr King said two people from Maori Television and one from TV One had flights and accommodation paid for.

Two people from TV3 and three from radio station ZM had accommodation paid for.

Three others had both airfares and accommodation paid for: Brooke Howard-Smith, who hosts television show Target, and Mayor Tim Shadbolt's Dancing With The Stars partner Rebecca Nicholson and her partner.

When asked why their trip was funded when they did not work for a media outlet promoting the premiere, as the others did, Mr King said they were there for their "celebrity status".

Flights and accommodation for the film's stars, director, producers, writer and New Zealand Film Commission representatives were not covered by the council.

Theatre hire and security cost $13,986, but the council was essentially paying itself for theatre hire and ticket commission so this was included in the $5391 worth of "recoveries" listed, Mr King said.

Event management totalled $10,431, with organiser Anna Dean paid $8150 and the rest covering her airfares and accommodation.

"The justification for that is we had four to five weeks [to organise it] . . . it was an extremely short timeframe."

Ms Dean spent four weeks before the premiere in the city organising the event.

Mr King defended paying $11,801 for The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra for outdoor entertainment.

"[The film's star] Bret McKenzie was a founding member of them so that was the reason they were here. It was a shame because of the weather conditions not many people ended up seeing them."

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Overall it was money well spent, he said.

"We got tremendous publicity out of it on the radio, television, newspapers. It was most definitely worthwhile."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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