I try to stay up to date with what’s happening in the film and TV industry both at home and abroad by reading as many items and articles as I have time for. A few things have caught my attention in recent times that I would like to share with you. Some bode well for our industry while others take an in-depth look at the difficulties we face going forward, and how some are addressing them.
Firstly, news out of the Statistics Department has Gross screen revenue for the year increased 3 per cent to just over $3 billion with film production revenue doubling to more than $1 billion in 2016. Wellington revenue doubling to $644 million for the year, thanks no doubt to Peter Jackson and the myriad businesses that make up his empire. You can read more on this here.
Auckland can now look forward to an increased level of international production with the securing of the Kumeu studio site used to house Warner’s recent feature film production Meg, which was filmed there. A joint venture between Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, The New Zealand Film Commission, Warners Bros and China’s Gravity Pictures, the Kumeu Film Studios will operate under a lease arrangement for the next 12 years. Warners made a considerable investment into buildings and two specialized water tanks for water filming—a major selling point for the studio. These legacy assets are already attracting considerable interest internationally and we can expect the studio to be well utilized, particularly if the two mooted new sound stages go ahead. You can learn more about the studio here.
Stephen Follows, a researcher and producer who digs up interesting facts and figures on a regular basis, took a look at the impending Writers Guild of America strike, of which I wrote on in my last column. Follows in his article looks at the numbers behind the possible strike here.
Screen Australia has an excellent blog that covers a wide range of topics. Recently they have done a four-part commercial analysis of the 94 films that Screen Australia has released. While it’s geared towards producers, everyone can learn from the facts that Screen Austalia uncovered here.
The impact of TV drama on the global screen industry has even caught the attention of the French, with Cannes introducing another market, this time for high-end TV drama. There is still politicking to be done around this with the French Government wading in, but Cannes Mayor David Lisnard and MipTV and Mipvom organiser Reed Midem have joined forces to try and ensure that Cannes remains the centre of screen festivals and markets. Info. on this here. It would seem we are going to be having a golden age of TV for some time to come in the drama space.
And finally, one piece of news that seems to have slipped quietly by without a lot of people noticing is that of Canada joining the European film funding body Eurimages. Canada is the first non-European country to do so, and becomes the 37th country to be able to access the approximately $32 million Eurimages contributes annually to around 60 coproductions. You can read about it here. In this time of shrinking funding for film, this would seem an astute move on Canada’s part.