NHNZ expansion ‘pivotal'

Dunedin-based documentary maker NHNZ has bought into an award-winning Singaporean production company as it continues its drive into the Asian market.

Announced at a function in Singapore last night, the partnership with Beach House Pictures was touted as pivotal to NHNZ's continued growth in the region and a boost to the Singaporean production industry.

NHNZ managing director Michael Stedman said the move consolidated NHNZ's work in Asia, which began about 12 to 13 years ago in Japan, then China and now Singapore.

The company opened an office in Beijing in 2002 and had created 15 documentaries and several series in Asia. It now had 15 hours of programming on the slate in Asia.

Asia was an enormously important, growing market and NHNZ wanted to get ‘‘ahead of the pack'' by strengthening its production ability in the region, he said from Singapore yesterday.

‘‘It's an easy place to work in and an increasingly significant film-making hub that we believe is pivotal for NHNZ's continued growth in the region.''

NHNZ had taken a ‘‘fairly substantial equity stake'' in Beach House Pictures, which it had worked with during the past two years on productions like Man Made Marvels for the Discovery Channel, Mr Stedman said.

Beach House Pictures was founded in 2005 and produced factual programming for the international market including the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and Lonely Planet Television.

Beach House Pictures founders, managing director Jocelyn Little and creative director Donovan Chan said they were excited about their future with NHNZ.

‘‘Joining forces with NHNZ will not only enable us to accelerate our plans in Asia and take Beach House to the next level in production but also benefit the wider Asian film-making industry . . .''

Beach House would continue to operate from its base in Singapore using the well established network of local filmmakers.

Mr Stedman said there would be movement of production staff between Dunedin and Singapore as NHNZ helped up-skill Singaporean staff.

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