Film office review welcomed

Antony Deaker
Antony Deaker
A review of the Film Otago Southland Office and Board announced by the Queenstown Lakes District council has been welcomed by one of its regional partners.

Dunedin City Council film co-ordinator Antony Deaker said he could see "no negatives" associated with the move.

Instead it was an opportunity to grow and strengthen the industry across the region.

Council spokeswoman Meaghan Miller yesterday said the recent resignation of the executive officer of Film Otago Southland Kevin Jennings and the long signalled intention by board chairman Michael Hesp to step down had made it "timely" to conduct the review.

She said the council intended to make changes to the office and board but those would not impact on the council’s continued support and delivery of service by the film office.

Mr Deaker said one of Queenstown’s traditional strengths had been in making television commercials but the industry had changed drastically in the past year, and it made sense to review the body that supported that industry.

He said there was now "a lot more capacity" for anyone to create content for social media and the ongoing demand for content for streaming services had "shifted the balance away from cinema release".

Statistics New Zealand found total gross revenue from New Zealand’s screen industry businesses decreased by 8% for 2018 but screen businesses in the South Island earned $148 million in 2018, up $64 million from 2017.

Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said the QLDC was by far the biggest funder of Film Otago Southland in the region, while the DCC chipped in with $20,000 a year.

The DCC was also building its own capacity to tap into the market, and promote itself as a filming destination, through the work of Mr Deaker, Mr Christie said.

But it also still saw the value of regional collaboration in what was still a growing sector in the south, he said.

The DCC hoped to be involved in the review as an interested stakeholder, but would not be reviewing its own position at this stage, Mr Christie said.

That could change depending on the outcome of the QLDC review, though.

Ms Miller said consultation with the industry and other funders would start in the New Year and was expected to be completed by March.

Council communications spokesman Jack Barlow said the QLDC funded the Film Otago Southland Film office $170,800 for 2019-20 which was more than the other regional councils.


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