Screenwriter workshop to bring TV to Queenstown

Queenstown Lakes District Council was one of several local authorities experiencing pressure on...
The idea for the workshop stemmed from conversations with the local film industry about ways to grow the district’s film production pipeline and capabilities. Photo: Getty Images
A nationwide search for screenwriters to take part in a first-of-its-kind workshop in the Queenstown Lakes is imminent.

Great Southern Television (GSTV) has partnered with Film Queenstown Lakes, the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s in-house film office, on a ‘‘Screenwriters Workshop’, to bring a selection of screenwriters from across the country to the Queenstown Lakes where they will create television project ideas either inspired by, or set within, the district.

In a report to this morning’s community and services committee, film office coordinator Kahli Scott said the idea for the workshop stemmed from conversations with the local film industry about ways to grow the district’s film production pipeline and capabilities.

‘‘Projects like episodic TV series equal longer shoot times in the district and more consistent work opportunities for locals, so initiatives that encourage the development of these types of projects are strongly supported by the industry.’’

The workshop would bring four screenwriters to the district for a three-to-four week development workshop which includes a ‘‘pitch session’’ to GSTV executives and a council representative.

GSTV would have first option to acquire the rights to the resulting projects.

The total cost of the workshops was $44,000, split over two years and shared equally between GSTV and the council.

Ms Scott’s report said if commercial returns occurred on any project resulting from the workshop, GSTV would use them to fully fund the venture for the third year, 2022-23.

Council economic development manager Peter Harris hailed the workshop as a ‘‘great initiative in the district’s drive for economic diversification’’, while GSTV chief executive Philip Smith said it was a boon for the district’s film industry, and those employed by it.

‘‘Its also a great opportunity for established and up-and-coming screenwriters to take part in a new adventure, to gain invaluable experience in arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and to finish with a project that may one day be watched by many,’’ Mr Smith said.

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