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A gathering of film and television industry players from Queenstown and Central Otago have agreed on a "road map" for the future, and given strong support for a proposed film studio near Gibbston.
Industry veteran Ryan Leggatt said about 50 people from a "full spectrum" of the industry, including producers from Auckland, attended yesterday’s forum at Gibbston Valley Winery.
High on the agenda was a proposal to build a $12million film studio on a large site opposite the Victoria Flats landfill.
Mr Leggatt, who is managing the project for the landowner, said participants agreed to keep working together on the plans, and "to sharpen that pencil to ensure we end up with something that’s the right fit for the industry".
The next step was to apply to the Queenstown Lakes District Council for consent, hopefully later this year.
"But we need to take the time to make sure it’s right, and that it’ll meet the long-term expectations of everybody."
The Mountain Scene reported in April that plans for the "international class" studio, which would be the first in the South Island, had been brought forward in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the region’s economy.
Catering for film, television and advertising shoots, it would offer sorely-needed facilities for wet-weather shooting and post-production.
It would be set back at least 200m from the highway to reduce noise and visibility and the first stage was a 2000sqm sound stage, at least 10m high.
Mr Leggatt, who has 16 years’ film and television experience, including work on local productions The Chronicles of Narnia and 10,000 BC, said once the planning process was completed, the group would turn its attention to funding the project.
There was confidence the studio would be "heavily utilised".
"Everyone said it’s long overdue ... it’s been 30 years in the making.
"We have a nicely positioned piece of land, and we can provide some capital to help get it across the line until we can find a viable commercial solution."