It might be found at the bottom of the globe, but New Zealand has been at the top of the movie industry in 2020.Thanks to its handling of the Ovid-19 pandemic, the country is enjoying an unprecedented boom in film production, with directors seeking safe conditions, and that most elusive thing this year – a normal life.
film-making in new Zealand
International blockbusters including James Cameron’s Avatar sequels, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series and Jane Champion’s The Power of the Dog – starring Benedict Cumberland and Kirsten Durst all managed complex film shoots in New Zealand this year.
the country home resort
The country’s home-grown movies have also received a boost at the box office by Kiwis supporting their industry, leading one local filmmaker to joke that they’re now living in “the Hollywood of the Pacific”. “We’re in this sweet spot,” says Curtis Lowell, the director of a comedy, Baby Done, that was executive produced by Oscar-winning Tojo Rabbit director Tamika Wapiti.
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We’re lucky that we’re isolated from the rest of the world, and I feel we’ve got a government that’s been super helpful to the film industry. We’re in the Hollywood of the Pacific, and it’s almost too easy to take for granted how lucky we are.
All my film crew friends have unlimited work, there’s thousands of Kiwis who are fully employed. International tourism is awful, and the airlines are really struggling, but the film industry in New Zealand is thriving, which goes against all predictions.”
New Zealand, like so many other countries,
did experience a knockdown in March – leading to what New Zealand Film Commission’s CEO, Annabelle Shane, recalls as “a very challenging moment.” “We had about 48 local productions in various phases of filming and production, plus we had seven major international projects, employing more than 6,000 New Zealanders, and they all had to shut down,” she explains.
“We’re very lucky in that we chose this as our production site years ago,” he added. “We made the first film here in New Zealand and it turns out to be ranking first or second-best country in the world for its Ovid response.”
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