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Early successes for NZSPG

Beehive, Wellington, 23 July 2015: Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry today announced the results of the first review of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG).

The NZSPG replaced the Large Budget Screen Production Grant (LBSPG) for international productions and the Screen Production Incentive Fund (SPIF) for New Zealand productions, with effect from April 2014.

The review concluded that the NZSPG has had a positive first year with its economic, industry development and cultural objectives achieved, Mr Joyce says.

“There has been an increase in the number of productions as a result of the NZSPG, and business confidence within the screen sector has improved. The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is expecting a threefold increase in applications for funding. These productions demonstrate a wider breadth of local content than before, which will lift international perception of New Zealand’s culture and creativity. New Zealand production companies are taking early steps towards achieving greater sustainability, a key objective for the grant.

“In addition we have seen a record year for international productions shooting in New Zealand including Walt Disney Pictures’ Pete’s Dragon, Dreamworks’ Light Between Oceans, The Weinstein Company’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II, and Saban Brand’s Power Rangers,” Mr Joyce says.  

“These international productions will provide marketing opportunities for New Zealand around the world, and also increase our visibility as a screen production location. Several international studios have chosen to film here as a result of competitive factors like the incentive, our current exchange rate, our skilled workforce, and attractive shooting locations.”

As a result of the review, there will be some technical changes to NZSPG criteria, with effect from 1 August, Ms Barry says.

“The qualifying expenditure threshold for the Post, Digital and Visual Effects Grant, for example, will be reduced from $1 million to $500,000 to stimulate demand for post-production and smaller visual effects companies.

“Another change will enable children’s drama productions to access both the NZSPG and funding from other screen agencies, offering increased development opportunities for that part of the industry.

“The overall purpose of the changes is to ensure the grants are clear and well targeted to deliver the greatest benefits for New Zealand.”

Also from 1 August, the New Zealand Film Commission will assume responsibility for the functions of Film New Zealand.

“The two screen agencies have worked more closely together in recent years, and it makes sense to combine their industry knowledge, contacts and expertise,” Ms Barry says.

The review was conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, in consultation with the industry.  It is available here.

What changes are being made to the NZSPG New Zealand grant?
A new provision to allow children’s drama productions to access both NZSPG and other screen agency funding, to support increased production in this area
An increase in the qualifying points threshold for Significant New Zealand Content for television and other non-feature film productions, in order to align with the threshold for feature films
A new requirement for television and non-feature film productions to meet a 10 per cent market attachment threshold, to ensure the productions are commercially viable
A limit on the amount of funding available for stock or archive footage to ensure grant funding is provided only to productions which further the grant’s cultural and industry development objectives
Minor technical changes to ensure the criteria are clear.

What changes are being made to the NZSPG International grant?
A lower qualifying expenditure threshold for the Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) Grant, from $1 million to $500,000, to stimulate demand for post-production and smaller visual effects companies
Minor, technical changes to improve the clarity of the criteria for international productions
Minor improvements to the supporting information relating to criteria for the additional 5 per cent grant.

What is the current role of Film New Zealand?
Film New Zealand is the country’s national film office and international screen business attraction agency, marketing New Zealand’s screen production industry overseas.  The organisation acts as the principal gateway for incoming international productions, manages relationships with the US studios and other production entities, provides a specialist enquiry and facilitation service and works in partnership with New Zealand companies to help bring screen investment to New Zealand.  

What is the current role of the New Zealand Film Commission?
The New Zealand Film Commission invests in original and culturally significant films, encourages talented New Zealand filmmakers through developing career pathways and facilitating connections offshore, and works to increase the number of people seeing New Zealand films here and overseas.  It administers the Government’s screen incentives and supports the growth of economic activity, and helps ensure New Zealand has sustainable screen sector businesses operating within an internationally competitive screen sector.  The NZFC also helps negotiate co-production treaties and certifies co-productions and New Zealand films for tax purposes.

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