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Film NZ CEO resigns

Judith McCann has today announced her resignation as Chief Executive of Film New Zealand (Film NZ), the national film office, a position she has held since July 2004.

“It’s been a challenging and rewarding experience leading the newly-constituted industry-led trust through its formative years,” observed Ms McCann. “We’ve secured the industry’s support and recognition of our role in economic development from Government. Film NZ’s now has a solid long term operational funding commitment from the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) that has increased this financial year to $799K and is scheduled to increase to $833K next year. Film NZ’s international marketing of the screen production industry’s talent, capability and infrastructure has expanded strongly into Asia while maintaining our networks and presence in the USA and Europe.”

“Among the highlights is the re-launch in 2005 of the Film NZ brand with its crisp 21st C logo and website, promoting New Zealand’s value proposition in partnership with the regional film offices through targeted advertising, and the many ‘Gold’ awards that Film NZ’s promotional tools have won from our international peers at the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) marketing awards.”

“Most significantly, New Zealand has retained its position internationally in the face of increasing competition in production location incentives being offered throughout the USA and globally. The enhancements introduced in mid-2007 the Large Budget Screen Production grant and the new Post-production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) grant, on which Film NZ coordinated industry advice to Government, are delivering promising results based on the latest Statistics NZ survey figures for 2008,” she commented, referring to the gross revenue increase of 15% to $945 million in production and more significantly increase of 27% to $321 million in PDV reported in May by Statistics NZ.

“Working with the screen production industry, its creative talent from production management and location scouts, to its range of facilities/services, organisations and collaborative regional film offices has been inspiring. From a relatively small population base, New Zealand’s screen production industry has carved out a global position that is envied by our competitors. Film NZ would not be where it is today without the industry and its support.”

Ms McCann praised the Board of Trustees in seizing the opportunities initially identified during the Film NZ strategic planning meeting in Queenstown in April 2008.

“It’s been hard work by our extremely dedicated staff and the predominantly pro bono Board, but Film NZ is looking now at a new and exciting future. I’m proud of what has been achieved and it’s now time to hand over the reigns for Film NZ’s next evolution,” she said.

Film NZ Chair Julian Grimmond expressed the Board’s gratitude for Ms McCann’s contribution as CEO in building Film NZ’s credibility: “She has shared her extensive international experience and networks to position Film NZ’s role and services as demonstrated high value to the industry here and overseas. Judith’s expertise in Board governance, management and financial accountability has been an invaluable asset to Film NZ as a charitable trust operating with public funds. Film NZ’s performance under her management has enabled us to take on new strategic directions.”

Judith McCann has held previously executive positions with Telefilm Canada, the New Zealand Film Commission and the South Australian Film Corporation. She also headed her own Canada-based international consulting firm prior to being recruited to head Film NZ. Though she has yet to announce her next career move, she did observe that a return to consulting was possible: “It’s a ‘virtual’ business with more flexibility in scheduling work,” she commented. “So after a very full on five years, that has definite appeal!”

Film NZ is expected to commence recruitment of Ms McCann’s replacement as Film NZ CEO shortly. Sue Thompson will be taking on the role of Acting CEO in the interim having resigned as Trustee.