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Film NZ checks out

A little over a year since the shotgun menage a trois Screen NZ was created between the NZFC, NZ On Air and Film NZ, today sees the disappearance of one of those agencies.

As per last week’s ministerial announcement, the agency will close its doors today, its responsibilities to be taken over by the NZFC.

Chair Julian Grimmond departed in June last year, just ahead of North & South publishing an article about Film NZ which contained criticisms of the agency from a number of industry members. Many of those criticisms were revisited by NBR.

Film Auckland welcomed the news of the change but, otherwise, the Regional Film Offices have remained diplomatically quiet on the dissolution of Film NZ.

Soured relationships between the RFOs and Film NZ led to the setting up of RFONZ. If not a competitor for Film NZ, RFONZ was established to ensure that regional voices were heard when promoting NZ’s offer to international producers.

A week ago DEGNZ ED Tui Ruwhiu wrote in the DEGNZ newsletter, assessing the move to dissolve Film NZ and relocate its responsibilities within the NZFC as “the clearest indicator yet of the ‘business-fication’ of NZFC, which up until recent times has really been seen as a cultural institution with a cultural mandate in film”.

None of the other industry guilds have commented publicly on the changes to either the incentives legislation or Film NZ.

Plenty of people were happy to say off the record that the demise of Film NZ fell somewhere between a cause for relief and a very welcome early Christmas present. The depth of feeling against the agncy expressed in last year’s North & South and NBR articles doesn’t seem to have diminished but, hopefully, Film NZ’s reincarnation within the NZFC will deliver for the industry.

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