The review of the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is on track for delivery to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) at the end of this month.
David Court, who is conducting the review with Peter Jackson, said yesterday that around 60 submissions had been received. The reviewers are now meeting with as many people who’d made submissions as possible for further discussions. David travelled to Auckland yesterday to continue this process.
The NZFC apparently didn’t make a formal submission to the review, but staff, management and members of the board of directors have had discussions with the reviewers.
For anybody fearing for the organisation’s future, the Minister for Culture and Heritage, the Hon. Christopher Finlayson, said that although the Film Commission Act was over 30 years old, “the Commission still has an important part to play in fostering young and emerging talent, and bringing the industry’s collective skills to the notice of a competitive international sector.”
Acknowledging the broader economic situation, he added, “This is particularly important in a time of turmoil for the world economy, where financing is tougher to get. Film, it has been said, is recession-proof. However, individual locations are as vulnerable as ever.”
Mr. Court said that the review broke down into a process of looking at the NZFC’s history to date and looking forward to how it might best serve the industry and the wider community going forward. He said there was “a strong degree of consistency in what people were saying looking backwards.” Perhaps not surprisingly, he noted that there was plenty of divergence of opinion looking to the future.
As part of the ongoing discussions, Messrs. Court and Jackson are seeking permission from all parties to make their submissions public. Once agreements are finalised, submissions will be posted on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website. Some industry organisations and commentators have already made their submissions available through their own websites.
Ben Thomas, the Minister’s Press Secretary, said that the review itself would almost certainly be released publicly.
Once the review is delivered, the Minister will examine the report and make preliminary decisions about how to address any recommendations.
The Minister said, “I will then consider these and introduce changes to the Act if necessary. Any decisions will take account of the lessons learned over the last thirty years to best prepare the next generation of award winning film makers who are currently plotting world domination on the internet and in their bedrooms and backyards.”
Cabinet approval would be required for any proposals requiring changes to legislation. The piece of legislation most likely to require changes is the 1978 New Zealand Film Commission Act and subsequent amendments.