Film Otago Southland’s Kevin Jennings has been elected Vice President of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI).

Kevin KJ Jennings

Kevin KJ Jennings

Queenstown-based, Jennings has been promoting the region for several years and is the first New Zealand film commissioner to be elected to the AFCI board.

Although TVCs are the bread and butter for Otago Southland’s screen industry workers, the region is presently doing its share of servicing feature productions as well. Disney feature Pete’s Dragon will soon spend some time in Tapanui and Invercargill.

Jackie van Beek’s debut feature Inland Road, offered NZFC production support last October, will also shoot in the region shortly.

Jennings was in the US earlier this year, and able to make the trip to Utah to attend the premiere of the South Island-shot Slow West at Sundance. A key part of the offer that brought Slow West to the region, alongside the obvious suitability of the scenery, was the southern hemisphere’s “reverse seasons”. Slow West had a limited window in which to shoot, given cast availability, but that window fitted perfectly with NZ seasons.

John Maclean’s drama got great reviews and took out the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, all of which helps Jennings promote the region.

Jennings will return to the US for AFCI’s annual Locations Show, which runs 5 – 7 March in Los Angeles.

Jennings said in a statement that his election as Vice President was a huge boost. “It proves being from a remote region doesn’t mean you can’t play on the world stage. While the responsibility of the role is to the AFCI and it’s members, it also provides a great opportunity to see what is working well amongst our peers internationally.”

Philip Turner, the Acting Chair of Film Otago Southland, said the relationships Mr Jennings had formed through his activities on the Board of AFCI were vital for the local industry. “We are a global, relationship-based industry. Having KJ contributing and engaging at the highest levels of film commissions worldwide is great for our local regions and that of the New Zealand industry as a whole.”

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