Four ideas from Harry Watson, Miriam McCaleb, Steven Page, Tom Sainsbury & Chris Parker have been announced as those chosen to go forward in Vendetta Productions and South Pacific Pictures’ scheme to develop more features.
The producers announced the call in September, seeking ideas with broad appeal for older audiences (55+), and women aged 35-54, The producers identified both demographics as under-supplied with local feature product.
The call drew proposals from 170 creators. The original intention was to support two or three ideas, so it’s encouraging to see a higher number going forward.
SPP’s Head of Development, Rachel Jean, said, “Each stood out as having a succinct premise, entertaining characters, and huge potential for comedy – the main ingredients we think are required.”
Although NZ hasn’t much of a recent track record for narrative features targeting such audiences there’ve been significant returns – even in NZ – for foreign films targeting those demographics. The UK regularly turns out features for older filmgoers, many of them featuring Maggie Smith and/or Colin Firth. The Marigold Hotel titles took over $9 million here. The umpteenth Bridget Jones title, currently screening, is well on the way to $3.5 million. Australian title Last Cab to Darwin (pictured, top) also performed well here last year.
Jean, SPP CEO Kelly Martin and Vendetta GM Jill Macnab will now workshop the ideas chosen with the creators, with a view to them being optioned for Vendetta/South Pacific Pictures’ active development slate.