Kiwi Screen Agencies to Collaborate on Screen NZ

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Screen NZ will oversee the agrement for Avatar to be made in New Zealand

A memorandum of understanding between three government agencies heralds closer collaboration on marketing, research and industry skills and talent development.

New Zealand's three major screen agencies, the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), FilmNZ and NZ On Air, said this week they will work more closely together to create a "virtual agency" under the umbrella of Screen NZ.

The three government-backed partners have signed a memorandum of understanding for closer collaboration in industry areas including research, marketing, skills and talent development and work with other government agencies, but will maintain their independence in other areas.

Screen NZ will have common goals, including joint marketing of the New Zealand screen industry's capability and the Government's new production incentives overseas, sharing and collaborating on research to guide screen-sector growth, pre-industry training, and looking at opportunities for screen industry businesses to diversify across the sector. 

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Some of the initiatives will involve all three agencies but some will involve just two of the three, depending on relevance.

Several initiatives already established include joint-marketing of New Zealand's production incentives at the recent Cannes Film Festival by the NZFC and locations marketing agency FilmNZ; liaisons over the MoU signed between New Zealand and 21st Century Fox last year for the production of the three Avatar sequels, which will be made in New Zealand; and developing a plan by October for New Zealand's screen sector engagement with China.

"The three agencies already share an interest in screen-sector growth and ensuring great films and television are made. This formalizes our shared interest and will increase the work we already do together," NZFC chief executive Dave Gibson said.

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"NZ On Air works across a number of sectors already—television, music, community broadcasting, public radio and digital media. This new collaboration will broaden how we think about our television strategy to get even better impact and contribute to a more sustainable screen sector," added Jane Wrightson, CEO of NZ On Air.

Gisella Carr, CEO of Film New Zealand added:  "Film New Zealand, as the country’s national film office, works to attract international film and television production by promoting the New Zealand screen industry overseas. This joint venture between the three agencies will benefit the New Zealand screen industry and enhance our ability to promote it," says the Film New Zealand chief executive.

NZFC earlier this year announced it would be scaling back its sales activities for NZ films to concentrate on financing and administering co-productions and the tax offsets under which the industry operates.