24 Jun 2018

Marlborough to be promoted as film and TV location

4:41 pm on 24 June 2018

Marlborough District Council will invest up to $70,000 over the next three years to help promote the region as a film and television location.

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The Marlborough District Council wants to gauge the level of interest in the region as a film and TV location. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The council has agreed to partner with Screen Wellington which wants to increase production activity in the region.

The council's economic development manager Neil Henry said producing a film was not that different to other businesses that needed help with consents for land use, or simply directions to locations.

"We'll essentially be using existing resources to help film makers looking to shoot in the region," Mr Henry said.

It would work as an extension of Smart Business Marlborough - the council service that supported business development.

The council was keen to gauge the level of demand, which would determine if extra investment in a stand-alone film office was warranted, he said.

Aaron Falvey from the Top of the South Film Makers Society said that was a positive step.

Film makers stood to benefit from the council's decision through getting more work, while film production brought wider economic benefits to regions which supported the industry, Mr Falvey said.

"The value to us as film makers is obviously the potential for work, but the value to the region is the return on investment. If you can get a full film shoot happening in your region then you have the potential to call on resources in your region."

That could be anyone from builders needed to help construct sets, to wineries needed in location shoots, he said.

The Light Between Oceans

The big-budget Hollywood film The Light Between Oceans was partly filmed at Cape Campbell on the south Marlborough coastline, which brought in about $4 million to the local economy, its production manager said in a council report.

Mr Henry said the country's film industry was largely centred around Wellington and Auckland, and evidence showed that was where most of the money was spent.

Statistics New Zealand figures show production and post-production services in New Zealand is now a $1.5 billion industry. Almost 60 percent of that work is done in Auckland, 37 percent in Wellington, and four percent in the South Island - almost all of which is in Queenstown which has a film office.

The council report showed there were currently seven regional film offices in New Zealand.

Mr Henry said Marlborough's close proximity to Wellington was a key factor in its decision to opt for teaming up with Screen Wellington.

"This was one reason why Marlborough was chosen for The Light Between Oceans - they were looking for a lighthouse (Cape Campbell) and the proximity to Wellington and equipment they needed to bring over, was a much better than the alternative which was in the Foveaux Strait area."

The council said there had been increased interest in filming in Marlborough since Light Between Oceans.

Its immediate goal was to increase regional income from screen media productions by up to $4m within two years.

It said the investment was also aimed at retaining the skills of the younger population by offering new and relevant job opportunities, while attracting skilled people to the region.