Sir Peter Jackson weighs in on the NZ Film Commission

Posted Tuesday 13 Jul 2010

Award winning director and producer Sir Peter Jackson and film academic David Court delivered a highly critical review of the New Zealand Film Commission to the Arts Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson at the beginning of July. According to the NZ Herald the report "criticised the Commission's effectiveness as a vital backer of homegrown movie-making talent." Whilst both Jackson and Court "unreservedly" believed that the Commission was necessary they recommended that it focus more on supporting filmmaking talent in the form of writers and directors rather than producers.

In conjunction with this they believe that the Commission "should fund fewer projects to provide more support to those that were likely to succeed" however, they believe that artistic merit rather than commercial potential should be the emphasis for this support. The report also calls for the Commission to go through a restructure in order to allow its staff to be the key decision makers on funding and creative issues whilst the board, which they perceived to have been overly involved, should concentrate on governance and high level strategy.

Some of the main suggestions in the review as outlined on The Big Idea are as follows:

  • A more strategic long term vision which will allow for more flexibility.
  • The Commission should move towards being more talent-focused than project-focused.
  • A larger development team within the Commission.
  • Bringing short film funding back to the Commission and using short films as part of a more integrated strategy for developing feature film talent.
  • Relaxing the current reliance on producer-centred projects.
  • Continuing the Screen Production Incentive Fund

The full report can be viewed on the Ministry For Culture and Heritage website.