Initiative to help attract screen projects to Wellington

Posted Tuesday 15 Jul 2014

An initiative has been launched to address a skills-gap in the local film workforce and help attract screen projects to New Zealand's screen capital Wellington.

Regional film office Film Wellington and the New Zealand Film and Television School, in association with Wellington City Council, have developed a pilot internship scheme for aspiring location and production managers.

These roles are vital to attract screen projects to Wellington because location and production managers are usually the first point of contact for large international productions enquiring about filming.

However, there is a lack of experienced location scouts and managers in the region, says Gerard Quinn, chief executive of regional economic development agency Grow Wellington, which runs the film office.

"Wellington's screen sector is very strong but we've identified this particular skills-gap. Addressing this will help attract screen projects to the region," says Mr Quinn.

"If the pilot programme's successful, we'll look to train two interns each year for these crucial roles."

This year's intern is young filmmaker Bonnie Philp who was selected from a number of high-achieving NZ Film and Television School graduates. She will be based in regional film office Film Wellington for six months through to January 2015.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to be involved in promoting Wellington and New Zealand, as well as everything our film industry has to offer," says Ms Philp.

"Film Wellington is working hard to bring projects here and I'm really excited to be part of that."

Originally from Midhurst in Taranaki, Ms Philp was also this year's recipient of the Women in Film and Television NZ Robin Laing scholarship.

The Film Wellington internship involves training in all the skills a location or production manager needs: location permitting, location scouting and photography, community engagement, health and safety, traffic management and more.

The internship will also involve on-set experience with some of New Zealand's top crew as well as location scouting for major projects.

According to Statistics New Zealand's 2012/2013 Screen Industry Survey, the Wellington region earned $700 million from films in the last financial year - 81 percent of all film revenue in New Zealand.