The Prime Minister, Helen Clark said today that New Zealand films had played a major role in giving New Zealanders cultural confidence and a sense of their own identity.
She added “The Film Commission’s ongoing support for New Zealand films and filmmakers has helped to create a burgeoning screen production industry, one that is far larger than just the films in which the Commission invests.”
Miss Clark made her comments at the opening of the New Zealand Film Commission’s new premises in Wellington.
The New Zealand Film Commission was set up in November 1977 with the establishment of an interim Film Commission; it became permanent by an Act of Parliament a year later.
In nearly 30 years the Commission has funded over 115 feature length films.
Film Commission chair, Dr David Cullwick told the opening audience that the Commission is proud of its record and will continue to fund the development and production of a diverse range of distinctive New Zealand films.
“Films awaiting release dates or in the final state of post production are The Ferryman, Song of Good, and Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children. Shooting this month is The Strength of Water in the Hokianga. In October Apron Strings and The Topp Twins start production. In November Endurance starts shooting and The Vintner’s Luck begins pre-production in December” Dr Cullwick said. “These are first features and works by very experienced film makers; narrative features and documentaries; stories which traverse Maori, Asian and Pakeha worlds; historical and contemporary stories; gay and straight; comedy and tragedy; large scale and small.”
The New Zealand Film Commission’s move was necessitated by the ending of its lease at its premises of nearly 14 years, and the landlord’s intention to change the use of the building to an apartment/hotel complex.