Media Release – Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Making the next three Avatar movies in New Zealand will be a fantastic boost for the film industry, the economy, and most likely for Wellington, says Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Raewyn Bleakley. “The memorandum of understanding signed by the Government, Lightstorm Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation is the best news the industry, much of which is based in Wellington, has had since The Hobbit production finished.
“A $500 million boost, the jobs that would be created, and commitments for direct input by the studios into our film industry make this a real deal.
“Though further details are still to come, the fact that the first Avatar movie was made in Miramar by Weta Digital, and that director James Cameron lives just over the hill in Wairarapa, you would have to think there’s a fair chance the next three in the series would be made here, too. And hopefully that will also mean we will get the one world premiere for New Zealand that is part of this.
“Wellington is also pretty good at doing this sort of stuff, so here’s hoping. That would be a further boost for our film capital.”
Raewyn Bleakley said the Government was also to be congratulated on having the foresight to boost production incentives for such movies to be made in New Zealand.
“We are pleased with this strategic investment being made in our local New Zealand film industry. You would have to imagine that move would have played a big part in the decision to make the Avatar movies here. There will always be critics and detractors of this type of encouragement from Government. Given the competitive international environment, we have to be prepared to do something extra to attract and retain such projects to our shores, especially those with local connections.
“This is a sound decision, with significant ongoing opportunities for economic growth beyond just the film industry and just what Wellington needs right now.”
Media Release – Wellington City Council
The news that three new Avatar films are to be made in Wellington is great for the city’s economy, says Cr Jo Coughlan, chair of the council’s Economic Growth and Arts committee.
“Today’s announcement shows real confidence in Wellington and the talent who call the Capital home,” said Cr Coughlan. “This is great news for jobs and will boost economic growth in the city. Wellington’s film industry generated $828 million in the year to April 2012, creating thousands of high-value jobs and attracting talent from all over the world to work and live here, and we want to see more of this in the Capital.”
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said the announcement of the three new Avatar films, boosted by increased Government incentives for filmmaking in New Zealand, is great news for Wellington.
The Mayor attended today’s announcement by the Government, Avatar director James Cameron and industry representatives that at least NZ$500 million will be spent on production in New Zealand, including most of the live action shooting and visual effects. It was reported that work has already commenced with Weta. The Mayor says the agreement provides certainty for the Capital’s film industry and had considerable flow-on effects for the wider sector.
“This is a very welcome early Christmas present for the creative communities in Wellington and across New Zealand,” said Mayor Wade-Brown. “There’s the direct economic impact of at least a half billion dollars, and the wider effects are substantial.
“In particular, I’m delighted that the medium-range New Zealand films will qualify for more support. These films tell our story abroad, and define New Zealand as a good place to visit with great people to do business with. Pandora and Middle-earth values resonate in New Zealand, particularly the Capital.
“The first Avatar generated around $100 million directly for Wellington, and there’s the broader effect where Wellington’s innovative industries have benefitted from the location of so much expertise, talent and technology in the Capital.
“For example, Matakina’s 3D breast cancer detection imaging technology would not have been possible without development work at Weta Digital.”