29 October 2010

New Zealand Keeps The Hobbit, & the tourist dollars!

Filmmakers Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have thanked the NZ Government for stepping in to make sure the filming of The Hobbit movies stays in New Zealand.
The NZ Herald quotes a press release from their company Wingnut Films stating they are "thrilled" the production is remaining in New Zealand, Sir Peter and Ms Walsh say: "We are grateful to the Government for introducing legislation which shall give everyone in the film industry certainty as to their employment status.
"This clarification will provide much needed stability and reassurance for film workers as well as investors from within New Zealand and overseas."
The Government has agreed to up to $34 million in tax breaks and help with marketing costs, as well as an urgent change to labour laws after two days of negotiations.
Sir Peter also thanks Warner Bros and New Line Cinema for "their continued commitment to New Zealand" and the "film technicians, actors and fans who came out in support".
To the thousands of people who took the time to write and let us know they were with us - thank you. It made all the difference."
All partner parties supporting National in law change
Meanwhile, National has support from all its partner parties in moving to clarify industrial relations laws within the film industry, Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

Peter Smith, writing from Sydney for the Financial Times says, "The $500m being spent on the production of the Hobbit films could be worth an additional $1bn to the economy, according to Cameron Bagrie, economist at ANZ, the bank. The first three films made almost $3bn at the box office."

The Lord of the Rings films, the first of which was released in 2001, displayed New Zealand’s breathtaking natural landscapes and spurred tourism’s growth.
Government ministers have said that the films, based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, were a factor in close to 10 per cent of tourists coming to the country.
“Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders but it will also follow the success of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage,” John Key, prime minister, said.

Commenting on Newstalk ZB, Kerre Woodham said that the jobs generated by the film industry were the best sort as they include make-up artists, construction workers, lighting technicians, caterers, truck drivers . . . . across the board opportunities for the regular person. It's not just about the headliners and big name actors.

Fran Walsh
Born in Wellington, New Zealand, screenwriter Frances (Fran) Walsh has a parallel career to that of her longtime partner, director Peter Jackson. The two met in 1987, during post-production for the gross-out cult classic Bad Taste. Previous to that, she was a musician and scriptwriter for television shows. The two collaborated on the bizarre puppet movie Meet the Feebles, with Walsh contributing to the script and the score. They then teamed with writer Stephen Sinclair to craft the splatterfest Dead Alive, which remains one of the most gruesome comedies in history. Taking a major turn, their next film was the psychological drama Heavenly Creatures, a poignant story of a destructive friendship based on a true story. The film won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. All Movie Guide NY Times

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