More than 24 enquiries were received, and six applications were assessed by an independent panel of industry and Mana Whenua representatives.
Bree Loverich, Screen Canterbury Manager, said it was “a phenomenal turnout and certainly exceeded our expectations”.
“We would like to thank the panel on the outstanding job of ensuring criteria were met and working with us to distribute the grant in such a way that five projects receive a portion of the available funding,” Loverich said.
The selected projects will support growth of the screen industry in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Waitaha Canterbury, and Tai Poutini West Coast. Employment and upskilling for local crew and increased use of local screen facilities will bring measurable economic benefits with an estimated 192 crew jobs, 100 shoot days and significant local spend planned by the five productions.
The productions awarded funding will contribute towards a number of ChristchurchNZ’s goals, namely job creation, value of investment into economic development, estimated value of GDP contribution attributable to ChristchurchNZ activity, and number of businesses directly benefiting from a ChristchurchNZ programme or intervention.
Grant funding is awarded based on productions meeting certain conditions, including that other funding sources have been secured and funding arrangements have been agreed with ChristchurchNZ.
List of the projects chosen in this round:
Head South - Feature Film
Feature film Head South will be produced by Antje Kulpe (Get Krack!n, Lone Wolf, Superwog) with writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie (The Tender Hook, Lone Wolf). The film will star Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix) and Ed Oxenbould (Paper Planes, Wildlife).
Currently residing in Sydney, Ogilvie said Head South was “a film with heart, drawn from my experiences growing up in Christchurch and performing in local bands”.
Kulpe said they were “excited to showcase the creativity of Christchurch and make a film with international appeal.”
The Letting Go - Feature Film
Overactive Imagination will receive a grant for feature film The Letting Go, produced by Cantabrian Nadia Maxwell and directed by Nic Gorman. The team’s first feature film Human Traces premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2017.
Maxwell said the grants was “a game-changer for attracting more production to the region”.
“As a local production company, we are thrilled to be inaugural recipients,” Maxwell said.
“Each film supported by Screen Canterbury offers an opportunity to highlight not only Canterbury's locations but also our regional capability and our profile as a feature film destination.”
Fiftyone - Feature Documentary
Paua Productions has been awarded a grant for the feature documentary, fiftyone. Kiwi-Afghan couple Bariz Shah and Saba Afrasyabi approached Paua Productions to assist with bringing fiftyone to the big screen and join the film’s director Vanessa Wells on the creative team as co-directors.
Paua Productions has been making unscripted content out of Christchurch for national and international audiences for more than ten years and is delighted to confirm that post-production will be done in Christchurch with editor Emma Smart.
“We really appreciate that we’ve been chosen to receive one of the inaugural grants from the Screen CanterburyNZ production grant fund,” said producer Virginia Wright.
“It’s a game-changer for us and having this fund available is a potential game-changer for any screen professionals in Canterbury looking for production financing. We’re truly grateful.”
Title To Be Announced - TV Series
A TV drama series will be produced in Canterbury by a North Island production company. Further details on this production are confidential at this stage.
Virtual Short Film Project And Product
A co-production and collaborative development project between Resonate, Pixel, Cerebral Fix and the University of Canterbury will receive funding. Their targeted outcomes are to create short form content using a virtual production workflow and to develop a virtual production product for Canterbury.
Simon Waterhouse, of Resonate, said the screen production grant was “a brilliant initiative to foster development in Canterbury's film industry”.
“In our case it provides essential support towards a uniquely collaborative project. We're very excited to share the capabilities of virtual production technology with the local and broader industry very soon,” Waterhouse said.