The lights are shining bright in the Canterbury region, buzzing with cast, crew and cameras with three more productions set to start filming from January 2023. The three funding recipients from the last round in June add to an already impressive and diverse range of genres currently in production both in the city and across the region.
The Recipients Are:
Trolgar & Me | Feature Film
Well-known local Producers Tony Simpson and Victoria Dabbs, and Director Gillian Ashurst have teamed up to tell the tale of Trolgar, a banished Norwegian troll, who befriends 12 year-old Maia and her Grandad. Together they must form a plan to help Maia’s new BFF get back safely to Norway, all while evading the scurrilous local Mayor. Filming begins in South Canterbury at the end of January 2023.
Went Up The Hill | Feature Film
Christchurch-born writer/director Sam Van Grinsven (Sequin in a Blue Room) returns home to direct his sophomore feature starring Vicky Krieps (The Phantom Thread, Corsage) and Dacre Montgomery (Stranger Things). Kiwi Vicky Pope (Savage) is co-producing this New Zealand / Australia co-production with Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton (The Nightingale, You Won’t Be Alone) of Causeway Films. Abandoned as a child, Jack ventures to remote New Zealand to attend the funeral of his estranged mother and there meets her grieving widow, Jill. But his search for answers becomes dangerous when his mother’s ghost returns to inhabit both Jack and Jill, using each of their bodies to speak to the other, instigating a life-threatening nocturnal dance between the three of them.
These two productions, alongside previous grant recipient The Cleaner, Dark City, will employ more than 140 crew filming from 26 days to seven months with a total estimated spend of $10 million.
Local documentary filmmaker Vanessa Wells funding is also waiting in the wings as she awaits news on additional funding. She will journey to the bottom of the world for The Climate Canary, a feature length documentary about Antarctica, the scientists who work there, what they are discovering and how those discoveries are affecting them at home.
Allocation in this funding round means that for now, the Screen CanterburyNZ Production Grant pipeline is full. In what was the first of its kind in New Zealand, the grant programme funded domestic and international productions that met eligibility criteria, including the requirement that other funding sources had been secured and funding arrangements have been agreed with ChristchurchNZ.
It had been anticipated that funding would be spread over five rounds, but the quality of projects and rounds being so competitive saw more applications come through and created a viable opportunity to get more productions rolling sooner than expected. Each project selected ensures it supports the growth of the screen industry in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Waitaha Canterbury, and Tai Poutini West Coast.
Ali Adams, ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive said the production funding contributed to a number of ChristchurchNZ’s goals.
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive - Ali Adams
We are delighted with the value of investment this initiative has had on the economic development of Christchurch. Job creation and upskilling for local crew and increased use of local screen facilities is bringing measurable economic benefits to the city, not to mention turning international heads toward our beautiful and inspiring Canterbury locations”.
“We are delighted with the value of investment this initiative has had on the economic development of Christchurch. Job creation and upskilling for local crew and increased use of local screen facilities is bringing measurable economic benefits to the city, not to mention turning international heads toward our beautiful and inspiring Canterbury locations”.
Petrina D’Rozario, Screen CanterburyNZ manager said the region’s screen industry is in major growth mode and with the University of Canterbury’s Digital Screen Campus under development, the screen ecosystem’s future is looking bright.
Screen CanterburyNZ Manager - Petrina D’Rozario
The Screen CanterburyNZ grants have made a real impact in the ability to showcase the Canterbury region as a desirable filming location. The more productions the are made here, the more eyes, both domestically and internationally, will be cast upon what we can offer.”
“The Screen CanterburyNZ grants have made a real impact in the ability to showcase the Canterbury region as a desirable filming location. The more productions the are made here, the more eyes, both domestically and internationally, will be cast upon what we can offer.”
A recipient from the previous round, feature film Head South, has already called action helping fuel a busy season for the film industry in the city and across Canterbury.
Producer Antje Kulpe and writer/director Jonathan Ogilvie are taking us back in time to 1979 Christchurch and the post-punk music era. Kulpe said they were “excited to showcase the creativity of Christchurch and make a film with international appeal.”