The world will soon see more New Zealand on screen

Nine projects selected in Te Puna Kairangi’s Final Production Funding Round.

A total of nine film and television projects received funding offers in the final round of the Te Puna Kairangi – Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, which is administered by Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga | New Zealand Film Commission.

Among the various projects is a family fantasy feature film written and directed by successful New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, the Truman Show), a Christchurch-based thriller television drama series, a feature film with strong te reo Maori content and a children’s animated series.

The $25 million investment is the latest installment from the $50 million fund, set up to support the recovery of Aotearoa New Zealand’s production sector from COVID-19.

Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air will contribute an additional $4.8 million to six of the projects that meet their funding needs, says NZ On Air chief executive Cameron Harland. “These high quality productions represent how culturally unique Aotearoa is and have the potential for strong international reach. Given the caliber of projects on the table, NZ On Air has allocated additional funds from its NZ Media Fund to ensure we get as many premium series funded as possible. Te Puna Kairangi has been a brilliant inter-agency initiative.”

Te Māngai Pāho CEO Larry Parr agrees that the collaboration between the three funding agencies has been very successful and provides clear evidence that this is a model that should be continued. “Ko ngā hua e puta nei i roto i te mahi ngātahitangi o Te Puna Kairangi te taunaki kia haere tonu ai tēnei whakaritenga mō nga rā e haere ake nei. This kaupapa is symbolic of the well-known whakataukī, ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini’ – success comes from the work of many and not from one individual.

This latest round of production funding received 20 eligible applications for a total of nearly $64 million. Applications were assessed against the fund’s five key objectives, namely: to drive economic growth, increase employment, create cultural benefits, respond to COVID-19 with speed to market, and develop skills and capacity.

Funding decisions were made by a panel comprising members of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga (New Zealand Film Commission), Irirangi Te Motu (NZ On Air) and Te Māngai Pāho and Independent Chair Christina Milligan.
“We are thrilled with the projects we have been able to fund,” says Ms. Milligan. “There were many other impressive applications that we were unfortunately unable to support with the limited funding available. Te Puna Kairangi demonstrated the depth of talent and ambition in the screen business in New Zealand, and it would be great to create new opportunities to support more projects of this nature.

Mladen Ivancic – Acting CEO of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga | The New Zealand Film Commission claims that over three rounds of production funding, Te Puna Kairangi has supported a total of 16 productions. “These projects represent an anticipated collective expenditure of more than $154 million in a range of locations across the country, with an estimated expenditure for local jobs of over $90 million. The international investment in these projects amounts to more than 51 million dollars.

The final installment of investment funding includes funds returned from the first round of funding.

2 million dollars have also been invested in the development of 26 various screen projects which will provide further production opportunities in the years to come.

In this latest round of Te Puna Kairangi production financing, conditional offers have been made for nine projects:

1. After the Party (Drama Series 6 x 43min) *
Penny’s world implodes when she accuses her husband of a sex crime, and no one believes her. Five years later, she must decide what is more important: the truth or rebuilding her relationship with her daughter.
Production Co: Bright Pictures of Beast and Jargon
Producers: Helen Bowden, Peter Salmon
Screenwriter: Diane Taylor
Director: Peter Salmon

2. Babylon (feature film)
A Maori warrior priest travels to the anarchic whaling colony of Babylon to retrieve his father’s stolen head. A son’s love quickly becomes a threat to the town’s evil mayor.
Production Co: Vendetta Productions
Producers: Jill Macnab, James Brown, Tainui Stephens
Writer/Director: Glenn Standring

3. Badjelly (Animated series 13 x 22 min) *
When siblings Tim and Rose enter the nearby woods in search of their beloved cow Lucy, they must team up with the weird and wonderful people of the forest to take on a malevolent force terrorizing the valley, known as Badjelly’s name.
Production company: Mukpuddy Ltd.
Producers: Simon Ward, Roger Shakes, Carthew Neal
Writers/Directors: Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton and Tim Evans

4. Creamerie (Season 2) (Drama Series 6 x 22min)*
The Creamerie team flees Hiro Valley and embarks on an epic road trip to rescue surviving men, bring Lane to justice, and uncover the truth about the pandemic. But to save humanity, they must first save their friendship.
Production Co: Creamerie Ltd (Kevin and Co & Flat3), Tony Ayres Productions
Producers: Bronwynn Bakker, Roseanne Liang, JJ Fong, Ally Xue, Perlina Lau
Director: Roseanne Liang
Screenwriters: Roseanne Liang, Dan Musgrove

5. Dark City – The Cleaner (Drama Series 6 x 50 min) *
Joe Middleton is the cleaner at Christchurch Central Police Station. Everyone thinks Joe isn’t very smart. The police are looking for a serial killer who killed seven people. Joe knows he killed six. He’s going to find out who did the seventh and frame them for all the murders.
Production Company: Endeavor Ventures Ltd
Producers: John Barnett, Chloe Smith
Screenwriters: Paul Cleave, Rachel Lang, Simone NathanDirector: Rick Jacobson

6. Escaping Utopia (Documentary Series 3 x 45 min)
What if your whole life was based on lies?
Production Co: Warner Bros. International Television Production NZ
Producers: Natalie Malcon, Philippa Rennie
Directors: Justin Pemberton, Natalie Malcon, Michelle Savill

7. Me, Object (Feature)
I,Object follows Tom, a grieving 10-year-old boy who has drifted into a fantasy world after the death of his father. Misunderstood by all, Tom forms unusual friendships with the faces he sees in everyday objects. Soon, everything from his alarm clock, his pop cans, and even the kitchen sink begins to help him come to terms with his loss and reconnect with the humans around him.
Production Co: Southern Light Films and Good Question Media
Producers: Timothy White, Daniel Bekerman, Chris Yurkovich, Alex Ordanis
Writer/Director: Andrew Niccol

8. Madame Mom (Drama Series 10 x half hour) *
An all-American mom finds herself divorced, unemployed and pregnant in a small New Zealand town and opens an ethical brothel to survive.
Production company: Tavake Ltd.
Screenwriters: Shoshana McCallum, Harry McNaughton
Producers: Tom Hern, Halaifonua Finau, Crystal Vaega

9. The Panthers (season 2) (Drama series 6 x 44 min) *
The Polynesian Panthers are in a new chapter of their life; now juggling young families and jobs in the capitalist world, working for “The Man”. But the revolution waits for no one. This season, our young radicals are called to stand up and support their Maori brothers and sisters, as they seek to reclaim their language, culture and land taken from them.
Production company: Tavake Ltd.
Producers: Nicole Horan, Crystal Vaega
Screenwriters: Halaifonua Finau, Tom Hern, Becs Arahanga
Executive producers: Tom Hern, Halaifonua Finau

*Each of these projects qualified for the additional $800.00 funding from NZ On Air.

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