Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Bay film studio proposed by new film society

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Anton Steel and Sir Bob Harvey at the Tauranga Art Gallery ahead of the launch of BOP Film. Photo/John Borren
Anton Steel and Sir Bob Harvey at the Tauranga Art Gallery ahead of the launch of BOP Film. Photo/John Borren

A not-for-profit society to showcase and grow the local film industry has launched and already has its sights set high.

The launch of Bay of Plenty Film last night came with a bold plan to explore the potential of developing a film studio in Tauranga.

BOP Film already had a membership of more than 60 people either working in the screen media industry or keen to and would help nurture and showcase the talent, locations and creative projects.

"I think we can do a lot more to showcase the local industry and its potential to the rest of the country and the world, as well as develop more local talent," said Anton Steel, Tauranga writer/director and president of the new society.

While a film studio was only a concept at this stage, excitement surrounded the possibility.

Mr Steel said the New Zealand film industry was thriving and with the growth of international films shooting here, there was a real need for another film studio.

It would be the third major film studio in the country, alongside those in Wellington and Auckland, which were at capacity.

"With the amazing natural locations we already have, from the coast to the Volcanic Plateau, Tauranga would be a great location."

The Tauriko Business Estate was floated as the ideal place for a studio, due to its space, and proximity to Auckland, access to the Lakes and the Bay.

The launch of BOP Film was to show the Bay was "open for business" and it would be a while before any firm plans for the development of a studio progressed.

Deputy chairman of the New Zealand Film Commission, Sir Bob Harvey, who attended the launch, was "wildly enthusiastic" about what was trying to be done in the Bay, with BOP Film and a potential studio.

As former mayor of Waitakere, Sir Bob oversaw the establishment of the film studio in West Auckland more than 10 years ago. He spoke of the immense contribution to the regional economy the studio brought to Waitakere.

His daughter was a producer working on advertisements outside of Paris and Sir Bob said he would have no hesitation telling her to come shoot in the Bay of Plenty studio.

The idea found support in Priority One, and chief executive Andrew Coker said launching a studio in Tauranga was a no brainer.

"Available and competitive land, access to a pool of talented local people, lifestyle opportunities that support the attraction of more skilled and talented people, combined with an immensely collaborative business and council community and the real growth potential that prevails here.

"Underpinning that is our relative proximity to Auckland," Mr Coker said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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