Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Wellywood set to meet Bollywood on Key visit to India

Park Road Post chief executive Cameron Harland. Photo/ Mark Mitchell
Park Road Post chief executive Cameron Harland. Photo/ Mark Mitchell

Bollywood could soon meet Wellywood with Sir Peter Jackson's Park Road Post Production considering offering courses to aspiring and established Indian film makers.

The Wellington company that helped make the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies will shortly run its first 10-day intensive education programme, which will give mostly Kiwis a chance to get a taste of world-class production and technology.

Cameron Harland, chief executive of Park Road, is in India as part of a business delegation accompanying Prime Minister John Key.

The company currently doesn't do any work in the subcontinent, he told the Herald, but wants to explore the possibility of attracting international students to a new course run in Wellington.

WELL KNOWN GLOBAL BUSINESS
"The brand that the group out here is seen as - obviously with Peter very much in the middle, Weta and to a lesser degree Park Road - are very well known global businesses," he said.

"I would imagine that there would be a level of interest. The reason for going is to get a sense as to what interest there is."

Park Road Post Production has been talking to Education New Zealand about the opportunity and taking advice. It was very early stages, but there were a number of different options.

"It might be younger people that are looking for a short period of time. It might be a film maker that is actually going, 'Hey, I could bring a film down and while working on it and learn a little more',"Harland said.

"It is really an experience, if you like...so this is about, come and spend some time with an academy award winning rerecording mixer and understand how to mix the sound in a film. Or spend some time with one or two of our colourists and understand how we play with colour and grade a film."

POSSIBLE PARTNERSHIP WITH TERTIARY PROVIDER
If the offering did grow into something more, such as a masters qualification, Park Road could partner with a local tertiary provider, or go through the process of getting accreditation through the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Park Road was built in 2002 by Jackson and is part of the Weta Group of companies. It includes digital daily services, off-line edit suites, sound design, sound mixing and VFX.

Bollywood, the Hindi-language part of the Indian film industry, produces revenue of about US$2.3 billion a year, churns out more films than Hollywood and sells about a billion more tickets each year.

NO MATCH FOR HOLLYWOOD'S REVENUE
But it can't match Hollywood in terms of box office revenue.

Regional cinema in other Indian languages account for about 43 per cent of the national box office.

A number of Indian productions have been shot in New Zealand. Sardar Saab was filmed in New Zealand in June and July, Life of Josutty last year and Players - Bollywood's take on Hollywood's The Italian Job - in 2012.

Tourism New Zealand has also used Bollywood stars as ambassadors, including Sidharth Malhotra, who last year toured the country and tweeted photos to his 2.42 million followers.

Malhotra will on Thursday speak at an event attended by Key and former Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum, who is in the Prime Minister's delegation.

- NZ Herald

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