Chinese audiences treated to NZ films

By Lincoln Tan

 Boy , starring James Rolleston, is one of the movies selected for screening at the film festival in five Chinese cities next month. Photo / Supplied
Boy , starring James Rolleston, is one of the movies selected for screening at the film festival in five Chinese cities next month. Photo / Supplied

A New Zealand film festival to screen in China next month is aimed at showing Chinese audiences that anyone in New Zealand can be a successful film-maker.

Boy, a box office hit directed by Taika Waititi, and Take 3, a short film by New Zealand Chinese director Roseanne Liang, will be among the films to screen at the festival - which organisers hope will encourage more Chinese investment in joint movie projects with New Zealand.

The festival will precede the signing of a film co-production agreement between the two countries in July, said Jim He, chairman of the Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Centre.

It is understood the agreement will ease temporary immigration and importation of equipment between the two countries, to make it easier for screen production companies from China and New Zealand to work together.

New Zealand has film co-production agreements with Australia, Canada, France, Italy and Britain.

"The movies selected for the festival will show that New Zealand is more than just Peter Jackson," Mr He said.

"We are a multicultural nation, and even non-European film producers can be successful here."

The centre has taken NZ films to China since 2002, and will this year host the festival in five Chinese cities: Beijing, Qingdao, Shanghai, Ningbo and Hang Zhou from June 7. Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey will lead the delegation.

Other films featuring include Gaylene Preston's Home By Christmas, based on her father's World War II experiences, Simone Horrocks' After Waterfall and Adam Strange's Aphrodite's Farm.

"There will be no blood and violence, because the Chinese love family-themed movies," said Mr He. "The selection of movies will give the Chinese audience a window to the beautiful New Zealand landscape, and also the wide options for filming in New Zealand."

Mr He said the Chinese were big movie fans, watching between 10 and 16 films a year on average, and films at the festival often played in theatres that were 90 per cent full.

Prime Minister John Key, in his message for the festival, said the Chinese communities here played an important role in shaping New Zealand's future.

"We have many Chinese communities in New Zealand, all of which have an important role to play in shaping the future of our country," Mr Key said.

"The Government is committed to ensuring their voices are heard.

"This is helped by the leadership of our first Asian Cabinet minister, the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Pansy Wong."

- NZ Herald

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