Jackson plea for more Govt feature film cash

By Geoff Cumming

Jackson says lack of funding is thwarting emerging young film-makers from following in his footsteps.
Jackson says lack of funding is thwarting emerging young film-makers from following in his footsteps.

Blockbuster movie-maker Sir Peter Jackson wants the Government to stump up more money for feature film production in this country - but he's not expecting any to come his way.

Jackson plans to use his seat on the newly-created Screen Advisory Board to fight for a funding increase for the Film Commission, to help lower-profile film-makers to break through.

The mastermind of some of the highest-grossing movies in cinema history says the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) is distributing roughly the same amount for feature films as it did in the late-1980s when he made his feature debut Bad Taste.

Jackson, who last night was awarded the Blake Medal for Leadership, says lack of funding is thwarting emerging young film-makers from following in his footsteps.

"In the late-1980s the Film Commission had about $12 million a year to spend on New Zealand feature films," he told the Weekend Herald.

"Twenty-five years later it's still [about] $12 million and, with movies carrying 2014 costs, the ability to find talent and get careers going is severely affected."

While the Film Commission was only expected to fund low budget films, the challenge was to identify and support talented film-makers with the potential to "break the shackles" of the commission and gain international backing. "Think of the New Zealand directors who went on to have careers beyond NZFC-funding prior to 1995 and it's impressive. Post 1995 it's a very small list ... Anyone who really cares about our indigenous film industry should look at the real problem."

Despite multiple Oscars, a knighthood and his admission to the Order of New Zealand, Jackson said he was honoured to be recognised in the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Awards, though he could not attend the Auckland ceremony due to commitments on the final instalment of his Hobbit trilogy.

"Being connected to Sir Peter Blake is special because there are not many awards that are so linked to somebody this country feels very proud of for all the right reasons."

The Film Commission says funding support for feature films has broadened since the 1980s.

- NZ Herald

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