Pukeko hunts money for series

By Helen Twose

The Wotwots creator is a finalist in the Entrepreneurs' Challenge. Photo / Supplied
The Wotwots creator is a finalist in the Entrepreneurs' Challenge. Photo / Supplied

Independent entertainment production company Pukeko Pictures has five story ideas waiting for the green light.

Pukeko Pictures chief executive Andrew Smith said the company, which created children's television favourites The Wotwots and Jane and the Dragon, has international partners on board for each of the shows and it is just a matter of pulling together the money to finance production.

Ideally Pukeko Pictures would make all five programmes but realistically it won't be able to finance all five, Smith said.

"These shows are expensive and you've got to make the shows first before you can earn the money," he said.

The Jane and the Dragon animation production, made in partnership with Canadian entertainment giant Corus, was rumoured to have cost $16 million.

Auckland venture capital firm Pioneer Capital invested in Pukeko Pictures in 2010, helping to finance a second series of The Wotwots.

Television production for the international market falls into a funding grey area between the Film Commission's focus on feature films and New Zealand on Air's remit to fund productions telling local stories, said Smith.

One source of extra cash the company hopes to tap is $1 million up for grabs in the University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge.

Pukeko Pictures is among five finalists vying for a share of the funding and mentoring available, with the winners to be announced at the end of the month.

* Founded by Weta Workshop's Sir Richard Taylor and children's book author Martin Baynton.
* Taps the resources of Weta Workshop to produce TV programmes, iPad apps, eBooks and merchandising.
* Made international television hits The Wotwots and Jane and the Dragon.
* Several adult programmes slated for production.

- NZ Herald

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