Watch out Wellywood: An investigation will begin next month into whether the Bay of Plenty Region can sustain a film studio.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Film Office and Rotorua's Steambox Films have hired London-based film consultancy firm Olsberg SPI to conduct a feasibility study into the studio concept.
Two representatives of the consultancy will visit in March to investigate whether factors such as the region's climate, location, crew base and pool of filmmaker talent made the studio a viable option.
Filmmakers with links to the area included Taika Waititi, Chelsea Winstanley, Ainsley Gardiner, Jeff Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Heperi Mita and Temuera Morrison.
The consultants will interview international contacts along with local filmmakers and investors.
Bay of Plenty Regional Film Office chief executive Anton Steel said the organisation was looking forward to the visit.
He said the region had no dedicated film studio, with facilities limited to some small photography studios.
Establishing a studio in the Bay of Plenty would greatly benefit the region's 400-strong film community, Steel said.
The benefits would spill over from the film industry into other Bay businesses, such as accommodation establishments.
Steel said if the project went ahead, there were a number of possible forms it could take.
A bespoke studio, a converted warehouse and a pop-up studio that could be stored at various locations were all options that Olsberg SPI could consider in the feasibility test, he said.
The feasibility study has been funded by Te Puni Kōkiri with $60,000 from the He kai kei aku ringa [providing food by my own hands] fund for Māori economic development, administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The film office is jointly funded by all of the region's councils with a remit to grow the local film industry and attract international and national productions to the Bay.
It has also received funding from BayTrust, the Tauranga Energy Consumers Trust and the Rotorua Energy Trust.
Mike Johnson, a member of Rotorua-based filmmaker collective Steambox Films,
said the Bay of Plenty region would be the "perfect" place to have a film studio, given the plentiful accommodation and location.
The ultimate goal was to eventually film Hollywood productions to the area but there was still much work to do before that could happen.
"It's not even phase one yet," he said.
Olsberg SPI chairman Jonathon Olsberg and associate director Leon Forde would visit the Bay of Plenty in early March to undertake the study.
"We are very pleased to be starting this very important project for Steambox Films and Bay of Plenty Film," Olsberg said.