I had a holiday in November but it seems such an age ago, having arrived back to the turbulence of the New Zealand screen industry.
But as we close out 2022, some good news for a change.
Avatar: the Way of Water is worth seeing, and it will transport you away from everyday life to, as film critic Mark Kermode puts it somewhat derisively, the world of the wet smurfs. Fortunate to have seen it yesterday prior to its NZ premiere today, I’m much more complimentary of the film than Mr. Kermode.
If you are into fantasy, this one is definitely for you. There were a couple of moments where my suspension of disbelief was interrupted, but I was soon transported back into the world by the film’s driving pace. It’s visually astounding, and to know that much of it has been made here in New Zealand is a source of pride, for me at least. Considering an estimated 2400 kiwis worked on the film, the credits went by surprising quickly—Seeing them on an Imax screen made them so much easier to read. Overall, a rollicking good time where good wins out over evil with some teary moments. Just what was needed.
Out my way in West Auckland, the official opening of the two new sound stages at Auckland Film Studios is a cause for celebration. Thankfully the damage from fire to one of them was not devastating. They’ve added an additional 44,000 sq ft of space to Auckland’s studio infrastructure, and already have bookings for 2023.
Meanwhile down South, UK-based Target3D has announced it will construct a multimillion-dollar digital studio in a $45 million Queenstown research and innovation facility. This, on top of the proposed massive Silverlight Studios to be built near Wanaka and the University of Canterbury’s Digital Screen Campus including a virtual production studio, is going to transform the South Island’s studio offering.
On the local production side, we are still seeing funding flowing into projects from the latest NZ On Air, NZFC and TMP funding decisions. A special nod to the Guild’s illustrious President Robyn Paterson and DEGANZ member, editor and now Robyn’s business partner, Jai Waite. The two have secured funding for their new production entity Sweet Productions for their documentary series Wheel Blacks: Bodies on the Line. Swish! Further good news about other members’ efforts later in the newsletter.
As I recently wrote in an email to someone recently, 2022 has been a demanding year for us all. We certainly need a break and Christmas and New Year will hopefully give you all time to rest, recover, and get inspired and creative for 2023.
Ngā mihi o te Kirihimete me te Tau Hau