11 February 2007

NZ film history

shapeimage_1-2007-02-11-12-46.png As a visitor to these shore my knowledge of the local film industry in pretty much non-existent. I have seen Once Were Warriors, The Piano and Whale Rider, of course, and who hasn’t heard of Peter Jackson’s oeuvre? I won’t bore you with a rundown of NZ films (you can find those at the NZ Film Commission website), just a few Did You Know’s:

 ★ NZ has the highest per-capita cinema going in the World.
Broken Barrier was the first internationally distributed NZ film
Pacific Films, one of the first independent commercial film studios, used to shoot rugby games on saturdays and have 10 minute summaries in the cinemas by the following Tuesday.
★ TV transmission started in the 1960’s, in Auckland only at first, and only between 6 and 9 pm. Colour came in the early ’70, as did a second TV channel.
★ There was no network, film reels were shipped round the local TV stations by planes.
★ The 1977 premier of Sleeping Dogs sees the first commercial feature film made in NZ with a NZ theme (what if Vietnam happened in NZ).
★ 1980 saw the introduction of tax-deductible investment for films, which led to a rash of feature being made. Since many of them were not specifically NZ-themed, it was decided to end this kind of financing and to only finance films that had a NZ story and setting, and were directed, produced and written by NZ talent.

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