The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) grossed more than $1.7m (NZ$4m) in sales in the 12 months to June 30, 2001, according to its annual report, which was tabled in Parliament today. Sales in the previous year were $465,000 (NZ$1.1m). The biggest contributor was director Glenn Standring's $887,000 (NZ$2.1m) horror flick The Irrefutable Truth About Demons. The first film produced under First Sun, the feature division of the television producers The Gibson Group, recorded gross sales income of $1m (NZ$2.5m) and was sold to 48 countries. The producer was Dave Gibson.

The most successful local performer was director Hamish Rothwell's Stickmen, which grossed $240,000 (NZ$568,222) in ticket sales. It sold a record 2,200 video units and 1,300 DVD units for distributor Universal/REP. The producer was Michelle Turner.

The report notes that the NZFC committed $2.6m (NZ$6.2m) in production funds to nine features during the year -- compared to $2m (NZ$4.8m) in the previous year - and a further $465,000 (NZ$1.1m) was spent on the development of 53 projects. The $211,260 (NZ$500,000) increase in the level of resources devoted to development is in line with the NZFC's focus on improving the quality of scripts. Nineteen features with NZFC investment were released in the last three years, attracting an estimated 900,000 people, compared to nine films and 222,000 people in the previous three. Chair Alan Sorrell used the report to highlight the need for filmmakers to be supported by the television sector.