During the past year, New Zealand has played host to a range of ambitious projects, including Warner Bros' epic 10,000 B.C., directed by Roland Emmerich. James Cameron, meanwhile, is in pre-production on his long-awaited Avatar.
Although a lack of studio space is an issue, a significant attraction has been the Large Budget Screen Production Grant (see fact box) introduced in 2003.
Susan Ord is responsible for managing all international and local location inquiries, researching the New Zealand screen production infrastructure and capability, and liaising with the local industry on issues of common concern, as well as attending international events on Film New Zealand's behalf.
Why shoot in New Zealand'
Obviously it helps if you've got a script that calls for our locations, which are extremely diverse and easily accessible.
Beyond that: reverse seasons to the northern hemisphere; fantastic crews; English-speaking; and our infrastructure gets better and better all the time. And it's a very safe country.
In many instances, our cost structure is cheaper than shooting in Europe, and the exchange rate works in our favour. And of course there's our rebate, which is efficient in terms of delivery and certainty. The grant is usually paid within three months and time is money on any production.
How receptive are producers to your message'
We haven't got sloppy and blase, as could be said about some of our rivals. We've still got the passion and the commitment. So they're very receptive. And then they crunch the numbers. Because the decision is ultimately about script and budget.
Which are your biggest competitors'
In terms of attracting US offshore productions, it's probably various individual American states, which is a very interesting change. More and more non-traditional film-making states in the US are offering a wide range of financial incentives, as well as developing and building up their own local film-makers and infrastructures.
What could New Zealand be doing better'
If we had more resources, there are heaps of things we could be doing. But within the paramaters we have to work' If I was forced against a wall, I'd say we need to be bringing more people from major international production centres to New Zealand to see what the industry is capable of.