Name: Jon Landau, producer
Production: Avatar, directed by James Cameron, spent five months in Stone Street Studios, Wellington. The project also shot on location in Hawaii.
- Why did you decide to shoot in New Zealand'
First and foremost it had the calibre of artisans we were looking for to get the quality of sets, set dressing and craftsmanship up on screen. Using local crews and Weta Workshop, we were able to create what Jim (Cameron) describes as the best set he has ever shot on. Another big factor was the tax incentive - we are a big-budget movie but every movie struggles to be as fiscally responsible as possible.
- Where else did you consider'
Los Angeles, Vancouver, Australia - but when we looked at the whole package, New Zealand had all the things we needed.
- How did you find New Zealand crews'
Great. You can fill all of your needs there and we weren't always sure of that. We did some second-unit filming which we didn't schedule until the end of the production and we thought we may have to bring in additional people from the States. But we crewed that whole unit from New Zealand, from the director of photography and the gaffer all the way down. Capacity is a question but we did not have a problem and we were filming at the same time and on the same lot as The Lovely Bones.
- Is there anything New Zealand lacks'
No, but sometimes you have to look for it in a different place, as often happens in foreign locations. A construction crew's skill in one country might be plaster, in another wood. Whenever we needed something we were able to find the skill set, although maybe not from industry people.
- Are you doing post-production in New Zealand'
We're technically not doing post in New Zealand but we're doing visual effects at Weta Digital, another factor in going there.
- Would you shoot in New Zealand again'