Posts by Chaz Harris

  • Hard News: What rules are these?, in reply to Gary Young,

    It's super creepy! She's also technically a minor, right? So a middle-aged man taking semi-naked pictures of a minor in her bikini....hmmmm, there should be laws about that.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report

  • Speaker: Levelling the Playing Field, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'd rather be paternalised by the most commercially successful filmmaker in the world than some locals who don't have that kind of track record.

    It's now going to be up to NZ to capitalise on that advisory board, add more major players to it and then have a funding system for commercial IP tied to it. Once we do that, we are poised to make a big impact - and I personally know of at least 2-3 filmmakers I would invest my own money in backing and consider them potential PJs.

    NZ has a whole generation of filmmakers spawned from the Peter Jackson we listen to them and give them our backing before we lose them altogether!

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report

  • Speaker: Levelling the Playing Field,

    I'll chime in here and say that as much as I'd like to tell some NZ stories one day, they would be passion projects not designed to make money and purely funded from profits off mainstream internationally appealing content I've made.

    I don't know how alone I am in this, but from where I sit - Peter Jackson's success with The Lord of the Rings has spawned a legion of Kiwi filmmakers and drawn others from around the world who aspire to that same goal of international success, from New Zealand. The problem is, there is absolutely no mechanism in this country right now to support that kind of commercial filmmaking - and because of that lack of foresight, we are now in this mess of dependency on subsidies and international shows.

    If there had been investment in developing the careers of filmmakers with a commercial mindset after Lord of the Rings then we would have a number of filmmakers like Peter Jackson now operating in the mid-budget space with a sense of loyalty to making their projects based here. However, what is now happening is those people are taking themselves and their projects offshore because London and LA actually have mechanisms and enough producers looking for those types of projects - NZ does not.

    Producers in this space need to have money to support the advanced development of these projects with things to spend time on budgeting, casting attachments etc. and the NZFC does not support commercially viable projects that have more chance of attracting international co-producers (largely because their legislation, operating structure and lack of commercial filmmaking experience on staff is prohibitive to this).

    The only solution in the short term is to raise the incentives to be attractive enough to be competitive and keep us in the game internationally and retain crews here - but SIMULTANEOUSLY we should be investing in the advanced stages of packaging commercial projects and helping New Zealand writers/directors to develop more of that IP which has an international audience. Once these projects get off the ground, made and hopefully generate some financial success - these very creatives can then become the kind of producers who are able to invest in advanced development of their own projects and others.

    It's fine for the NZFC to continue funding films in the cultural content arena, I don't dispute the importance of those kind of films being made, but there should be someone else handling the commercial end. We have the infrastructure and world-class crews and facilities to make Hollywood standard films and only when we prove to the rest of the world we have premium content to offer will the dependency on rebates no longer be the main part of the conversation. Until then, we have to compete or let the NZ industry die altogether and send everyone offshore to become successful.

    I left my job at Miramax 7 years ago and moved here from the UK because I could see the potential of NZ to be the next big place for global filmmaking. I could have stayed in London to make films there, but I've since learned and still believe New Zealand, and particularly Wellington, is the best place for me to do it. I still have hope that can be the case if the right decisions are made, but they must be made fast enough so that crew and content creators don't leave.

    There's my lengthy two cents ;)

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Movie Disaster,

    I agree. We need a mechanism for IP development funding separate to the NZFC who are stuck and bound by the cultural legislation requirements - simply opening them up to funding commercial projects won't help much because their leadership doesn't have that point of view and commercial focus needed to operate in a commercial film environment. They'll need to know instinctively what has a good chance of selling.

    Investing in commercially focused IP projects that just happen to be made in NZ by NZers is the gap here, just like something like Callaghan Innovation fund grants for research into new technology, something like that for creative content creators would be hugely beneficial. If we had the ability to put a bit of money on the table with IP owned here by a production company based here, we can ensure both the residual benefits and economic growth impact is felt in NZ - and in that case it might not always need to be shot in New Zealand to be beneficial to us anyway.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report

  • Hard News: Yet More Hobbit,

    Hi all, I would just like to respond to the comments about Peter Jackson supporting local filmmakers and there being no further comments/stories of this support.

    In 2007 I made a self-funded short film called "The Shoe Box" and had the help and support of lighting company Portsmouth Hire and Park Road Post.

    I have also experienced this several times in the last three years and as such have an incredible amount of respect and admiration for them. Any depictions of SPJ as a power-hungry and money-grabbing evil film director/producer are completely wrong. If he was money-grabbing, why would he have that mandate to help a bunch of us upcoming filmmakers at all - surely he would be charging us full price for everything! If you live in Wellington and area filmmaker, you will likely have been helped in some way by his companies and I am so disappointed in a lot of people who have turned against him over this. He and his team deserve much better than this!

    and that's all I have to say about that.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2010 • 6 posts Report