||The Evening Post
December 22, 2001
Focus on Capital in Wake of
Cameras from around the world could be turning their focus on
Wellington in the next few months, with production companies making dozens of inquiries
about filming here.
Inquiries have flooded in since the Australasian premiere of
director Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at the Embassy
Theatre on Wednesday night.
Filmed in New Zealand - largely in the Wellington region - the $650 million trilogy showed
Kiwis had the skills, technology and infrastructure to compete with the best film-makers
in the world.
The cheap Kiwi dollar is also a drawcard, as it's worth less than half that of the US
Jackson has repeatedly said the Rings project couldn't have been made in any other
Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency film and television manager Jean Johnston
said attention on the Rings meant the international spotlight was shining right on
Wellington as a film location.
"It's been phenomenal. It's beyond our wildest dreams. I've had so many e-mails and
phone calls and the number of hits to our website have been remarkable. There is a lot of
interest, mainly from producers in the US and some from the United Kingdom, Germany,
Holland and Asia. With Peter [Jackson] publicly praising the city for its attitude to
assisting film productions, interest has never been higher."
Ms Johnston said the international interest wasn't just from feature film-makers, but also
from TV and commercial producers.
She said the makers of British children's TV programme Blue Peter have just announced they
would be coming to shoot in the Capital next month.
Minister responsible for The Lord Of The Rings Pete Hodgson said the trilogy had put New
Zealand on the world film map and the multi-million dollar film industry could grow
"There is no doubt where Rings was made: In New Zealand by New Zealanders."
He said it had created an opportunity to see whether a permanent quality film
infrastructure could stay in New Zealand. But the country lacked screen-writing courses,
had a shortage of entertainment industry lawyers, and weak protection of film intellectual
Mr Hodgson said Kiwis could use the Rings project to sell New Zealand overseas, promoting
the fact that digital technology for the movies was made here.
The first Rings movie officially opened in cinemas on Thursday and is predicted to be a
global smash hit, pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. In New
Zealand, The Fellowship of the Ring broke all previous opening day box office records with
ticket sales of $720,933. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace held the previous record of