Dunedin mayor calls for more co-production efforts in NZ

MUMBAI: FRAMES 2003, the biggest global convention in Asia on the business of entertainment organised by FICCI, began its "preview session" today with the inauguration of a seminar on the technology of information, media and the entertainment industry.

The seminar's opening session had media luminaries like E- Entertainment Alliance chairman Amit Khanna, NASSCOM president and E-Entertainment Alliance co-chairman Kiran Karnik, E-Entertainment Alliance co-chairman Harish Mehta and TiE Mumbai president Vijay Mukhi in attendance. The opening remarks were made by Sukhi Turner, the mayor of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Calling New Zealand 'Gods Own country', the thrust of her speech lay on the possibilities for co-production of feature films. She pointed out that a few Hindi films had already been shot there and the beauty of the country was magnified by television shows such as Xena: Warrior Princess which airs on Star World and by the epic The Lord of The Rings (LOTR).

Elaborating on the advantages of doing business in New Zealand, Turner said: "The industry is deregulated and we are competitive in abilities and cost, making it an extremely attractive option for filmmakers. Our favourable currency also ensures lower production costs giving you the opportunity to extend the potential of your project. It is supported by one of the most sophisticated banking structures and modern communication systems."

In a PR initiative the director of LOTR Peter Jackson expressed regret at not being able to attend FRAMES as he was doing post production work on The Return of The King which is the final installment in the LOTR trilogy. He showed keenness on working with Indian talent as did Sam Neil who comically expressed anger about not having yet gotten an opportunity to feature in a Bollywood film.

Turner said," It may seem remarkable that a small country of nearly four million people could have nurtured such talent. But let me assure you that the talent pool supporting the film and television craft."

She named Weta Workshop and Weta Digital FX, Film Lab, Digital Post, Oktober as being some of the major film production houses. Other noteworthy companies include Fox's Natural History New Zealand Ltd. which has made Emmy award winning documentaries.


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