The world will soon be seeing more of New Zealand on screen.

A total of nine film and television projects have been offered funding in the final round of Te Puna Kairangi – Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, which is administered by Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga| The New Zealand Film Commission.

Among the diverse projects is a family fantasy feature film written and directed by the highly successful New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show), a thriller television drama series based in Christchurch, a feature film with strong te reo Māori content and a children’s animation series.

The $25 million investment is the final instalment from the $50m Fund, set up to support the Aotearoa New Zealand production sector’s recovery from COVID-19.

Irirangi Te Motu | NZ On Air will contribute a further $4.8 million towards six of the projects which meet their funding requirements, explains NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland. “These high-quality productions represent how culturally unique Aotearoa is and have the potential for strong international reach. Given the calibre of the projects on the table, NZ On Air has allocated additional funds from its NZ Media Fund to ensure we get as many premium series funded as possible. Te Puna Kairangi has been a brilliant, cross-agency initiative."

Te Māngai Pāho CEO, Larry Parr agrees the collaboration between three funding agencies has been highly successful and provides clear evidence that it is a model which should be continued. “Ko ngā hua e puta nei i roto i te mahi ngātahitangi o Te Puna Kairangi te taunaki kia haere tonu ai tēnei whakaritenga mō nga rā e haere ake nei. This kaupapa is symbolic of the well-known whakataukī, ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini’- success comes from the work of many not an individual.”

This final production funding round received 20 eligible applications seeking a total of nearly $64 million. Applications were assessed against the five key objectives of the fund which are: to boost economic growth, increase employment, create cultural benefit, respond to COVID-19 with speed to market and develop skills and capability.

Funding decisions were made by a panel which has members from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga (New Zealand Film Commission), Irirangi Te Motu (NZ On Air) and Te Māngai Pāho and independent Chair Christina Milligan.

“We are delighted with the projects we have been able to fund,” says Ms Milligan. “There were many other impressive applications that we were unfortunately unable to support with the finite funding available. Te Puna Kairangi has demonstrated the depth of talent and ambition in New Zealand’s screen sector, and it would be great to create further opportunities to support more projects of this nature.”

Mladen Ivancic – acting CEO of Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga | New Zealand Film Commission says across three production funding rounds Te Puna Kairangi has supported a total of 16 productions. “These projects represent an anticipated collective spend of over $154 million in a range of locations around the country, with an estimated spend on local jobs of over $90 million. International investment in these projects is over $51 million.”

The final instalment of investment funding includes funds returned from the first funding round.
$2 million was also invested in the development of 26 diverse screen projects which will provide further production opportunities in the years to come.

In this final production funding round of Te Puna Kairangi, conditional offers have been made to nine projects:

After the Party (Drama Series 6 x 43min) *

Penny’s world implodes when she accuses her husband of a sex crime, and nobody believes her. Five years later, she must decide what’s more important – the truth, or rebuilding her relationship with her daughter.

Production Co: Luminous Beast & Lingo Pictures

Producers: Helen Bowden, Peter Salmon

Writer: Dianne Taylor

Director: Peter Salmon

Babylon (Feature Film)

A Māori warrior priest comes to the lawless whaling settlement of Babylon to recover his father’s stolen head. A son’s love soon becomes a threat to the town’s villainous mayoress.

Production Co: Vendetta Productions

Producers: Jill Macnab, James Brown, Tainui Stephens

Writer/Director: Glenn Standring

Badjelly (Animation series 13 x 22 min) *

When siblings Tim and Rose enter the nearby woods in search of their beloved cow Lucy, they must team up with the weird and wonderful forest-folk to confront a malevolent force terrorising the valley, known as Badjelly.

Production Co: Mukpuddy Ltd

Producers: Simon Ward, Roger Shakes, Carthew Neal

Writer/Directors: Ryan Cooper, Alex Leighton & Tim Evans

Creamerie (season 2) (Drama Series 6 x 22min) *

Team Creamerie flees Hiro Valley and sets off on an epic road trip to save male survivors, bring Lane to justice and uncover the truth about the pandemic. But to save mankind, they’ve first got to save their friendship.

Production Co: Creamerie Ltd (Kevin and Co & Flat3), Tony Ayres Productions

Producers: Bronwynn Bakker, Roseanne Liang, JJ Fong, Ally Xue, Perlina Lau

Director: Roseanne Liang

Writers: Roseanne Liang, Dan Musgrove

Dark City – The Cleaner (Drama Series 6 x 50 min) *

Joe Middleton is the cleaner at Christchurch’s Central Police Station. Everyone thinks Joe is not very smart. The Police are looking for a serial killer who has seven victims. Joe knows he has killed six. He is going to find out who did the seventh and frame them for all the murders.

Production Co: Endeavour Ventures Ltd

Producers: John Barnett, Chloe Smith

Writers: Paul Cleave, Rachel Lang, Simone NathanDirector: Rick Jacobson

Escaping Utopia (Documentary Series 3 x 45 min)

What if your entire life was based on lies?

Production Co: Warner Bros. International Television Production NZ

Producers: Natalie Malcon, Philippa Rennie

Directors: Justin Pemberton, Natalie Malcon, Michelle Savill

I,Object (Feature film)

I,Object follows Tom, a grief-stricken 10-year-old boy who has drifted into a world of imagination after the death of his father. Misunderstood by everyone, Tom starts forming unusual friendships with the faces he sees in everyday objects. Soon everything from his alarm clock, pop cans, and even the kitchen sink begin helping him accept his loss and reconnect with the humans around him.

Production Co: Southern Light Films & Good Question Media

Producers: Timothy White, Daniel Bekerman, Chris Yurkovich, Alex Ordanis

Writer/Director: Andrew Niccol

Madame Mom (Drama Series 10 x half hour) *

An all-American Mom finds herself divorced, unemployed and pregnant in small-town New Zealand and starts an ethical brothel to survive.

Production Co: Tavake Ltd

Writers: Shoshana McCallum, Harry McNaughton

Producers: Tom Hern, Halaifonua Finau, Crystal Vaega

The Panthers (season 2) (Drama Series 6 x 44 min) *

The Polynesian Panthers are in a new chapter of their lives; now juggling young families and jobs in the capitalist world, working for ‘The Man’. But the revolution waits for no one. This season our young radicals are called to stand up and support their Māori brothers and sisters, as they quest to reclaim their language, culture and the land that was taken from beneath them.

Production Co: Tavake Ltd

Producers: Nicole Horan, Crystal Vaega

Writers: Halaifonua Finau, Tom Hern, Becs Arahanga

Executive Producers: Tom Hern, Halaifonua Finau

* Each of these projects qualified for the additional funding of $800,000 from NZ On Air.