Chicago-based MPI Media Group and the New Zealand Film Commission have partnered to finance and produce a slate of films for New Zealand’s ‘Lower Budget Feature Films’ program.

The goal is to create distinctive, cinematic films at a budget between NZ$250,000 and NZ$500,000 (US$200,000 – $400,000) and to increase the number of opportunities for film makers.

Feature-length films of any genre, including documentaries are eligible for the program, which launches in January. Successful films are expected to have a strong script and a clearly targeted audience.

The two will co-finance the slate. MPI, which has sales and North American releasing capacity through its MPI and Dark Sky Films labels, will handle international sales.

“This partnership will allow our filmmakers to make films with input from an experienced international company, who have real skin in the game. It will also increase the number of New Zealand feature films produced each year and, create opportunities for the next generation of talent both behind and in front of the camera,” said Dave Gibson, NZFC CEO.