×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Shannara Chronicles’ and More Take Advantage of New Zealand’s Tax Incentives

The big winners of a recent change to New Zealand production incentives will be local physical effects companies, as specialist props and models become qualifying spend for the first time.

“For international, the key change was dropping the PDV (post, digital and visual effects) threshold down to $500,000” from $1 million, says Catherine Bates, head of incentives at Film New Zealand. The Kiwis revamped the New Zealand Screen Production Grant — a 20% straight cash rebate — in April 2014, with a planned review to follow this year.

“For us, the incentive and the exchange rate — which improved since we began production — obviously made NZ very attractive,” says Al Gough, exec producer of MTV’s “The Shannara Chronicles.”

But a recent surge in the New Zealand dollar, which bounced back from a six-month low in August to rise nearly 6% in the past month, has made the incentive less attractive.

“For us, the incentive and the exchange rate obviously made NZ very attractive.”
Al Gough

Currency fluctuations are not the only cloud over the coin in recent years. Papers released to the Cabinet in 2013 suggested that Hollywood productions actually cost the country money.

That same year opposition parties tried to use Hollywood’s perceived sway over the John Key government for political gain. But Key was comfortably returned to power in 2014.

“Shannara’s” showrunners, Gough and Miles Millar, found compromise in an initial lack of flexibility over labor hours, a cultural difference where New Zealand has shorter working days than the U.S.

“We ended up adding a week to our schedule,” Miller says. “But that was the one drawback (to working in New Zealand). We got everything we needed.”

Bates also points to the 5% uplift. In addition to the 20% rebate, the extra coin from the uplift is for companies that are willing to go beyond just shooting in the country.

“The screen industry can have impacts in other areas, for example tourism, education and innovation,” Bates says.

More TV

  • BBC Studios, ZDF Form Development and

    BBC Studios, ZDF Form Development and Co-Production Partnership

    BBC Studios and German pubcaster ZDF have formed a strategic partnership to develop and co-produce “world-class content,” the two companies announced Thursday. The new long-term partnership will bring BBC Studios, the British pubcaster’s commercial arm, and ZDF together to co-develop scripted TV series, such as “The Mallorca Files,” created by Dan Sefton. Both companies will [...]

  • Nat Geo to Air Jeremy Irons-Narrated

    Nat Geo to Air Jeremy Irons-Narrated 'History of the Emirates' Series Globally (EXCLUSIVE)

    National Geographic has taken the bulk of global rights to documentary series “History of the Emirates,” narrated by Jeremy Irons and co-produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi together with British factual production outfit Atlantic Productions. The series profiles the United Arab Emirates’ ancient history, going back 125,000 years and culminating in the country’s union in [...]

  • View Conference Opens Registration for 2019

    2019 View Conference Opens Registration, Calls for Short Film Competition Entries

    Registration is now open for the 2019 edition of the View Conference in Turin, Italy. No speakers have been announced yet, but past conferences have featured some of the world’s top creative talents in visual effects, animation, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Last year’s edition featured composer Hans Zimmer, Paramount Animation topper [...]

  • The Gifted Rel Canceled

    Fox Cancels Marvel Drama 'The Gifted,' Comedy 'Rel'

    Fox has canceled the Marvel drama “The Gifted” after two seasons and Lil Rel Howery comedy “Rel” after one season, Variety has learned. “Gifted” was set in the Marvel “X-Men” universe and followed a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the sudden discovery that their teenage children possess mutant powers. Forced to go on [...]

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway

    TV News Roundup: CW Sets Summer Premiere Dates, Announces Six New Series

    In today’s roundup, the CW announces five returning and six new series for its summer slate.  DATES “Queen of the South” will return to USA Network for its fourth season June 6 at 10/9c. Alice Braga plays the show’s lead, a woman seeking refuge in the United State after fleeing from a Mexican drug cartel. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content