New Zealand’s Scenery and Visual Effects Wizardry Pull in High-End Film Production

Breathtaking landscapes have long made New Zealand is a prime filming location. Where else, after all, can one find alpine glaciers side by side with subtropical seacoasts? Plus, the country’s highly developed visual effects infrastructure – think Weta Digital and the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, as well as the soon-to-be-released “War for the Planet of the Apes”  – has turned the small nation into a world power of high-end filmmaking.

Combine that with a baseline cash grant of 20% on qualified expenditures and many filmmakers find an irresistible lure. For example, James Cameron has moved his family to New Zealand and is producing his “Avatar” sequels there.

The cash grant of 20%is available for qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditures.

A 20% cash grant is also offered on the first 25 million New Zealand dollars, or $18 million in U.S. currency, spent for post-production, digital work and visual effects in New Zealand. The grant falls to 18% once that expenditure threshold is reached.

The minimum spend required for feature films is 15 million New Zealand dollars, or $10.8 million in U.S. currency. For television and other non-feature-film projects, the amount is 4 million New Zealand dollars, or $2.9 million in U.S. currency. And for post-production, digital work and visual effects, the minimum spend required is 500,000 New Zealand dollars, of $360,000 in U.S. currency.

There’s also a potential uplift of an extra 5% for projects that provide significant additional economic benefit to New Zealand

Recent projects shooting or shot in New Zealand include “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018), “Ghost in the Shell” (2017), “Pete’s Dragon” (2016), “The Shannara Chronicles’ (a TV Series that began in 2016), “Krampus” (2015) and “ The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” (2015).

20% Cash grant on qualifying New Zealand production expenditures
5% Uplift for projects providing additional economic benefit to New Zealand
Information courtesy of EP Financial Solutions, a production incentive consulting and financial services company.

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