New Zealand will get a new, large, film production complex with the opening next month of X3 Studios, near Auckland. Developer, Xytech Studio Management says that the site has been purpose built for large scale ‘build the world’ productions, in which the entirety of a film or show is conducted in a controlled studio environment.
The X3 facility comprises more than 11,725m2 (126,200 sq/ft) of clear span high-stud studio and flexible production space offering configurations of up to four studios. It can also be configured as a mega stage, which Xytech claims will be the largest clear span studio in the Southern Hemisphere.
They are located on a 2.4 hectare site within 30 minutes of central Auckland and some 15 minutes from Auckland airport. Despite the urban proximity, it has easy access to coastal, forest and rural scenic wilderness.
Xytech is a New Zealand-owned technology company that has been in business for more than 24 years. It launched as a theatre and events lighting supply company, and later expanded to service incoming film and television productions.
The development may further boost New Zealand’s popularity as a destination for large-scale international productions, as it may help relieve the congestion in the sector. The country which has locations that range from glacial, to volcanic and semi-tropical, also boasts generous shooting and post-production incentives and has a highly developed effects business.
Boosted by the growth of streaming, other well-developed locations such as the U.K. were also hugely busy prior to the coronavirus hiatus. Many have indicated that they are keen to build new studio facilities to cope.
Before being shut down by anti-coronavirus measures, New Zealand was simultaneously home to ongoing productions that included Disney’s multi-part “Avatar,” Amazon Prime’s “Lord of the Rings” TV series, which is expected to run to seven seasons, and Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog.”
“As the country has become a more popular destination for large scale film and television projects, we’ve almost become a victim of our own success and the lack of local studio infrastructure has been a hindrance to increasing New Zealand’s capacity as a screen production location,” said Stephen Pryor, Xytech owner. “X3 Studios will contribute the growing health of our local screen sector by attracting more of those big international productions, creating hundreds of local jobs and, in turn, giving a boost to the New Zealand economy.”
New Zealand has been largely successful in halting the spread of COVID-19 and now has a clearly defined return to work strategy. This includes a two-part protocol for the safe operation of studio and location shoots.
Producer, Jon Landau announced that shooting on “Avatar” will resume imminently. It is currently using facilities in Wellington and the five-year-old Kumeu Film Studios close to Auckland.