Lower Budget Feature Films

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This investment doorway is for filmmaking teams planning a project under half a million dollars.

International trends have created a very competitive marketplace but creatively strong films with a lower budget can still make their mark. We are looking for projects with the ambition to break boundaries, as demonstrated by the likes of Tiny FurnitureFinding Vivian Maier, and Paranormal Activity.

At a glance

If you have a lower-budget project with a strong script and a clear target audience that we think is likely to secure the interest of an international market partner, we will broker an introduction.  And if they come on board, we will match their funding, up to a maximum of $250,000

  • Who can apply: Both experienced and emerging filmmakers. You must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  •  Level of funding: Up to $250,000 from the NZFC, if matched by an international market partner
  •  Type of funding: Equity
  • Application deadline: Applications are considered at our Board meetings. Dates for submitting applications are listed below. The deadline is 9am on the due date.

What’s involved

This doorway is not about making a bigger budget film for less money or cutting corners at the expense of cast, crew and industry partners. It is about encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship and building relationships for filmmakers. We need a proposal showing how you will shoot and complete your film for the budget. Deferrals because of low pay are discouraged.

You will be making a Production Financing application using the Production Financing Guidelines and application coversheet and checklist but talk to us first, because you won’t need to provide as much detail in some areas. It is in your interest to read the NZFC Terms of Trade prior to making an application. Email our Production Executive [email protected] or phone 0800 659 754.

The process

Applications will be assessed by NZFC staff, with decisions made by the Board at their regular meetings (five times a year).

Targeted audience appeal is a crucial factor. We expect a well-developed connection plan for the New Zealand audience and we will assist with introductions and suggestions.

After applications are assessed, you will receive either a “no” or a “maybe” response. The maybes will then begin a market engagement process through the NZFC. The outcome of this process will determine if and when your film goes into production.


If your application is successful, an experienced executive producer/s (jointly agreed by you, the market partner, and the NZFC) will be attached.

Further project development may be required prior to production.

Our investment is discretionary and our decisions are final.  The criteria we apply may change from time to time but our decisions will be consistent with the NZFC Act 1978.


Please use the Feature Film Production Financing Application Coversheet and Checklist.

Your completed application should be sent to [email protected].

Contact us

For more information contact our Production Executive by email production@nzfilm.co.nz or phone 0800 659 754.