Issue date: 
Friday, 7 May 2021

Five successful screen projects have been selected in the first round of the $50 million Te Puna Kairangi Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund.

Te Puna Kairangi Premium Fund supports the Aotearoa New Zealand production sector recovery from COVID-19 by supporting high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences. Applications were assessed against the five Key Objectives of the fund as developed with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment which are: to boost economic growth, increase employment, create cultural benefit and respond to COVID-19 with speed to market and develop skills and capability.

“The field of applications for this first round was incredibly strong,” said Christina Milligan, Independent Chair of the decision-making panel. “The level of experience, talent and expertise across the submitted projects was outstanding, and made the selection process extremely challenging for all.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to tell Aotearoa’s stories to international and local audiences at a time when there is huge global demand for content, and boost the screen sector’s post-COVID recovery,” said NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan. “I would like to commend the partnership of the three agencies, the Panel and the Heads of Fund for their mahi throughout the difficult decision-making process.”

Kaihautū Te Māngai Pāho, TMP CEO Larry Parr agrees that Te Puna Kairangi is a successful collaboration, “The significant support the Panel had allocated two Māori-led projects must be applauded.”

“The projects selected represent a beautifully broad array of ideas, that will engage both local and international audiences, and include two feature films, high-end factual and drama series, and an acclaimed children’s series,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland.

 Across the five projects there is an anticipated collective spend of almost $56 million in a range of locations around the country, with an estimated spend on local jobs during production of over $32 million. International investment in these projects is over $19 million.

Funding of $21 million across five applications was approved by the independent funding panel. The Panel has members from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga (New Zealand Film Commission), Irirangi Te Motu(NZ On Air) and Te Māngai Pāho lead by Independent Chair, Christina Milligan.

 Conditional offers have been made to:

Better the Blood (Drama Series, 6 x 60 min)     

When tenacious Māori cop Hana discovers a series of killings are retribution for a centuries-old crime, she must stop the killer before he comes after her family. But will the hunt to find him mean losing her faith in justice?

Produced by Carthew Neal, Morgan Waru, Taika Waititi, Michael Bennett, Jane Holland.
Directed / Written by Michael Bennett. 

Mystic Series 2 & 3 (Drama Series 2 x 8 x 30 min)                                                   

Set in the fictional town of Kauri Point, MYSTIC is a contemporary adventure series with environmental themes, following a group of complex young characters whose friendship revolves around horse riding. 

Executive Produced by Richard Fletcher, Simon Crawford-Collins, Produced by David Stubbs, Directed by Aidee Walker, Caroline Bell-Booth, Laurence Wilson, Written by Amy Shindler, Beth Chalmers, Hamish Bennett, Martha Hardy-Ward, Sam Shore, Briar Grace-Smith 

The Guinea Pig Club (Feature Film)

When maverick Kiwi surgeon Archie McIndoe defies the British establishment with his radical plastic surgery methods aimed at healing the horribly burned bodies and – most importantly – the tortured souls of heroic fighter pilots shot down in WW2, he risks his career, reputation, and marriage. In the process he teaches an entire town to give these broken men a will to live and hope for the future. 

Produced by Tim Sanders, Directed by Roger Donaldson, Written by Mike Riddell.

Our Big Blue Backyard Series 3 (Documentary Series, 6 x 60min)                               

Our Big Blue Backyard dives deep into six of New Zealand’s spectacular and diverse marine environments to reveal the drama and surprising challenges in the lives of the charismatic wildlife characters who live there. 

Produced by Judith Curran, Kina Scollay, Directed / Written by Judith Curran, Bill Kerton, Laura Evers-Swindell.

The Convert (Feature Film)

Munro, a soldier turned lay preacher comes to New Zealand to minister to the first colonisers but he is converted by the powerful chief Maianui to serve a different purpose.

Produced by Te Kohe Tuhaka, Robin Scholes, Bradford Joseph Te Apatu-o-te-rangi Maaka Haami (EP), Troy Lum, Andrew Mason Directed by Lee Tamahori Screenplay by Shane Danielsen with additional writing by Lee Tamahori, Bradford Joseph Te Apatu-o-te-rangi Maaka Haami. Based on a Screen Story by Michael Bennett. Pūmatanga Māori -Tātai Waitara Māori Bradford Joseph Te Apatu-o-te-rangi Maaka Haami, Ngamaru Raerino.

Last updated: 
Friday, 7 May 2021