The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) led a delegation of leading New Zealand producers, post-production companies and specialist service providers from throughout New Zealand to Shanghai, Qingdao and Taipei from 15-25 June.
On the first day NZFC and industry representatives attended the launch of NZ Inc's new facility in the heart of Shanghai, Te Kawenga New Zealand Central, an event attended by over 300 key players in the Shanghai-New Zealand relationship.
In partnership with the New Zealand Consulate-General in Shanghai and NZTE, the team were delighted to host over 100 leading Chinese, international and New Zealand filmmakers and executives at our New Zealand Film Reception at this wonderful new venue.
As part of the Shanghai International Film Festival's Belt and Road Film Week, NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan presented on The New Zealand Advantage and participated in a number of panels aimed at strengthening opportunities for collaboration and co-production both with China and the wider region.
Twenty-nine countries including New Zealand celebrated the formation of a new initiative—The Belt and Road Film Festival Alliance—which represents a broad platform for joint projects and cultural exchanges.
The NZFC also participated in The Meg press conference and were delighted by the strong profile afforded this Auckland-shot major feature film production. Filmed on the Hauraki Gulf and at the purpose-built Kumeu Film Studios, The Meg was celebrated as an excellent example of China-NZ-USA collaboration featuring world-leading cast, crew and facilities.
The NZFC delegation also stopped off in Qingdao on their way to Taipei.
Wanda Studios Qingdao CEO, Mr Sun hosted the delegation for a lunch meeting, followed by a visit to Wanda Studios Qingdao, where the epic Chinese feature film trilogy, Fengshen aka Investiture of the Gods is in preproduction ahead of its 18-month shoot due to kick off in August.
The group was extremely fortunate to receive a personal tour of the facilities by the film’s director and producers, where they viewed some of the sets and beautiful artwork being created for this epic trilogy, along with the facility’s water tanks and post-production facilities.
This was followed by a dinner meeting with senior officials from the Qingdao Municipal Foreign Affairs Office and Qingdao Culture, Radio, Television, Press and Publication Bureau. The discussion—led by Annabelle Sheehan and Screen Auckland Manager, Michael Brook—focused on utilising the strong sister city relationship between Auckland and Qingdao as a valuable way to stimulate creative collaboration and business opportunities for both cities, and wider New Zealand.
The team rounded out its time in Qingdao with a highly memorable networking reception hosted by the Fengshen team in the canteen of their production office on the Wanda Studios Qingdao lot.
The NZFC delegation then had a busy but highly productive few days in Taipei.
Friday night was the launch of the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office (NZCIO) in Taipei’s inaugural Matariki Festival. Writer/director, Roseanne Liang introduced My Wedding and Other Secrets to a packed house, followed by a great Q&A session. At the reception that followed, the NZFC and Taipei Film Commission (TFC) launched an annual professional screenwriters exchange, with more information about this in our earlier story.
On Saturday morning the delegation were guests at the Misacepo’ Festival at the Taoyuan County Indigenous Culture Center. This event—held by the Amis people, one of the 16 officially recognised indigenous peoples of Taiwan—was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the strong ties between Māori and Indigenous Taiwanese and featured a performance by Global Haka. Annabelle Sheehan met with the Mayor of Taoyuan and gifted him a taonga on behalf of the NZFC and industry delegation. Annabelle and filmmakers, Briar Grace-Smith and Tammy Davis were also interviewed by New Zealand and Taiwanese media about our efforts to stimulate screen sector collaboration between Māori and Indigenous Taiwanese—check out the accompanying videos to hear what they had to say.
Screenings of Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Born to Dance—with director, Tammy Davis leading an amusing and insightful Q&A—were a success on Saturday evening. Between sessions the team stopped by Real Guts, the wonderful café/movie museum owned by Taiwanese director, Wei Te-Sheng (Cape No.7, Seediq Bale: Warriors of the Rainbow, Kano). After Tammy’s Q&A they took in the vibrant Raohe Night Markets, sampling the wide range of local delights on offer.
Monday was a full day of industry activities, starting with the inaugural Taiwan-New Zealand Industry Summit before a networking lunch and visit to Central Motion Picture Corporation. CMPC was established in 1954 and is Taiwan’s longest running full-service production and post-production facility, where films by many of Taiwan’s leading filmmakers—such as Ang Lee and Hou Hsiao-hsien—were produced.
Most of the delegation flew back to New Zealand on Tuesday with firm plans ahead for collaboration. Many thanks to the Taipei Film Commission, BAMID, the NZCIO and everyone the team met with for making the Taipei visit so enjoyable and informative. The NZFC look forward to seeing official co-production and other joint activity develop between New Zealand and Taiwan over the coming months and years.