At the March 2017 Board meeting, the Board approved changes to several NZFC funds.
The Feature Film Finishing Grant (FFFG) is offered to films made independently of the NZFC or any other Government funding that need help getting through post-production in order to screen theatrically. The maximum that can be applied for has been increased to $50,000 and there have been some changes to what the funds may be used for as well as some changes to the criteria a film will need to meet to access the grant.
There are changes in the Development and Production area as well.
After throrough assessment and consultation, we have come to the conclusion too much resource is being spent on Early Development, and not enough attention is being given to productions at the mid-development stage.
To address this, assessment of EDF will be outsourced to external assessors. Two assessors will read and report on each application. A committee of development staff will then read the reports and make final decisions.
To increase support of projects in mid-development, an Investment Executive role will be introduced to assess projects for creative, finance and market potential, and advise on appropriate budget levels, potential market attachments and distribution pathways to enhance the pipeline of projects moving forward into production.
Another new role, Devolved Development Coordinator, will be established to more closely track mid-range projects in devolved schemes like Seed, BDS, He Ara and Boost.
The cap for documentary development will be increased from $10,000 to $20,000 to align it more closely to the early development funding available to narrative features, and better address the development needs of documentary projects.
We have also decided to reduce the interest rate charged on new NZFC development loans. Effective immediately, we are introducing a flat 5% interest rate for new loans (rather than interest of 5% per annum, moving to a 10% premium) to better reflect the current financial environment.
For approximately five years, the most a producer has been able to apply for as discretionary film equity has been $2 million. To assist more films move into production, the cap for production investment has now been raised to $2.5 million.
A 'top-up' fund of up to $500,000 has been established for films with budgets over $7 million. This fund will have specific criteria, especially around a film's audience, New Zealand content and cultural value.
Detailed information about these changes and new funding guidelines will be available on our website soon.