Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga - New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has welcomed the Government’s $121 million support package for the arts sector announced this morning.
Included in the package is a further $15 million for the Screen Production Recovery Fund to help those productions affected by the restrictions introduced in January 2022 to slow the spread of COVID-19. There is also an additional $35.5 million in direct support for individuals and organisations most affected by the pandemic restrictions introduced last month.
“This relief is timely and very welcomed by those within the screen sector who continue to be impacted by this on-going pandemic,” said David Strong, NZFC Chief Executive.
The $15 million boost to the Screen Production Fund will ensure the extension of the fund through to 31 December 2022, and will help maximise production activity and minimise the impacts of any COVID-19 outbreaks. $7.9 million of the funding will be allocated to New Zealand Film Commission and $7.1 million allocated to New Zealand on Air.
“This support will go a long way to minimising the impacts of COVID-19 and give some stability to the industry,” said Strong. “Film productions run to tight schedules, with highly trained crew. Having this extra support will go a long way in providing confidence to the filmmakers their productions can continue.”
Strong added the NZFC had worked closely with the Ministry providing information and assisting in communicating the sector’s concerns.
Executive Director of the Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) Sandy Gildea has also welcomed the announcement. “With an uncertain few months ahead it is good to know funds are available, giving domestic production companies, and international financiers, confidence the support is there should it be needed.”
Under the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund the limit on funding for individual organisations has been increased from $100,000 to $300,000 and a one-off grant of $5,000 will be available to eligible self-employed individuals / sole traders in the arts and cultural sector who have lost income or opportunities due to January’s restrictions.
There will be a targeted engagement with sector representatives to finalise the details of the expanded Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund within the next week. A particular focus of this engagement will be around ensuring the scheme can work for sole traders and individuals. The Fund will open in three weeks.
Details of the package are now live on the Manatū Taonga I Ministry for Culture & Heritage website www.mch.govt.nz
About the Screen Production Recovery Fund:
The Screen Production Recovery Fund of $23.4 million was part of the Government’s Screen Recovery package and was introduced to minimise the cost on the screen sector of future lockdowns and other COVID-related events that might have shut down, delayed or constrained screen productions. The New Zealand Film Commission received $13.4 million and New Zealand on Air received $10 million.
The Screen Recovery package has enabled domestic productions to access private finance and maintain production during the pandemic and provides surety for financiers that productions will not fall over due to government restrictions.