Taichung engaged in its first official exchange with Film Auckland! In promoting Taichung's film and television industry, Information Bureau Director-General Huang-sheng Wu and other delegates traveled to New Zealand to meet with Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) and Kumeu Film Studios today (26th). Screen Auckland Manager Michael Brook has expressed a high-level interest in collaborating with Taichung, hoping export seasoned producer talents to Taiwan. Director-General Wu expressed that this is coherent with the city hall's policy, and he is very optimistic about the future prospect, stating that Taiwan holds an advantage in the Chinese-speaking regions while New Zealand's strengths lie in Europe and America. Furthermore, Taichung has a world-class wave pool, so he hopes the official organizations will continue to facilitate the signing of strategic alliance agreements between film studios in Taichung and Auckland in order to lay a sound foundation for future collaborations.
A total of 7 people including Information Bureau Director-General Wu, his staff, Central Motion Picture Corporation Business Development Department producer Yun Chiu, and CMPC Film Academy Planning Director Hsin-i Ku traveled to ATEED. They were personally welcomed by Screen Auckland Manager Michael Brook, where both parties discussed specifics pertaining to New Zealand film talents from North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence visiting Taichung to exchange experiences.
Auckland Council International Relations Manager Kimberley Wu, New Zealand Film Commission Asia Outreach Executive Raymond Suen, North Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence Project Manager Laura Bunting, and Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Auckland Secretary Yen-kuan Chang also attended the meeting.
According to Director-General Wu, Taiwan is the friendliest nation in the world offering the highest degree of filming freedom while New Zealand is home to prominent PDV talents. Taichung offers high-quality filming software and hardware; particularly, Central Taiwan Film Studio has one of the very few wave pools in the world capable of generating massive waves, and it also has sufficient film production potential. By expanding international investments, the aim of this visit is to facilitate film studios from both cities to forge a strategic partnership and sign an MOU in order to attract more international film crews to come to Taichung.
With over 3 decades of experience in film production, ATEED Screen Auckland Manager, Michael Brook commented that he was impressed with the development of film industry in Taichung when he visited the city, and he has expressed a high level of interest in bilateral cooperation. Taichung City Hall and Auckland Council have reached a consensus to dispatch 2 seasoned production and operations talents to Taichung in order to facilitate further exchanges between the 2 cities.
Director-General Wu responded with optimism, proposing that Auckland can also send professional talents in the field of waterscape filming and PDV from Auckland to Taichung, and the city hall will make the necessary arrangements with Central Motion Picture Corporation. Auckland Council and New Zealand Film Commission both supported the proposal and hoped that the 2 cities will sign an MOU. This is especially relevant since Taiwan holds an advantage in the Chinese-speaking regions while New Zealand's strengths lie in Europe and America, therefore the objective is to consolidate both parties' resources in an effort to facilitate film industry collaborations between Taichung and New Zealand.
Lastly, both parties reached a consensus on 2 major issues: firstly, New Zealand Film Commission will send at least 2 professional talents in the field of film production and waterscape filming to Taichung in February next year; secondly, Taichung City Hall and Auckland Council will strive to facilitate the signing of MOU between Central Motion Picture Corporation and major film studios in Auckland, New Zealand in their official capacity. The ultimate aim is to forge a strategic alliance that will take Taichung's international film and television industry to reach a brand new milestone!
In addition, Director-General Wu also visited Kumeu Film Studios on the same day. Although the studio was in the process of filming and was not open to the public, they nonetheless paused filming for one hour to welcome delegates from the Information Bureau, demonstrating the studio's commitment and dedication in furthering film industry exchanges between the 2 countries.
The Information Bureau elaborated that Kumeu Film Studios it the newest film studio in New Zealand featuring 2 film water tanks (1 deepwater tank and one outdoor water tank), 2 studios and sets. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, The Meg, a US-China sci-fi co-production in 2018 starring Jason Statham and Li Bingbing, was also filmed here.
Director-General Wu observed the conditions, operating models, and international co-production experiences of Kumeu Film Studios in order to use them as a reference for future developments of Central Taiwan Film Studio, hoping to facilitate cooperation between the 2 major film studios.
The Information Bureau explained that New Zealand has a very film crew-friendly policy, as long as the film is produced in New Zealand or in collaboration with New Zealand, the government will subsidize 40% of the filming budget carried out in New Zealand territory. With the exception of special circumstances, the maximum filming subsidy is NZD 6 million (approximately NT$ 126 million).
Films with domestic spending of over NZD 15 million (approximately NT$ 315 million) and qualify for production with special circumstances are entitled to an additional 40% subsidy. The maximum filming subsidy is NZD 14 million (approximately NT$ 294 million). In regards to international co-productions, the government will subsidize 20% of the film crew's expenses in New Zealand. As far as Post, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) is concerned, the government offers exclusive subsidy up to NZD 25 million (approximately NT$525 million); upon receiving 20% subsidy, they may also apply for an additional subsidy (up to 18%).
During this visit, the Information Bureau not only acquired a deeper understanding of New Zealand's film-related subsidy policy that can be used as a reference for improving and promoting Taichung's subsidies, but it will also strive to create a friendlier filming environment. In particular, the Central Taiwan Film Studio in Wufeng has already begun operation, and the Central Taiwan Cinema Center will also be inaugurated next year, expected to attract more major international film crews to come to Taichung!