Two NZ TV Drama Series Greenlit

Two new drama series and a four-part documentary will be funded through a $50 million screen industry initiative.

Here’s the media release:

A documentary series about the disappearance of six people in a small surf town and the true story of a 70-year-old diesel mechanic who cracked a drug operation are just two of four incredible projects that will share in over $11.5m of funding being offered through the Te Puna Kairangi Premium Fund.

The $50m 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.

The remaining two projects are a feature film about a talented surgeon’s missteps, and a drama series about the disappearance of an Irish couple in a Taranaki town.

All applications are assessed by a panel which has members from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga (New Zealand Film Commission), Irirangi Te Motu (NZ On Air) and Te Māngai Pāho and independent Chair Christina Milligan.

Applications are assessed against the five key objectives of the fund which are: to boost economic growth, increase employment, create cultural benefit, respond to COVID-19 with speed to market and develop skills and capability.

Across the four projects there is an anticipated collective spend of over $31.5 million in a range of locations around the country, with an estimated spend on local jobs during production of over $16.5 million. International investment in these projects is over $9 million.

“The strength of applications for the fund has continued to grow, from what was already an exceptional first round,” said Christina Milligan, Independent Chair of the decision-making panel. “The slate of projects announced today are New Zealand stories, high quality premium content, from exceptional teams. I am particularly delighted to have two female-led production teams, with women in key producing and directing positions across all four projects. The projects’ international reach is demonstrated by the calibre of the international partners attached. They are finance and production ready.  All start pre-production from January and start shooting between March and May 2022.”

“This round, and the projects announced today, demonstrate the continuing benefits of the Premium Production Fund partnership,” said NZFC CEO David Strong. “The number of high-quality applications made this a particularly challenging round to assess. I would like to commend the partnership of the three agencies, the Panel and the Heads of the Fund for their mahi throughout the difficult decision-making process.”

Kaihautū o Te Māngai Pāho Larry Parr said “We are delighted to see Māori storytelling and kaupapa Māori content in this funding round. We are also pleased to see Māori in key leadership roles in this slate. It is important that we continue to grow the opportunities for this fund to showcase Māori language and culture.”

NZ On Air Chief Executive Cameron Harland said this round delivers exceptional outcomes for Aotearoa television drama and is a step change for screen content makers. “These are uniquely New Zealand stories, being told with ambition and scale for the local and international market. Given the strength of the slate and a desire to see two premium dramas and a high end factual series hit New Zealand screens, NZ On Air has invested a top up of $463,325 in this round.”

Premium Funds allocated to the Interim projects totals $11,299,814 (22.6% of total Fund), leaving $20 million available for the Final Round in 2022. Additionally, NZ On Air has approved $463,325 to be added to the Premium Fund to trigger funding for at least two series drama projects (with free-to-air broadcasters) across the Interim slate. The total production investment for this round is therefore $11,763,139.

Conditional offers have been made to:

Far North (Drama Series, 6 x 45 min)
Half a billion dollars’ worth of meth. A broken boat with its crew starving to death. One comically inept gang. Two salt of the earth amateur detectives. This is a true story.  This is Far North.
Production Co: South Pacific Pictures and White Balance Pictures
Producers: Kelly Martin, Chris Bailey, David White
Writers: David White, Mingjian Cui, Suli Moa
Director: David White

Black Coast Vanishings (Documentary Series, 4 x 44 min)
A true-crime mystery series about the disappearance of six people in a small surf town that has divided the locals and given rise to fear and suspicion.
Production Co: Augusto
Producers:  Cass Avery, Nicola Smith
Writer/Directors: Megan Jones, Candida Beveridge

A Mistake (Feature Film)
A talented surgeon’s missteps, seen from conflicting viewpoints, appear increasingly disastrous.
Production Co: General Film Corporation
Producers: Matthew Metcalfe, Christine Jeffs
Writer/Director: Christine Jeffs

The Gone (Drama Series, 6 x 60 min)
​When a young Irish couple vanishes from an infamous rural North Island town, Irish detective Theo Richter teams with Kiwi cop Diana Henare to find them. Amidst the search they have to contend with civil unrest, a duplicitous corporation, and their own personal demons.
Co-production: Kingfisher Films (NZ), Blinder Films (IRE) with Southern Light Films and m3media
Producers: Karl Zohrab, Mina Mathieson, Timothy White, Katie Holly, Yvonne Donohoe, Greg Bailey
Writers: Michael Bennett, Anna McPartlin, Simone Nathan
Directors: Pete Burger (Block 1)

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