Screen sector gets $50 million boost to tell New Zealand’s stories globally

Arts, Culture and Heritage

The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Carmel Sepuloni today launched the Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, making $50 million available in a unique opportunity for the screen sector to tell New Zealand’s stories to a global audience.

Speaking at the Big Screen Symposium in Auckland, the first major gathering of the screen sector this year, Carmel Sepuloni said the fund will allow for New Zealand’s stories to be told to international audiences at a scale not previously possible.

“New Zealand’s successful response to COVID-19 puts us in an enviable position for film making. We have a golden opportunity to capitalise on the worldwide demand for content and our current production advantage.

“New Zealand is widely regarded as one of the world’s premier locations for screen production, and our film and television makers are renowned throughout the world for their ingenuity. We’ve designed this fund to give high quality productions the flexibility and support to take a step towards bigger, bolder and more ambitious projects, as they showcase Aotearoa’s stories and culture to the world.

“We’re looking for productions that will strengthen international investment, grow jobs for New Zealanders and improve skills and capability. Preference will be given to those proposals with the highest cultural benefit to Aotearoa and support for Māori cultural aspirations.

“The screen industry is of huge importance to New Zealand – it’s positive cultural, social and economic impacts cut across sectors and communities. It contributes around $3.3 billion to GDP, and employs 16,200 people, as well as indirectly supporting technical production, hospitality and venues.”

Carmel Sepuloni adds that the fund is providing a balance between investment in productions ready to go to support COVID-19 recovery and longer-term projects through two separate funding rounds.

The fund guidelines and eligibility criteria for the first round will be made available by the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho in December.

Editor’s notes:

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme

This fund is part of a suite of initiatives in the Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme announced in May 2020, and is delivered by the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho.

Reallocated from the New Zealand Screen Production Grant – International, this fund makes up the $73.4 million screen recovery package announced in July 2020. The remaining $23.4 million in this package is the Screen Production Recovery Fund which has already supported 41 screen productions resume work after being shut down, delayed or impacted by COVID-19 this year.

Further information about the programme

The Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme includes a mix of initiatives delivering short-term relief against the impacts of COVID-19 to the arts and cultural sector, as well as offering longer-term support for up to four years.

Collectively these initiatives will safeguard jobs and create new opportunities, promote innovation and enhance people’s access to cultural experiences when we need them most.

In this year’s budget, the Government invested $374 million in the programme to help the sector survive, adapt and thrive.

For more information on the programme visit