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Wellington’s diverse screen industry reels in the dollars

31 Jul 2018

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s new What We Do in the Shadows television spinoff is one of the productions behind a 25 per cent increase in filming permits issued in the Wellington region over the past year.

WP Generic Publicity Pic 12 Jemaine

Wellington Paranormal was one of 515 permits issued, up from 398 in the year to June 2017. Worth an estimated $93.2 million to the regional economy, the 515 permits comprised of 223 different productions including 13 TV series, 51 short films, 33 commercials, 21 documentaries, two feature films, one TV docu-drama and 102 other projects including music videos, corporate videos, travel shows and web series.

Lance Walker, WREDA CEO, says Wellington has built a strong reputation as a film friendly region.

“Wellington is well-known for Hollywood blockbusters, but our record high number of permits across a range of productions shows the increasing diversity in Wellington’s screen sector. An example of this is in the return of TV to the region, which is fantastic to see, as well as the investment creative talent like Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement are making in the sector,” says Lance.

“Our screen industry is a key part of Wellington’s economy, and the growth we’re seeing means great economic benefits to the region as well as the attraction of world-class talent and visitors.”

Companies from 2degrees to Play Station filmed commercials in Greater Wellington over the last year, as well as filming for New Zealand’s first musical film, Daffodils.

WREDA’s Screen Sector Development Manager Katie Frost says permit approvals can take as little as half a day for a simple request, and up to eight months for a complex request with tricky logistics, such as road closures in the Wellington CBD.

“The accessibility of our locations and the compact nature of the city are certainly two reasons for the popularity in filming here,” says Katie.

Wellington Paranormal producer and writer Paul Yates says Wellington was the only place they wanted to film the show, which is why they called it Wellington Paranormal.

“Jemaine, Taika and I love this city and we wanted to celebrate its streets, its people, its cops and its weird paranormal creatures. Filming in the capital was an absolute joy and the people at Wellington Regional Council and Screen Wellington were a massive help,” says Paul.

The Wellington region was recently named the most creative in New Zealand according to the latest Infometrics Creativity Index.