New Zealand Film: Online Resources
The Jackson Effect: The Late 1990's to 2005
by Geoff Lealand. Summary by Jakki Galloway
Peter Jackson during filming for The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
In 1994 Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger expanded their company RT Effects to service the local and international industry's special effects requirements. They named their new company Weta.
Peter Jackson had graduated from making no budget films like Braindead to the overseas funded The Frighteners. In 1999 he bought from TVNZ what had originally been the National Film Unit and built Park Road Post.
Peter Jackson has since become New Zealand’s most famous filmmaker with the success of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. His success has encouraged international investment in New Zealand film making, and the development of a New Zealand based infra-structure which services offshore and local film. Peter Jackson gave the industry a measure of job creation and work stability.
His success lead to the training of skilled technicians and actors, and to world class post production facilities. However in many ways while Jackson is a New Zealander and his films are made here, he is not a ‘New Zealand filmmaker’. His films are made for global audiences, his leading actors are not local, his subject matter is not local (except for Heavenly Creatures), and his themes are universal.
ACTIVITY 28. Create a collage of New Zealand showing how you think other countries see us.
ACTIVITY 30. Analyse Sir Peter Jackson’s success.
All of this lead to ‘Runaway Productions’ from overseas film companies. ‘Runaway Productions’ are film projects that aren’t made in the traditional centres like LA, New York, Mumbai or London. Because the New Zealand Film Industry is non-unionised and has a proven workforce (who overseas companies don’t have to pay as much), film friendly politically (including tax incentives) an friendly exchange rate, and its politically safe with diverse locations and sophisticated post production facilities.
These productions have included: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Redhead, The Last Samurai, and The Chronicles of Narnia (directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson).