2 Jul 2010

Film Commission hampered by low funding - Ward

9:35 pm on 2 July 2010

Film-maker Vincent Ward says the Film Commission is handicapped by poor funding.

A review of the commission, co-authored by Sir Peter Jackson, has depicted the state funding body as aloof, adversarial and spread too thinly.

While endorsing the commission's existence, the review says that the industry has changed dramatically in the 30 years since it was set up, and that the way it is run needs to change.

Vincent Ward says the commission's focus has been too broad, though the underlying problem is that funding levels are lower in real terms than they were 15 years ago.

The other problem, he says, is that making the commmission the only place to raise finance has created a hierarchy within which there is little room to move.

Closer look at 48-hour entries urged

The review also says the commission should be in constant "talent scout mode", and that staff would find their job half done if they looked at the entries in the 48 Hour Film Festival - the country's largest film-making competition.

Festival director Ant Timpson says it makes sense to support fresh talent but that there will never be enough money for all films to be funded.

Film Commission chairperson Patsy Reddy said on Thursday the organisation had undergone a leadership overhaul in the year since it received heavy criticism from the industry.

Minister intrigued by suggestion

Arts Minister Chris Finlayson, who will now consider the review's recommendations, says he's intrigued by the suggestion that the commission could be made talent-based.

Acknowledging concerns that a lot of the commission's money goes to producers, Mr Finlayson says those involved in actually making films may need more support.