Film Bay of Plenty

Film crew shoot footage in front of green screen

With enchanting forests, pristine lakes, golden beaches, and geothermal wonderlands, the Bay of Plenty has every backdrop you could possibly imagine.

Being such a diverse region, offering an incredible variety of environments, the Bay of Plenty is a gem that should be highlighted on the world-stage as a go-to destination for film production.

Ensuring the region gets its time in the spotlight is Film Bay of Plenty. Promoting the Bay to the international and national screen media industry, Film Bay of Plenty hope to grow the local industry and capitalise on our existing assets; encouraging the economic, social and cultural benefits that it will bring the region.

Film BOP Brings Business to the Bay

Established in 2016, Film Bay of Plenty is growing an industry that has not yet been truly developed or capitalised on in our region.  They are tasked with connecting both local and international productions of scale to our region’s locations, crew and infrastructure, as well as growing the skill base of local crew and encouraging the creation of local stories onscreen.

Whether hosting international television producers, facilitating productions by suggesting locations and connecting with accommodation, logistics and crew, or running events like the 48 Hour Film Festival or the International Youth Silent Film Festival, the not-for-profit trust wears many hats.

“We’re such a wide-ranging organisation—we’re targeting really large players but at the same time facilitating all the grassroots stuff. Before, there was really nobody advocating for the region on a national stage. Now, the Bay of Plenty is truly making its mark in the industry” says Film Bay of Plenty CEO Anton Steel.

Anton says the screen media industry in New Zealand is about to go through an unprecedented season of growth.

“There’s going to be a lot of work, but there is a skill shortage at the moment. Our goal for Tauranga would be to bring some projects here. There’s a strong grassroots group of filmmakers here that haven’t necessarily had big-scale production experience.

“I’d love to see a returning TV show or feature film produced here; it would give people the opportunity to work their way up from the bottom and have a regular wage year-to-year. The wonderful thing about working on large jobs is the skills transfer. If you’re a budding director or writer, working beside people at the top of their game, it’s such an invaluable way to learn.”

This year alone, Film Bay of Plenty have supported the development of multiple local film productions, referred 55 local film crew to Bay of Plenty productions, facilitated the production of four short films including Frankie Jean and the Morning Star which shot in Maketu and Te Puke, one feature film and two web series, developed relationships with a raft of national and international producers/directors and multiple industry familiarisation visits including executives from Netflix, HBO, Universal and Writer/Producer Jenji Kohan the creator of the most streamed TV show of all time Orange is the New Black. 

Looking through viewfinder of camera

Filming Potential in Western Bay of Plenty

Anton says there is huge potential for filming in the Western Bay.

“I’ve long been an advocate for using kiwi packhouses out of season for filming, so we are definitely looking at using them for an upcoming TV show in spring 2020”.

“I also see TECT All Terrain Park as an amazing potential location; particularly for shooting road scenes for movies. It also has fantastic bush and pine forest that is relatively easy for permitting. It’s very attractive for producers.”

Film Bay of Plenty are currently looking to help establish film studios in Rotorua. While this large-scale build is a few years away from completion, beforehand they also hope to establish a smaller scale studio and production hub here in the Western Bay and are currently investigating options to make this happen.

TECT has supported Film Bay of Plenty since 2017, with funding going towards operational costs. This year, with $40,000 in TECT funding approved, Anton says they can continue to build on their momentum.

“TECT’s ongoing support has enabled us to grow in so many ways; we’re building relationships with key players in the industry, we’re facilitating increased productions in the region and we’re continually upskilling local filmmakers. We really value their support in helping not only our vision to happen, but also to help realise the visions of the talented filmmakers from across the region too.

“There is so much potential in the Western Bay and the greater Bay of Plenty region, both in our talent and incredible variety of environments. We’re excited to continue on this journey alongside TECT and other local funders, building our capability and showcasing all we have to offer to the rest of New Zealand and the world.”

To learn more about Film Bay of Plenty, visit https://filmbayofplenty.com/.


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