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New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis led a discussion panel with a mix of creatives involved on Sweet Tooth, discussing the benefits of the production to the New Zealand economy and film industry.
A fantasy television series filmed in Aotearoa contributed $66 million to New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP), a new study has found.
A study on the economic impact of the first season of Sweet Tooth, produced by Warner Bros. Television for Netflix and filmed in New Zealand in Auckland, Waikato and Otago, supported 1180 full-time and part-time jobs with New Zealanders making up a large majority of both cast and crew.
The findings were launched with a panel discussion led by actor Cliff Curtisat Parliament on Tuesday evening which explored how international screen productions filmed in New Zealand helped grow the domestic screen sector.
The series, granted $9.6m from New Zealand Screen Production Grant for New Zealand productions as part of a government screen incentives scheme, generated $7 for every $1 invested, according to the report’s findings.
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Curtis, whose wife was personally a big fan of the show, said Sweet Tooth was just one example of what the film industry offered – adding Canada produced up to 50 productions a year.
New Zealand, in particular, was “respected globally” and seen as an industry leader. The relationship between international and domestic production was “symbiotic”, he said.
“We work abroad and that helps resource us to be able to tell our own stories. It’s essential we have international productions so that we can grow our talent, grow our capacity and capability.”
Commissioned by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Australia-New Zealand Screen Association (ANZSA), the study conducted by Oxford Economics, analysed the production’s total economic impacts in New Zealand in 2020 when the majority of the first season was filmed.
Sweet Tooth begins streaming on Netflix on June 4.
As part of the production, more than $25 million was spent on local goods and services, supporting more than 950 New Zealand businesses. Another $21m went towards wages and salaries for local production crew and associated labour.
Paul Muller, chief executive of ANZSA, said the study had found the production helped put money in the hands of New Zealand screen workers as well as creating opportunities for small businesses throughout the country.
“This is a great case study to underscore how film and television productions act as a powerful economic driver,” he said.
He said New Zealand had “world-class” crews, scouting locations and great infrastructure which made it an attractive destination.
The Government is reviewing the Screen Production Grant, a move that has been concerning for the industry here.
Asked if he was concerned about the review, Muller said it was an “opportunity” adding the report highlighted the potential benefit such schemes brought to New Zealand’s economy.
“Investing in the [Screen Production Grant] is good for New Zealand,” he said. “Every dollar we get the back is $7 worth of economic activity.
“These type of reports consistently show strong benefits and this is one of the reasons, so many governments are having these kinds of rebate programmes and incentive programmes.”