By PHILIP CHANDLER
As Queenstown’s tourism economy implodes, the resort’s about to hugely benefit from two TV shoots.
Underway this week is New Zealand romantic comedy Under The Vines, while the second
series of crime thriller One Lane Bridge starts next week.
The latter’s being filmed locally and the former more in Central Otago, but both are relying mostly on Queenstown crew and equipment, extras and other services.
An industry insider says dramas shot here typically spend half their production budget locally.
He estimates Under The Vines’ budget is $10 million and One Lane Bridge’s is $7m to $8m, so that’s $17m in production, of which half will be spent locally — ‘‘the other half is spent editing and post-production, which happens in other places’’.
Both productions are here for three or four months, ‘‘so that’s quite a lot of money to go through the tills’’.
Productions ‘huge relief for all involved’
The insider estimates 200 people are working on each production, of whom about 70% are locals — ‘‘both productions have had a very admirable commitment to local crewing’’.
A few hundred local-based extras could also be called on, he suggests.
Besides locals getting work, he says about 100 out-of-towners are also being employed, which helps accommodation operators.
‘‘Then of course the projects themselves absorb the local services and infrastructure, rental cars, catering, all the transportation, helicopters, all sorts of local expenditure occurs that stimulates the economy.’’
Providing extras are Queenstown’s Monarch Model Management and Ican.
‘‘It’s involving hundreds of people ranging from one day to in excess of 10,’’ Monarch’s Tracie Patel says.
‘‘The pay is reasonable and they’re well fed and well looked after, and they have a great experience.
‘‘For some people, it’s money they really need and for other people it’s escapism from their regular work, but everyone needs extra money.’’
Ican’s Tracy Cameron’s encouraging anyone unemployed or looking for extra work to find an agent.
‘‘It is possible we will need you for a day, but aside from that, who knows what else will come in tomorrow?’’
The two productions, she says, are ‘‘a huge relief for all of us involved, absolutely’’.
And where else in the world can you shoot crowd scenes right now, she asks.
Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult is delighted the district’s getting ‘‘a great economic boost in its time of need’’.
He notes One Lane Bridge’s first season is getting positive reviews around the world.
Of four ways to diversify the resort’s economic base — film, education, tech and medical tourism — Boult suggests film’s ‘‘probably the easiest to make some traction on’’.
He says council’s very supportive of any proposal for a film studio, ‘‘but anything we can do that attracts film into the area, we’re doing it’’.
Tamar Munch, a publicist for both productions, notes they’re both being made with international partners, so they’ll be shown globally.
‘‘I think one of the nice things about both those shows is they show the area for what it is.
‘‘It’s not standing in for some fantasy country or place we’ve never heard of.’’