By PHILIP CHANDLER
Clapperboards will be out in Queenstown again next year with confirmation a third series of TV crime thriller, One Lane Bridge, will be shot.
Additionally, a close source expects a second series of romantic comedy Under The Vines — shot this year in Central Otago and Queenstown — will also be green-lit.
Local One Lane Bridge executive producer Philip Smith is thrilled NZ On Air — supported by TVNZ and British distributor All3Media — has backed a third series, which’ll be shot between next March and July.
Due to Covid, ‘‘it’s the homegrown shows that are keeping the industry alive, otherwise we’ve got no thing’’, he says.
‘‘We’re looking to employ even more locals on this series, and get the local film and drama
industry really bustling again.’’
With another $6 million-plus budget, Smith says the shoot will also be a valuable shot in the arm for Queenstown’s beleaguered tour ism industry.
Smith’s Great Southern Television produced the first series last year and the second this year.
Getting a third across the line is ‘‘a really good achievement in NZ’’, he says.
‘‘It’s very competitive to get NZ On Air funding, so you have to be at the top of your game.’’
He believes it’s a result of the popularity of the second series, which recently aired in NZ, and its success in sales to 20-plus countries, including Australia, Germany, France, Europe’s Nordic countries and United States cable network AMC.
He points out, unlike many other dramas, One Lane Bridge makes no bones about being located in the resort.
‘‘We wanted to make the local environment a character as well — we’re going to build on that into series three, because it does get watched by millions of people globally, and we
want them to see the very best of Queenstown.’’
Smith says the third series will also be a fillip for a new screenwriters’ residency, ‘Tahuna’, which Great Southern and the local council are co-funding.
‘‘The writers will be able to visit the set and our writers and team will be able to give them talks and mentoring.’’
As for the next plot, he says “we will be taking a huge step up and taking it in a direction I can’t talk about, but it’s a direction every single person in Queenstown will be able to relate to”.
“This will be a massive, massive whodunnit.”
Meanwhile, it’s understood a second series of Under The Vines — co-produced by TVNZ and
global streaming service Acorn TV — will also be shot in Queenstown/Central Otago next year, though no official announcement’s been made.