We want more movies and we want more stars

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Southern film community movers and shakers will pitch for continued Government support at an industry function in Queenstown next week.

As the shoot rolls on for Tracker – the latest big-budget Queenstown-based movie – downtown five-star Sofitel Hotel is hosting a function next Thursday for about 50 interested parties including Deputy Prime Minister and local MP Bill English.

Sofitel is pitching for high-end business from movie stars and production managers when film shoots rock into town.

Sofitel sales and marketing boss Tanya Dennis says the hotel is just as keen to foster an industry that has a big knock-on effect for the tourism industry.

“It’s looking at the bigger picture,” she says.

Film Queenstown manager Kevin Jennings says: “We want to showcase the size and reach of the industry to Mr English.”

Jennings, who’s also Film Otago Southland executive manager, says film shoots were worth $37 million-plus to the southern economy last year.

“Nationally we’re on a par with the wine industry.”

A newly-appointed Film New Zealand trustee, Jennings says the industry’s keen the Government continues its 15 per cent rebate to overseas productions shooting in this country.

“Our message is this is an incentive, which provides a return, as opposed to a subsidy which requires ongoing feeding.

“There’s great competition for the film dollar, more so than ever – you’ve got to be proactive and an easy place to shoot.

Our rebate might not be as good as some [countries], but our crews and locations put us ahead.”

Having the industry night during a local movie shoot is appropriate, Jennings adds.

“It’s good timing that it’s there and [English] can see the sort of effects [it has].”