Hero photo: A promo shot on Coronet Peak two summers ago showing virtually the full gamut of Queenstown-based film crew and equipment, including helicopters

A new organisation has been set up to promote Queenstown and Central Otago’s film industry both nationwide and internationally.

Screen Queenstown’s (SQ) inaugural meeting, held last Thursday, was attended by 24 industry personnel.

Local lighting and camera equipment veteran Brett Mills, who has instigated the organisation, says those present (and two who joined by phone) ‘‘almost unanimously’’ voted to progress the idea.

‘‘It was definitely positive.’’

He says SQ has parallels with Destination Queenstown, ‘‘which is the tourism operators promoting themselves’’.

‘‘This is going to be the screen operators promoting themselves.

‘‘Quite often, Auckland snaffles a [film] job because … there’s no organisation shouting out about the infrastructure that’s here.’’

More than once, he’s heard of a shoot starting in Auckland where the director, early on, visits Queenstown and asks why no one had told them about this place.

‘‘We’d just like [producers and the like] to come here and have a look at what we’ve got to offer before you decide where you base your production.’’

Mills believes Queenstown has got almost all bases covered, including ‘‘world-class’’ camera, lighting and grip infrastructure.

However, it’s also the resort’s other attractions, including the nightlife, that make it attractive, he says.

‘‘We’re a destination location.

‘‘It’s the big picture, it’s the entire package.

‘‘The thing is, they land and they’re besotted.’’

Last week’s meeting was convened by Queenstown business adviser Fiona McDonald, who envisages SQ will be a membership-driven, not-for-profit organisation.

She says some seed money’s already been committed, but she wanted to call the meeting ‘‘before engaging in any further [funding]’’.

Members would be able to promote their services on a website that’s currently being designed.

She notes the organisation will also include Wānaka and Central, however Queenstown’s being used in the name because ‘‘Queenstown is sort of the buzz word’’.

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