Written by Shona Smith on Jun 5, 2020. Posted in General Interest

New Zealand’s “go hard, go early” strategy pays out for large and small scale productions

New Zealand currently has no new Covid-19 cases as a result of the country’s “go hard, go early” approach to the virus. The country is now moving towards the ‘Level 1’ lowest level of Covid-19 response which will require no physical distancing requirements at all.

There spells positive news for the New Zealand film, TV and commercial industries which was set to see the country host mega studio-sized international productions including Avatar and Lord of the Rings.

The industry has set out detailed guidance on close contact including actors being in close contact on screen. There is also no upper cap on numbers for crew and cast. As long as robust Health and Safety standards are met meaning that large scale productions can begin again, as both Avatar and Lord of the Rings are preparing to do.

“We have no upper cap on numbers for crew and cast – so long as we are operating within the guidelines we can work with either a smaller more nimble production, or a full noise large scale crew. Thanks to that, huge productions like feature film series Avatar are back in prep alongside other Features & TV series like The Lord of the Rings which are set to return to work shortly. Long-running soap operas and commercial shoots are already happening with increasing scope and scale, as we return to the new normal” say the New Zealand Advertising Producers Group.

In early June, James Cameron and fifty-five members of his crew were permitted to enter the country and quarantine for fourteen days before filming begins again on the first of the four Avatar sequels.
Although currently the country has an entry ban, The New Zealand Advertising Producers Group are working on a process for exemption to allow overseas filmmakers to enter New Zealand which currently means spending some time in quarantine during prep.

Other options include the ‘connected set’ which allows even the most remote and epic locations, which New Zealand has in abundance, to the agency’s living room and have already been used in the country.

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