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New Zealand

New Zealand offers a world of location looks within close proximity to each other.
The country is best known for its otherworldly looks of deep forests, glacial lakes, peaceful streams, white-water rapids, snow-covered mountains, magnificent fjords, and volcanos. New Zealand has a wide selection of surf and calm water beaches with black, brown or white sand options. Visiting film productions can find small intimate beaches or beaches that stretch for miles such as the rugged west coast beach of Karekare

Cost & Rebates

For a high quality production service centre, New Zealand is one of the most cost competitive filming centres in the Western world. New Zealand is generally less expensive than Australia due to the difference in exchange rate, less distance to locations, and more flexible crew and talent rules.
The NZSPG offers a baseline cash grant equivalent to 20% of Qualifying New Zealand Production Expenditure (QNZPE). In addition to the baseline grant, some projects may also be eligible for an additional 5% uplift if they can demonstrate significant economic benefits to New Zealand.
GST is not charged on foreign TV commercials and other short format work as the files / negative are considered an export.

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When To Shoot

New Zealand is popular with visiting production looking for opposite season looks. Summer runs from December to February. This is the busiest time for production with long, sunny shoot days and impressive light. Fall is from March to May. Winter runs from June to August with snow on the mountains. The rest of the country rarely sees snow, so locations at lower elevations are open to filming all year round. Spring is from September to November. The Aurora Australis is best photographed from March to September.

Visa Information

Work permits are required for cast and crew from all countries except Australia. These can generally be obtained quickly. Our local fixer / service producer can provide the required documents and advice to secure work permits prior to arrival, or in some circumstances after arriving in New Zealand.
Clients and agency do not require work permits while visiting to supervise shoots in New Zealand, but may require a visitors visa depending on nationality. Those travelling on Western passports can enter visa-free.

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Cast, Crew & Equipment

New Zealand has a good pool of local directors, directors of photography, production designers and stills photographers with extensive international experience. Auckland is the main filming city, followed closely by Wellington, Queenstown and Christchurch. Crews are non-union. New Zealand has a great depth of professional, technical crews. They are quick, hard working and have a great deal of experience servicing international productions. Talent. New Zealand is a multicultural country offering international talent looks, with the majority of looks being Caucasian, Maori / Polynesian and Asian.

New Zealand has a great depth of actors and models. There’s even an agency specialising in ethnic looks. Featured talent and extras of any look are easy to cast. However, if you need principal dialogue actors with a particular accent / language, we recommend that you cast in your own country, as well as in New Zealand. New Zealand has most of the equipment you would expect from an established production service centre: 35mm, HD and Red / Alexa cameras, Technocranes, Libra head, Scorpio, Steadicams, underwater camera equipment, motion control, various gyro stabilized heli-mounts, a flying camera rig, drones and operators, tracking vehicles, low loaders and vehicle camera arms for car shoots. For productions looking to bring in film equipment New Zealand is an ATA carnet country.

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Dancing Elephant Films is a leading production house & talent management agency  that services clients internationally and locally. Our focus on content creation, production management, talent management, and post-production gives companies the edge needed to compete in their respective industries.

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