NSW must act or lose millions on big film productions
Peter Jackson, the director of two of the most profitable film trilogies in the history of cinema, says NSW needs urgent action to attract big-budget movie productions or miss out on millions.
"You can't argue for a film industry, you just have to say to the politicians that if they want one, they have to attract it," the director of the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies, which have earned more than $8 billion, said.
"They have to have the rebates to attract it and if they don't have those rebates, they won't get one," Jackson said. "It is up to them to work out all the downstream affects, all the benefits the film industry has."
Jackson's dire warning comes just days after a Telegraph Bradfield Oration investigation revealed that bureaucracy and a lack of incentives had pushed big budget shoots such as Aquaman, Thor: Ragnarok and Dora The Explorer away from NSW up to Queensland, with the local film industry forgoing tens of millions in investment, and the state missing out on valuable tourism exposure.
Insiders said the challenges they faced were so substantial it was as if they were not wanted in NSW at all.
"The playing field is not a flat one," Jackson told The Telegraph yesterday.
"If there were no rebates anywhere in the world, then we would all be playing on the same pitch and there would be a certain amount of fairness.
"But Hollywood being run by huge corporations, they have to answer to boards.
"They watch every single dollar and they look at where there are the most attractive tax rebates and that is where they go."
The New Zealander was in town promoting the $100 million movie Mortal Engines, which he produced and wrote through his company WingNut Film and which was shot in Wellington.
Most of Jackson's other big-budget box office successes were also shot in his home country.
But despite his successes, the 57-year-old said he always remained nervous about a film before it was released.
"The terror is partly in if this film is going to be good or not," Jackson said. "I trust my own instincts and I am very pleased with this film.
"The nerves come because the studio has invested a lot of money in it and you ideally want to return them the money."
Adding to the nerves was that Mortal Engines was helmed by his protege, first-time feature director Christian Rivers.
Of his protege Rivers, Jackson jokingly added: "He is either a protege or a stalker. There is something satisfying about helping somebody else get their career going and being able to use the 30 odd years of experience I've got to help jump start someone's career."