Hot Locations: Amazon To Shoot "Lord of the Rings" Series In New Zealand
  • Friday, Oct. 25, 2019
Director/EP J.A. Bayona

The Amazon Studios’ TV series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels “The Lord of the Rings” will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months.

The EPs and showrunners on the series are J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom) will direct the first two episodes and also serve as an EP, alongside his partner Belén Atienza. 

In a joint statement, Payne and McKay shared, “As we searched for the location in which we could bring to life the primordial beauty of the Second Age of Middle-earth, we knew we needed to find somewhere majestic, with pristine coasts, forests, and mountains, that also is a home to world-class sets, studios, and highly skilled and experienced craftspeople and other staff.  And we’re happy that we are now able to officially confirm New Zealand as our home for our series based on stories from Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ We are grateful to the people and the government of New Zealand and especially Auckland for supporting us during this pre-production phase. The abundant measure of Kiwi hospitality with which they have welcomed us has already made us feel right at home, and we are looking forward to deepening our partnership in the years to come.”

AFCI Releases Study On Best Practices
The Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) has released Best Practice in Screen Sector Development, an extensive new analysis of effective strategies and policies used by governments around the world to maximize their share of the content production market. Performed by Olsberg•SPI, the study was introduced last month at AFCI’s 43rd Cineposium Conference in St Petersburg, Russia. 

The study examines formal best practices in areas such as legislation, strategy, funding, and other forms of support. The study also assesses informal best practice in the form of processes and procedures that reduce friction or difficulty for filmmakers at any point across the production process, such as permitting systems for location filming or straightforward customs and visa procedures for equipment and workers.

Analysis of automatic incentives underlines the need for simplicity and clarity in structuring an incentive system, and the fact that legislation and related guidelines must provide certainty on all areas of eligibility. Stability, predictability and confidence in a system are all critical success factors. 

Meanwhile, effective workforce capacity development depends on being closely informed by industry needs.  And best practice in building physical infrastructure and services is underpinned by the fact that the current scale of global production investment has significantly increased the need for physical spaces to shoot, and studios are now a key area of need in many markets. Strategic, long-term government investment and support are key in this area given the levels of expenditure required to build a studio. Governments can also assist development in other ways, such as undertaking research regarding production and studio demand so that investors can understand opportunities, and by identifying land or progressing private developments quickly through planning processes, further priming the market by investing in  technology and digital connectivity.

Finally, film-friendliness is critical for development and involves ensuring a positive view of the benefits of filming across a range of stakeholders. 

“AFCI’s role as the only global organization bringing together film commissions and industry is to inform on best practice, and this report serves as a roadmap,” said AFCI president Jess Conoplia. “The need is especially critical now, as an increasing number of territories acknowledge the importance of the screen sector.” 

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