Issue date: 
Tuesday, 7 April 2020

As we enter week two of the lockdown, we do hope you are all safe and well. From our conversations with many of you over the last few weeks we are acutely aware of the challenges everyone is facing at this time. We know COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the livelihood of our stakeholders - producers, production companies, cast, crew, key creatives and service providers, and we hope today’s announcement provides some support and clarity for you during this time.

As we work through the ways we can best support the industry, the following core principles inform our decision-making:

  • Get the sector back to work as soon as possible
  • Support the ecosystem to survive this challenge
  • Create new programmes that meet the challenge of a changed future

Today we are pleased to announce an increase to our business support programme, BOOST. Together with He Ara, we can now offer $1m in combined funding for up to 27 businesses. This is in addition to the $750K+ that will flow through our standard development programmes with deadlines between now and June 30th.

BOOST and He Ara are business development schemes designed for producers and businesses with content in advanced development.

The NZFC is doubling its investment in BOOST for experienced producers who have a strategic vision in a fast-changing environment and a plan to deliver on this. We are also launching BOOST UP to support emerging producers and/or screen businesses.

The increased funding through the BOOST scheme is intended to encourage producers and screen businesses to explore business models and their ability to pivot and diversify into new areas to help build a more sustainable model enabling them to work under the different Alert levels of the COVID-19 landscape.  Producers will be supported to actively develop their lead project while continuing to progress their slate where possible. We are committed to the contribution of content makers to the ecology of the sector, and we believe they should be supported and anticipate new methodologies will emerge as a response to the current environment.


Criteria and updated application guidelines for BOOST and BOOST UP will be available on the NZFC website next week.  There will be some changes to the criteria from previous BOOST rounds in order to specifically address the challenges currently facing the industry. We anticipate the expenditure to be focused on the coming six months.


The NZFC encourages applications from those in recognised under-represented communities including Māori, Pacific peoples, gender diverse, LGBTQi, those with a disability and/or from a diverse background. Applicants to He Ara are eligible to apply for BOOST funding, but only one award will be made to any applicant/company.


1.   (a)   BOOST
BOOST supports the growth of established producers and screen businesses by backing activity which will accelerate projects towards production.  The NZFC has doubled the funding available to now support up to twelve (12) companies to receive BOOST awards (ranging from $50,000 -$75,000 each).  BOOST will open for applications from next week. 

  (b)  BOOST UP
We are introducing BOOST UP which will allow for up to twelve (12) content maker awards (ranging from $15,000 - $25,000 each). BOOST UP is for emerging producers or screen businesses with demonstrable success across any platform or media. BOOST UP will also open for applications from next week.

2.    He Ara
He Ara Pathways for Māori and Pacific Peoples Screen Practitioners is an established fund to support Māori and/or Pasifika filmmakers to create a diverse range of quality New Zealand films using their own methodology.  This scheme will support up to three (3) teams with grants of up to $50,000 each.  He Ara is open to applications now and will close on 20 April, 1pm.


Existing funding opportunities totalling $786k remain open and available for applications. Development programmes are listed below with links to the website pages and deadline information:

Our other work/news includes:

  • Announcing soon - new future talent development opportunities to support a wider range of talent.​
  • Decisions for the Production Financing round that closed on 9 March will be announced on 29 April and those for the Early Development/Documentary Development round that closed on 16 March will be announced on 24 April.
  • Applications remain open for He Pounamu Te Reo Māori Feature Film Initiative with $2.5m available. The deadline is 20 April, 1pm. The deadline for applications for the first round of production financing for the 2020/21 financial year is 8 June, 1pm with the decisions made at the July Board Meeting.
  • Continued support for the Guilds and Industry organisations to deliver their industry development programmes with approx. $450,000 committed between now and June.
  • Working with the Screen Industry Guild of NZ and ScreenSafe (under the umbrella of WorkSafe) to support the development of a Back-to-Production Toolkit. A consulted draft of the Toolkit will be available soon.

Like all of you, the NZFC wants the industry up and running again as soon as possible, and we are committed to working with everyone to achieve that. Collaboration with guilds and government in decision-making about the future strength of the screen industry is continuing; and at the forefront of all our discussions will be the health and safety of all those who work in the New Zealand film industry and the ongoing sustainability of the wider screen sector.

Take care, stay safe and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Annabelle Sheehan, CEO

Useful links and resources:

Information about the New Zealand Government’s response to COVID-19 
Information about accessing the wage subsidy for businesses or contractors
Information about the Screen Industry COVID-19 Action Group
Information for landlords and tenants

Last updated: 
Tuesday, 7 April 2020