A few weeks ago, Ngā Taonga played a part in officially launching Wellington’s strategy for its first four years as a UNESCO City of Film. The launch event, at our home in the National Library, featured some great talent and new technologies, including virtual reality experiences. Demonstrations of Stories in Our Stars and Whakakitenga both showed how traditional knowledge combined with new technologies can produce exciting results. Our curators also helped create a showreel of Wellington’s rich filmmaking history, by contributing items like this 1900 film of troops preparing to depart for the Boer War. We were joined by Wellington Mayor Andy Foster and Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Grant Robertson.
So what does it mean to be a UNESCO City of Film?
There are 18 Cities of Film around the world, a designation that’s based on criteria including a history of filmmaking, experience at hosting film festivals, and significant film infrastructure like studios or shooting locations. Member cities agree to work to promote film culture and place it at the centre of their city’s development plans. Cities of Film introduce programmes and support existing initiatives that promote the making and watching of films, with particular focus on diverse storytellers and sustainable infrastructure development.
The strategic goals of Wellington City of Film are:
- Wellington rangatahi are creative, engaged global citizens
- An increased understanding and appreciation of our unique culture
- Wellington is a world leader in immersive and interactive technology
- Wellington’s diverse communities are telling their own stories in their own way
- Filmmakers in the Pacific region are supported to tell their stories on the world stage
All of the organisations that are partners in the initiative, including Ngā Taonga, have pledged to use our abilities and resources promote these goals.