Chapter Ten – The Jackson Effect: The Late 1990s to 2005

By Geoff Lealand. Summary by Jakki Galloway

Peter Jackson with the miniature set for the film Braindead – Photograph taken by Mark Coote. Dominion Post (Newspaper): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1992/0425/6-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23094552

In 1994 Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk, Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger expanded their company RT Effects to service the local and international industry's special effects requirements. They named their new company Weta.

Peter Jackson had graduated from making no-budget films like Braindead (1992) to the overseas-funded The Frighteners (1996). In 1999, he bought from TVNZ what had originally been the National Film Unit and built Park Road Post.

Sir Peter Jackson has since become New Zealand’s most famous filmmaker with the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. His success has encouraged international investment in New Zealand filmmaking, and the development of a New Zealand based infrastructure which services offshore and local filmmaking. Sir Peter Jackson gave the industry a measure of job creation and work stability.

His success lead to the training of skilled technicians and actors, and to world-class post-production facilities. However, while Jackson is a New Zealander and his films are made here, he is not a "New Zealand filmmaker". His films are made for global audiences, his leading actors are not local, his subject matter is not local (except for Heavenly Creatures [1994]) and his themes are universal.

All of this led to "Runaway Productions" from overseas film companies. "Runaway Productions" are film projects that aren't made in the traditional centres like Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai or London. New Zealand is an attractive filming location because the film industry here is non-unionised and has a proven workforce (who overseas companies don't have to pay as much), it is film-friendly politically (including tax incentives), it has a friendly exchange rate, and it is politically safe, with diverse locations and sophisticated post-production facilities.

These productions have included: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1995), The Last Samurai (2003), and The Chronicles of Narnia (2005, directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson).


Activity 27: New Zealand representation – Make a collage.

Activity 28: Film tourism – Design a website.

Activity 29: Sir Peter Jackson – Close read a newspaper article.

Activity 30: The Actor's Strike – Close read a newspaper article.


FORWARD to Chapter Eleven – Into the Blue

BACK to Chapter Nine – New Currents in the Mainstream: The 1990s

BACK to Our Film History

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