Hawke’s Bay as a Film Friendly Destination

Building Connections, Capturing Projects and Creating Local Stories

Hawke’s Bay is an ideal location for all things screen. It has some of the most unfilmed locations, great wine and food, high sunshine hours and all is located in a reasonable distance from each other. It seems hard to believe that filming has not continued to thrive since ‘Utu’ was filmed in parts of Hawke’s Bay in 1983. Eastern Screen Alliance (formally known as Film Hawke’s Bay) is looking to change this. For the past 4 years they have been building connections, capturing projects and creating local stories.

Eastern Screen Alliance is the Regional Film Office and has a board of experienced industry professionals working to develop key relationships, advocate for the industry and focus on building up our people. “With the spectacular weather and wide variety of environments, we see Hawke’s Bay as New Zealand’s best kept secret for film productions. We have many industry professionals who are Heads of Departments based in our region and know that we can provide key resources for incoming productions” says Gilly Lawrence, Board Chair of ESA.

When a production comes into our region Eastern Screen Alliance works closely with the company to identify crew on the ground, links to the acting community, identify locations to shoot, gain consent from local authorities and find local individuals, groups and businesses that want to be involved. With over 85% of the productions budget typically being spent locally it is important for ESA to be able to assist with providing current data that the production can draw on.

Up to date information is key so local businesses have the opportunity to support and build the screen industry in our region. Often productions require building services or materials, electrical work, catering, accountants, hair and make-up or someone to make coffee. The screen industry builds a community of people with it to ensure a successful outcome. Eastern Screen Alliance is currently allowing trades and services, crew and local actors the opportunity to sign up to inform production teams coming into the region. Eastern Screen Alliance will hold this information and with your consent link particular individuals and or organisations as and when opportunities arise.

Capturing projects and working with national and international producers is a big part of what Eastern Screen Alliance does. The aim is to assist in building a pipeline of work in conjunction with Parkhill Studios. We know that building the local infrastructure is key to ensuring that this pipeline is successful and are working hard to find the right projects. Currently Eastern Screen Alliance is supporting a national producer to bring two international productions into our region in 2024.

To assist Eastern Screen Alliance in building infrastructure, local projects have been activated. ‘Twitch’ written by Kate Powis, directed by Suden Lakskmanan (Suden Films) and produced by Artful Productions, is a short film currently completed and is on the festival circuit. To date it has received 15 awards and continues to grow. It explores an artist who has an autonomous left hand that paints masterpieces. ‘Opia’ written and directed by Cosmo Calman (Defy Films) and produced by Dream Big, another short film, is about to be shot in August. It is ingrained in graffiti and Hip-Hop Culture and feeds into a feature length script called AeroSoul. ‘Recognition’ written and directed by James Cleary (Shrimpton Films) and produced by Dream Big is a psychological thriller feature film. It is set in a cabin in a Central Hawke’s Bay forest and explores loss, trauma and support through the hero character Jim. These projects would not have been created if Eastern Screen Alliance was not supporting, providing connections to on the ground resources and casting locally.

Eastern Screen Alliance would like to talk to any businesses, groups or individuals about how they might be able to support the development of the screen industry in our region. If you want to know more information head to our website.