The future of New Zealand’s film industry is becoming more niche and high tech as the digital and 3D revolution takes over Wellinton’s production suites. There is less and less emphasis based on celluloid scenes of mountains and green pastures.
Recent data released by Statistics New Zealand shows New Zealand’s film production industry is declining (see below) and is being replaced by post production, particularly digital effects, on films such as Avatar.
But by a country mile the most stable and profitable sector of the country’s industry isn’t film work at all but television broadcasting, most of which comes out of Auckland and not Wellington.
Regardless of all this Wellington airport and their majority shareholder, Infratil, have decided to advertise New Zealand’s success (and by association, Wellington) by erecting a tacky pastiche of a sign that first saw the light of day on another continent back in the 1920s.
Was a rip-off of a hundred year old sign really the best they could come up with in this age of industrial light and magic and 3D rendering? Zero points for imagination and innovation. A pastiche of a symbol from a bygone age does nothing but emphasise everything that New Zealand is not, and can never be.
The UK’s Telegraph has picked up on the outrage that some New Zealanders are feeling about the Wellywood sign
Plans for the 92ft-long lettering atop hills beside the city’s international airport have been argued over for more than a year, but council planners have now given permission to go ahead, triggering a storm of opposition.
Outraged critics have swamped social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, blasting the sign as “tacky, unoriginal and embarrassing”.
One Facebook group was shut down after members suggested blowing up and setting fire to the sign, while others called on opponents to send a barrage of protest emails to the airport’s website.
Another group threatened to stage a “slow-moving vehicle blockade” around the airport concourse in a bid to cause traffic chaos
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, who hold the copyright on the Hollywood sign are said to be weighing up legal action to prevent the construction of the Wellywood billboard. Their president, Leron Gubler, said it could breach his organisation’s trademark and
“We are not without a sense of humor, nor without legal rights. We hope that if the Wellington Airport wants to mimic our sign in this fashion, it will proceed in cooperation with us and will recognize that the holder of the rights to the sign and the party responsible for its continued existence is a nonprofit entity that works hard to raise funds so that the sign even exists to be mimicked.”
What are the chances of a similar non profit association with the Wellywood sign? we say Zero.
Copyright Free for All
How would New Zealand react if Hollywood parodied New Zealand icons for commercial gain, or breached intellectual copyright.
Remember the ruckus the All Blacks Haka caused, the wrath that descended on the heads of Philip Morris because of their Maori Mix cigarettes and the Mike Tyson/Hangover 2 tattoo? New Zealand should extend the same courtesy to Hollywood as it would like to attract to itself.
“It is astounding that a Pakeha tattooist who inscribes an African American’s flesh with what he considers to be a Maori design has the gall to claim … that design as his intellectual property,” Maori professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku told the New Zealand Herald. “The tattooist has an incredible arrogance to assume he has the intellectual right to claim the design form of an indigenous culture that is not his.
What’s sauce for the goose..
For our other blogs about the Wellywood sign click here
Revenue from post production in New Zealand has risen risen to 40 % and is now worth $584 million, in 2008 it only made up 25 % cent of the industry. source
Statistics NZ data
- In 2010 there were 3,189 businesses in the New Zealand screen industry, up 19 percent from 2009.
- Post-production activity has almost doubled over the past two years, and is now worth $584 million.
- Over two-thirds of all post-production revenue ($408 million) was generated by contractors.
- 58 percent of all production company revenue and 55 percent of all funding came from New Zealand sources.