Isolated in Isengard: Kiwi film industry reels from strict Covid ...

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Isolated in Isengard: Kiwi film industry reels from strict Covid rules

Amazon Studios prepares to make its exit from the country, treasured for its filming locations

Ainsley Thomson

New Zealand’s planned phased reopening of borders in early 2022 has come too late to save the nation from losing one of its world-famous attributes, the filming location of Lord of the Rings, as crews deem the nation’s stringent quarantine requirements untenable.

Amazon Studios on Thursday said it would shift filming to the UK, with industry publication Deadline reporting that New Zealand’s strict border closures during the pandemic - which requires a two-week stay in a managed isolation facility (MIQ) - kept British cast members from returning home for close to two years. The lockdown also prevented Amazon executives from visiting the sets to monitor shooting, the media outlet said.

Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa NZ president Brendon Durey said the decision highlights the problems the film industry is facing with MIQ...

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