"Sustainability as a Framework of Analysis and a Guide for Policy-Making: The Film Industry in Wellington, New Zealand."
Cultural policy-makers worldwide have expressed the desire to promote local ‘sustainable’ cultural industries, including film industries. While well intended, this has been somehow problematic as what ‘sustainable’ entails has remained unclear. This paper suggests a definition of a sustainable film industry and develops a framework to study and leverage it by drawing on two approaches: the political economy of culture and geographical industrialisation. The framework is used to analyse the case of the film industry in Wellington, New Zealand, where a qualitative analysis of interviews, documents, and media reports informed the empirical study. The research identified localised ‘vertical’ blockages along the value chain relations and ‘horizontal’ blockages among the interdependencies of industry stakeholders. Those blockages undermine five key areas to enable sustainability: financial capacity, ability to maintain labour pools, to feed from creative sources, to develop infrastructure, and the opportunity to reach audiences. The Wellington case showed constraints in all five areas which also suggest potential paths for policy-making to overcome those challenges.