Avatar 2 crew land in New Zealand to restart filming despite border closure

Katie Rosseinsky
20th Century Fox

The film crew for Avatar 2 have been granted permission to fly into New Zealand to begin filming on the sequel, despite the country’s border closure.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern closed New Zealand’s borders on March 16 in a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

New Zealand’s quick response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been praised internationally. Less than 1,500 cases have been reported and 22 people have died of the virus.

Yesterday, Ardern announced that the country was on track to wipe out the virus “ahead of schedule” after health officials reported the 11th consecutive day of no new cases of the disease.

The original film proved a major blockbuster hit (20th Century Fox)

Director James Cameron and 55 members of his crew, including producer Jon Landau, arrived in the country on a private charter plane over the weekend.

They must undergo a 14 day period of “government-supervised self-isolation” before they can get to work, according to a post shared on Landau’s Instagram, which showed him and Cameron, 65, wearing face masks and protective visors.

The film’s crew, who travelled from Los Angeles, were able to enter the country by seeking permission from the economic development minister Phil Twyford. They are classed as “other essential workers.”

According to guidelines set out by the New Zealand government, it must be proved that the job carried out by “other essential workers” cannot be done by a resident, is “urgently needed at this time” and is either “critical to the Covid-19 response, maintaining critical infrastructure or there will be very significant economic benefits resulting from it.”

“The New Zealand border remains closed and public health remains the government’s number one priority in making border exemption decisions,” Twyford said in a statement, according to The Guardian.

The decision has reportedly angered many New Zealanders whose businesses have been affected by the strict border closure.

Families and couples have also been separated due to the regulations.

Film and TV productions were given the green light to resume in New Zealand in early May, with Amazon’s big-budget Lord of the Rings series among the first productions to get back on track.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the film industry, with filming postponed around the world and the release of many major movies held back while cinemas are closed.

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