New Zealand Film Commission Short Films win prizes

19 07 2007

New Zealand Short Film Run
New Zealand Short Film – “Run”

New Zealand short films Taua, Run and Nature’s Way have all won major awards internationally and domestically in the last few months.

Director Jane Shearer’s NZFC financed short film Nature’s Way has been awarded Best Short Film by the Jury of the 5th Paris Cinema International Film Festival. Paris Cinema was initiated and supported by the Paris City Hall, is chaired by actress Charlotte Rampling, and the festival has become a major film event of the early summer in Paris (more than 70,000 attendees in 2006). Honoured guests this year include actresses Robin Wright Penn and Sandra Bonnaire, and acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

Leading up to the award, Nature’s Way has been touring France with “Les nuits en or du court métrage”, a festival organised by Les César Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma. They select 10 of the best short films from around the world and screen them in 21 cities throughout France. Among the short films screening with Nature’s Way are Oscar winners The Danish Poet and West Bank Story. Nature’s Way, written by Steve Ayson and Jane Shearer, directed by Shearer and produced by Leanne Saunders, is a supernatural thriller about a young girl murdered deep in native forest. Unfortunately for the murderer, nature aids revenge.

For the second year in a row, director Tearepa Kahi has been awarded the Friends of the Civic Best Short Film at the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival. This year, the award went to his short film Taua, a film about a young boy’s compassion amidst the rivalry of Māori tribes at war, which was written and directed by Kahi and produced by Quinton Hita.

“Filmmaking’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. You can have the best ideas but it does come down to support. Obviously really really stoked about the level of support we received for Taua and the fact that it’s doing well on the local scene and is about to go on to Edinburgh and America,” Mr Kahi says.

Last year, Kahi and Hita won the award for their short film The Speaker. The Friends of the Civic started the Best Short Film award as a way to encourage up and coming filmmakers.

Director Mark Albiston’s NZFC financed short film Run was awarded an Honourable Mention in the Short Film Competition of the Cannes Film Festival in France in May. The last time a NZ short film won a prize in the Cannes Film Festival Competition was Lemming Aid in 1994.

“The competition was really close,” admitted director Mark Albiston. “It was a real honour to have been selected for the Cannes Film Festival as the standard was so high. Run was up against five or six really great films. It was amazing to see the film with an international audience and have them understand everything. Members of the Jury came up to us afterward and said the film made them laugh and cry. We learnt a lot from our experience in Cannes and can’t wait to make our next film.”

Written by Louis Sutherland (who plays the father in the film), directed by Mark Albiston and produced by Robin Murphy, Run is a film about a Samoan brother and sister who live in fear of their over protective widowed father.

Run and Taua are screening throughout NZ as part of the MIC Homegrown: Works on Film section of the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival.

Wellington Saturday 21 July at 5.15 PM at the Paramount Theatre
Wellington Monday 23 July at 11.00 AM at the Paramount Theatre
Dunedin Saturday 28 July at 6.00 PM at the Rialto Theatre
Christchurch Thursday 2 August at 6.30 PM at the Rialto Theatre
Christchurch Saturday 4 August at 6:15 PM at the Rialto Theatre

Last year, Nature’s Way and The Speaker screened as part of this programme.

Run, Taua, Nature’s Way and The Speaker were produced with finance from the Short Film Fund of the New Zealand Film Commission.

For more information about the MIC Homegrown: Works on Film programme of the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival visit www.nzff.telecom.co.nz

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