New Zealand\'s Best 2016
For this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film competition, NZIFF programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 81 submissions to make a shortlist of 12, from which filmmaker Lee Tamahori selected these six finalists. A jury of three will select the winner of the $5,000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize, while a $3,000 Wallace Friends of the Civic Award will be awarded by donors the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Media Ltd, to the film or contributor to a film they deem to merit special recognition. (The King, supported by Wallace Media, is not eligible for this prize.) The winner of the audience vote takes away the Audience Choice Award, consisting of 25 percent of the box office from the main-centre NZIFF screenings. Lee’s comments on each film appear in italics. “It’s always tricky choosing finalists. Excellence in filmmaking comes in many forms. Sometimes the simplest of films triumphs, one can never tell. I look for the most engaging elements in a film, be it animation, documentary or drama. Narrative is important, though not imperative. Imagination and visual stimulation are just as vital. The shortlist I have chosen makes me appreciate why I got into this medium in the first place.” — Lee Tamahori Spring Jam 2016 6 minutes DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY Ned Wenlock PRODUCER Georgiana Plaister A young buck suffers a major case of antler-envy in this charming and witty animated short. Great commentary on New Zealand. Funny, irreverent, with excellent use of music and imagery. Cradle 2016 15 minutes DIRECTOR Damon Duncan PRODUCER Luke Robinson SCREENPLAY Hugh Calveley PHOTOGRAPHY Ian McCarroll EDITOR Alex O’Shaughnessy In this accomplished outer-space drama, a stranded astronaut must wrestle control of her spaceship from its errant computer. A good story, well told. Great set design, sharp editing and generally excellent tech credits. A gripping sci-fi film. Wait 2015 14 minutes DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY Yamin Tun PRODUCERS Vicky Pope, Daniel Higgins PHOTOGRAPHY Ryan Alexander Lloyd EDITOR Simon Price A young girl helps her immigrant mother overcome both cultural and emotional barriers. Tense and absorbing narrative with an intentionally enigmatic finale. Good tech credits and finely tuned performances. Shmeat 2015 6 minutes DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY Matasila Freshwater PRODUCER Thomas Coppell ANIMATOR/EDITOR Chris Callus In an animated dystopia, where food and resources are scarce, a mad scientist ventures into the night to procure an icky new food source… Excellent production values encompassing a timely global story. Very Tim Burton-esque, but thoroughly entertaining and humorous. Judgment Tavern 2015 11 minutes DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY Dean Hewison PRODUCER Ruth Korver PHOTOGRAPHY Chris Matthews EDITOR Jeff Hurrell A young girl and her disembodied father search for his missing body in this fantasy short filled with swords and sorcery. Succinct narrative, excellent production and technical skills. A concise piece of storytelling in such a short format. Good performances help to sustain tension. The King 2016 23 minutes DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY/ PRODUCER Ursula Grace Williams PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Flower EDITOR Gareth Moon Meet Andy Stankovich, scrap-metal merchant by day and sweet-voiced performer by night. Likeable documentary with a warm heart. A classic New Zealand character, with a touching bunch of associates.
1hr 15mins long