Tuesday, 7 June 2016

NZIFF Animation and NZ's Best revealed

NZIFF Animation and NZ's Best revealed


Lee Tamahori Selects New Zealand’s Best 2016
Congratulations to the six filmmakers whose short films were selected by Lee Tamahori to contend for the awards on this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film programme. For the fifth year in a row, we will be showcasing a fantastic selection of shorts from established filmmakers and up-and-coming talent alike.
“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.” says Lee Tamahori.
The New Zealand’s Best programme will screen as part of the 2016 programe and audiences will be asked to vote for their favourite. The Audience Award winner in Auckland and Wellington takes away 25% of the box office from the Festival screenings in the four main centres – in 2015 valued at $4,800.
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.)
Guest selector and international filmmaker Lee Tamahori selected the six finalists from a shortlist of 12. Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 81 entries to prepare the shortlist. 

The New Zealand's Best finalists (with Lee Tamahori's comments in italics) are...

Spring Jam
Director/Screenplay: Ned Wenlock 
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.

Director: Damon Duncan 
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.

Director/Screenplay: Yamin Tun 
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.

Director/Screenplay: Matasila Freshwater 
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
Director/Screenplay: Dean Hewison
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
Director/Screenplay/Producer: Ursula Grace Williams
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.

NZIFF Gets Animated
This year NZIFF gets animated and inspired with fantastic titles from some of today's most visionary directors. Our newest sneaks are sure to delight the young and the young at heart: we present Studio Ghibli's first international co-production, to a young man finding his way through the world thanks to the magic of Disney, plus a classic pre-CGI marital arts film that inspired a generation (it's not animated but we couldn't resist including it here today).

Animation for Kids
Each year our animation programme provides one of the best opportunities to introduce our youngest friends to the pleasures of international cinema and the NZIFF experience. NZIFF 2016 showcases not one, but two, Animation for Kids collections – with each film guaranteed to amuse, entertain and inspire curious young minds and indie-animation-loving grown-ups alike.
Animation for Kids 4+
Animation for Kids 8+

Long Way North
Long Way North is a beautiful animated historical fantasy about a 19th-century Russian girl who embarks on a hazardous adventure to the North Pole to find her grandfather’s ship and save her family’s honour.

The Red Turtle
Studio Ghibli’s first international co-production is a ravishing castaway fable that combines beauty, mystery, drama and heartbreak – with not a word spoken. It’s a triumph for animator Michael Dudok de Wit.

Life, Animated
This incredibly moving and fascinating doco takes us into the interior life of autistic Owen Suskind, and explores how his love of Disney animated features gave him the tools as a child to communicate with the world.

A Touch of Zen
Frequently imitated (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and never surpassed, King Hu’s spectacular pre-CGI masterpiece of wuxia cinema has been radiantly restored. “The visual style will set your eyes on fire.” — Time Out

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Werner Herzog, director of such notable classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man, turns his inimitable eye on the galloping evolution of the internet, its geniuses and its ominous implications for creation at large.

The full NZIFF programme will be available from Tuesday 21 June for Auckland and Friday 24 June for Wellington with further centres to follow.

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