Whānau Mārama: NZ International Film Festival announces jury prize winners for Best New Zealand Short Film competition

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Whānau Mārama: The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) announces the winners of its eleventh annual New Zealand Best Short Film Judging Competition. The awards were presented live tonight after the films of the five finalists screened at the ASB Waterfront Theater in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Film by director Bala Murali Shingade
Perianayaki won him both the Flicks Award for Best Short Film (a cash prize of $7,500) and the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award (a cash prize of $4,000), an award given to a new voice: the cinema that brings to life the stories of those who are less often portrayed in films, or that speaks to new or existing audiences in different ways.
Perianayaki Actor Jeyagowri Sivakumaran’s performance also won a special mention.

The Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award (a cash prize of $4,000), given to a filmmaker whose work indicates the possibility of a feature film directed by him being of the stature and quality to open a festival in Auckland’s The Civic in the Future, was awarded to Trees directors Ben Bryan and Tom Scott.

The awards were judged by a three-member jury consisting of filmmaker and writer Tim Wong, filmmaker and former Best Short Film award winner Chelsie Preston-Crayford and Flicks.co.nz editor Steve Newall.

“As a jury, we recognize the high standard of the shortlisted films and the difficulty of selecting a few for the awards – each had their unique merits and apart from the award criteria, deserved individual recognition. It’s a hell of a thing to do any movie, let alone one that’s launched in competition. Our gratitude goes to all the filmmakers who submitted short films for consideration,” said Tim Wong on behalf of the jury.

“We were ultimately drawn to two shorts at opposite ends of the spectrum of excellence: one that swung the fences and committed to a vision, and another that quietly but deeply rooted itself in everyday life. Trees was striking with its confident ambition, while Perianayaki was grippingly truthful, with a central performance we won’t forget.

The five short films, selected as finalists by this year’s Guest Selector: filmmaker and Arts laureate Florian Habicht, were Saviour (real: Alistair MacDonald), Manny and Quinn (dir: Siobhan Marshall), Perianayaki
(director: Bala Murali Shingadé), Rustling (dir: Tom Furniss), and Trees (dir: Ben Bryan and Tom Scott).

The People’s Choice Award, voted on by the public, will be awarded at the closing night of the festival in Wellington on Sunday 14 August. The audiences at The best of New Zealand screenings at Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara will be asked to vote for their favorite short to decide. The
winner of the audience award this award takes away a 25 percent share of the box office receipts from the The best of New Zealand screenings in the four main centres.

New Zealand films at Whānau Mārama: The New Zealand International Film Festival are proudly supported by Resene.

Quotes from the jury:

Flicks Best Short Film Award – Perianayaki
A fine example of the power of a short film to leave a lasting emotional imprint in minutes, Perianayaki resonates with humanity and elicits empathy long after its credits.

New Zealand Creative Emerging Talent Awards – Perianayaki
Bala Murali Shingade’s sensitive direction and authenticity to the unseen experience of underrepresented lives spoke truly to the purpose of this award – and convincingly to the blossoming of his talent.

Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award – Trees
NZIFF has a long history of opening with ambitious films that challenge audiences and saturate the massive Civic screen. Trees hints that Tom Scott and Ben Bryan could earn a place on that stage in the future – their film is a confident and mostly cinematic short that channels some of the Festival’s anti-mainstream “eff you” sentiment, and underscores the strong potential to realize a bold concept, to full effect.

Special mention: actor Jeyagowri Sivakumaran
Whose nuanced and heartbreakingly honest performance in Perianayaki is a revelation.

© Scoop Media

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