Screen industry awards presented at the SPADA Conference on November 12 are:
Onfilm/SPADA Industry Champion
With his latest series, Spartacus, currently in production in Auckland, and all of his productions since 1993, Rob Tapert has brought in $NZ745 million of offshore funding to date. He has produced 375 hours of television in New Zealand, 309 hours of that before the Large Budget Screen Production Grant was introduced. His television series are: 5 x Hercules telefeatures, Hercules, The Legendary Journeys, Young Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Jack of All Trades, Cleopatra 2525, Amazon High, Legend of the Seeker and Spartacus. Plus feature films Boogeyman and 30 Days of Night.
He was the first major offshore producer to see the potential of New Zealand not only for stunning locations, but also for talented crews, actors, directors, producers, editors, stunt performers etc. In 17 years of operating in New Zealand, he has enabled the growth of local infrastructure and the development of skills by providing the projects, the challenges, the training and the promotions, while continually raising the bar. He has been responsible for the careers of thousands of kiwis, all the while developing new ways of making television. He is respected and loved amongst kiwi crews for his innovation, generosity and humour, as well as his enormous contribution to the growth of the industry in this country.
Tapert's early days were with his producing partner Sam Raimi on cult hits Darkman and Evil Dead, a partnership which has also included the feature films The Quick and the Dead, The Gift and The Grudge.
Crombie Lockwood/MTJ Independent Producer of the Year:
Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis Producers of Taika Waititi's box office smash hit Boy (with US producer Emanuel Michael), cousins Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis have worked together since forming Whenua Films in 2004. Whenua's mandate is to foster the telling of indigenous stories. Before Boy, they produced Waititi's debut feature Eagle Vs Shark, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2007 and his short film Tama Tu, which screened at Sundance and Berlin film festivals. In 2005-06 they ran a NZFC Short Film scheme in which they executive-produced a number of successful short films, including Coffee & Allah, directed by Sima Urale (Venice 2007), Hawaikii, directed by Mike Jonathan (Berlin Generation 2007) and Taua, directed by Tearepa Kahi (Edinburgh 2007, Rotterdam 2008, Clermont Ferrand 2008). Gardiner's background is as a producer, initially working with Larry Parr's Kahukura Productions on projects including Kombi Nation and Love Bites. She produced, with Catherine Fitzgerald, Taika Waititi's Oscar-nominated short Two Cars, One Night. She has also directed a short film Mokopuna.
Curtis is an actor working in the international arena, most recently in a lead role in the US television series Trauma and as the villain in M Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. He has won NZ Film & Television awards for his lead roles in Jubilee and The Chosen and supporting roles in Desperate Remedies and Whale Rider.
SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award
(Principal Sponsor: Park Road Post Production):
Briar March Currently a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University studying for MFA in Documentary Film and Video, Briar March was unable to personally accept her award. She says the prize money will go towards the production of her thesis documentary, Modern Day Warriors, about Native American punk rock band Blackfire and their mission to stop the environmental devastation of their sacred San Francisco Peaks.
The recent New Zealand International Film Festival featured three of her films: the award-winning There Once Was An Island, an exploration of climate change in the Pacific; Michael and his Dragon, about the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder on a recent Iraq veteran; and Sick Wid It, a short documentary about dance. There Once Was An Island has achieved international recognition with numerous festival screenings and awards, including Best Documentary Feature at Raindance (London) and the Jameson Cinefest Miskolc International Film Festival (Hungary) and the Grand Prix at FIFO in Tahiti and the "Peaceful Revolution Award" at the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival. It was also a finalist in Best Documentary at the Australian ATOM Awards and in the Qantas New Zealand Film and Television Awards.
Principal Sponsor NZ Film Commission. Premium Sponsor TVNZ. Key Sponsors/Sponsors Screenrights, Auckland City Council, TV3, NZ On Air, South Pacific Pictures, FIUA, Film Finances, Fulcrum Media Finance, Images & Sound, Onfilm, Stage and Screen, Villa Maria, Voyage Affaires: and SPADA's Premiere Partner Telecom.
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