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NZ's Best Short Film finalists and Nga Whanaunga Maori Pasifika Shorts selections announced

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Fuseworks Media

The six finalists in the annual New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition as part of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival, have been selected by renowned film director Tusi Tamasese (The Orator, One Thousand Ropes).

Also announced today is the selection for Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts which will in 2020, for the first time, be recognised as a competitive section in the Festival.

Festival Director Marten Rabarts says: "Extraordinary short films have so often announced the arrival of our new cinematic voices including Jane Campion, Taika Waititi, Alison McLean, Niki Caro, Katie Wolfe, Sima Urale and so many others, that curating our shorts programmes feels like opening a window on the future of cinema in New Zealand and the Pacific. This years’ short films confirm that future is in very good hands indeed."

The finalists in New Zealand’s Best will compete for three prizes with winners of the two Jury Prizes to be announced at an in-cinema screening of the short films in Auckland on Saturday 25 July. The winner of the Audience Award will be announced at the close of the Festival on Sunday 2 August.

The six finalists are Daddy’s Girl (Kōtiro) (director Cian Elyse White), Daniel (director: Claire Van Beek), Love is Real! (director: Calvin Sang), Oranges and Lemons (director: Robyn Grace), Pain (director: Anna Duckworth), and Safety Net (director: Anthea Williams).

"Overall, these films illustrate and reveal a range of human experiences and emotions," Guest Selector Tusi Tamasese said. "They all had characters and stories I felt were different, unique and entrancing, and that I connected with because they explored aspects of humanity from interesting perspectives. From trapped minds and bodies to how people choose to live with the consequences of their choices, they deal with defining moments that weren’t always predictable."

The New Zealand’s Best competition films will premiere in cinemas with screenings at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland on Saturday 25 July and at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington on Sunday 26 July with the online premiere to follow on Sunday 26 July. The films will then be available for online rental from Monday 27 July until Saturday 1 August.

A jury will decide the winners of the New Zealand’s Best two main prizes - the Creative New Zealand Best Short Film Award and the Madman Entertainment Emerging Talent Award. These awards will be presented at the in-cinema screening at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland.

The Creative New Zealand Best Short Film Award is a cash prize of $4000. The Madman Entertainment Emerging Talent Award is a cash prize of $2000 and recognises a fresh voice: film-making that gives life to stories of those less often represented in film, or that speaks to new or existing audiences in different ways.

Audiences at the Auckland and Wellington screenings, and those who view the films online, will be able to vote for their favourite short and the Audience Award winner will receive 25% share of the box office takings from the New Zealand’s Best screenings online.

Guest selector Tusi Tamasese selected the six finalists from a shortlist of 12. Festival Director Marten Rabarts, Head of Programming Michael McDonnell, and Paris-based Programmer Sandra Reid viewed 78 submissions to prepare the shortlist.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts Programme

Also announced today is the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts programme, a collection of Māori and Pasifika short films is curated by Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, with guest co-curator Craig Fasi (Niue), Director of the Pollywood Film Festival.

The films selected for Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2020 are Purea (director: Kath Akuhata-Brown), Forgive Me (director: Chelsea Winstanley), Kapaemahu (directors: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson), Emily (director Mark Papalii), I Am The Moment (director: Robert George), Money Honey (director: Isaac Knights-Washbourn), and Gurl (director: Mika X).

The programme of shorts will screen in-cinema at ASB Waterfront Theatre on Sunday 26 July, and at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington. Ngā Whanaunga will premiere online on Monday 27 July and will be available for online rental from Tuesday 28 July until Sunday 2 August. Details of prizes for Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts will be announced in coming weeks.

Two additional curated programmes of New Zealand short films will also be included in the 2020 Festival - four short films themed around arts and artists, and six films that epitomise New Zealand in 2020 including one film made under COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown.

"We had an extremely strong selection of submissions to choose from this year from all corners of the country," said the Festival’s Head of Programming Michael McDonnell. "So in addition to our usual programmes we’ll also be presenting a selection of more light-hearted and comedic shorts under the banner 'Kiwi Shorts' and a collection of artists’ films under the title 'Art Shorts'."

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is run by a charitable trust to enhance local appreciation of, and engagement with, global art and culture by providing access to a diverse range of high-quality film.

The full 2020 Film Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 25 June and the festival will run from 24 July - 2 August.

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