The Wellington UNESCO City of Film Award for Best Film in Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts goes to Money Honey. Director Isaac Knights-Washbourn receives a cash prize of $3,000.
The award was announced on stage today following the screening of the films at The Roxy Cinema in Wellington.
The award was judged online by an international three-member jury: Elma Tataragic, screenwriter (God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya – NZIFF19) and head programmer of the Feature and Shorts Competitions – Sarajevo Film Festival (Sarajevo – UNESCO City Of Film 2019); Meenakshi Shedde, renowned film critic and Berlin Film Festival delegate selector for South Asia from Mumbai (Mumbai – UNESCO City of Film 2019), and from Wellington Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School director and well-known New Zealand actor and arts professional Tanea Heke (Ngā Puhi).
The jury said: “A sensitively told story of enduring friendship – where hope and aroha and optimism live in spite of circumstances. Knights-Washbourn explores the tenacity of the human condition to see and create a positive narrative and space even when things are at a low point.”
The jury also made special mention of Kapaemahu by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson.
“Kapaemahu is an animated film which tells of mahu - “four extraordinary individuals” who travelled from Tahiti to Hawaii in ancient times to share their healing and restorative powers. The observation of the dismissal of this rich legacy in modern times is poignant and the narration in Hawaiian and the powerful chants add potency to this beautiful indigenous story which holds so much weight here in Aotearoa.”
Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts was 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. This year was the first year awards have been offered for this collection.
The seven films in the collection are Purea (director: Kath Akuhata-Brown), Forgive Me (director: Chelsea Winstanley), Kapaemahu (director: 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 winner of an audience vote from the online audience and those at the ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland and Roxy Cinema, Wellington screenings will receive the Ngā Whanaunga CineMāori Audience Award. The $1000 cash award has been sponsored by CineMāori, the new online platform for Māori cinema. The winner will be announced tonight during the Festival’s online closing ceremony, along with the Audience Choice Award for New Zealand's Best.