Andrew Adamson Selects New Zealand’s Best

The films will compete for four cash prizes, with winners to be announced at the closing night event of the Auckland leg of NZIFF. The six finalists are Cold Snap (dir: Leo Woodhead), Eleven (dir: Abigail Greenwood), Over the Moon (dir: James Cunningham), Ross & Beth (dir: Hamish Bennett), School Night (dirs: Leon Wadham and Eli Kent) and U.F.O. (dir: Gregory King).

The New Zealand’s Best programme will screen as part of our 2014 line-up and audiences will be encouraged to vote for their favourite short. The 2014 Audience Award winner in Auckland and Wellington will take away 25% of the box office from the Festival screenings in the four main centres.

In addition, a jury will select the winner for each of three awards – The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize (cash prize of $5,000 for the best New Zealand Short Film); The Friends of the Civic Short Film Award for distinctive creative achievement (cash prize of $3,000). A special jury of cinematographers will select the winner of the inaugural Allen Guilford Cinematography Award from the New Zealand Cinematographers Society (NZCS) which includes a cash prize of $2,000.

Guest selector and international filmmaker Andrew Adamson selected the six finalists from a shortlist of 12. Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 115 entries to prepare the shortlist for this year’s competition.

Andrew Adamson was impressed with the standard of shorts entered this year, describing some of the finalists as “well structured, beautifully shot”, “witty and imaginative”, “poignant and well put together”. His comment for each entry is noted below.

The finalists are:


New Zealand 2013
Director: Abigail Greenwood
A beautifully painful story of peer pressure and betrayal. Well shot and well acted by the young cast, it’s a very moving story that takes one back to the difficult years of childhood.

Cold Snap

New Zealand 2013
Director: Leo Woodhead
A well structured, beautifully shot narrative... It leaves the audience contemplating life, death and pain – and how confusing such things can be for a child dealing with death every day.

Over The Moon

New Zealand 2013
Director: James Cunningham
A witty and imaginative take on the ‘battle of the sexes’. Cunningham has made great use of technology and whimsical production design to create a fun but pointed commentary on one of the many testosterone heavy occupations.

Ross & Beth

World Premiere
New Zealand 2014
Director: Hamish Bennett
A well crafted character study of ageing rural New Zealand. Lovely subtle performances paint a sweet, sad and gentle story rooted in relatable characters.

School Night

World Premiere
New Zealand 2014
Directors: Leon Wadham, Eli Kent
Hayley Sproull’s performance is perfectly subtle as a sympathetically insecure young woman caught between youth and premature aging. A very complete and satisfying narrative that is rare in the short film format.


World Premiere
New Zealand 2014
Director: Gregory King
A unique take on a child escaping his surroundings. Good use of makeup and effects sets you up for a turn from the surreal to the tragically real. In the bleak New Zealand tradition the film is affecting and stays with you.

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