We're pleased to announce the winners of this year's Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts.
The Wellington UNESCO City of Film Award for Best Film ($3000 cash prize) went to The Last Sunday, directed by Saito Lilo; and the Letterboxd Audience Award ($1000 cash prize) went to Mako, directed by Mark Papalii.
Saito was presented the award by Wellington Mayor, and UNESCO ambassador, Tory Whanau, following the screening on Saturday 12 at The Roxy Cinema, Wellington, while Mark received the Letterboxd Audience Award at the Closing Night of NZIFF in Wellington on Sunday 13 August. The Wellington UNESCO City of Film Award was judged by a three-member jury — Aroha Awarau, Sima Urale and Mitchell Manuel.
The jury commented that this film was technically excellent with strong structure, visually good storytelling and good acting. "Director Saito Lilo demonstrated courage and bravery in highlighting a topic which was relevant to today with pressure of family and the role of the church."
The jury also awarded Special Mention awards to the films Kōkako, written and directed by Douglas Brooks, and I Am Paradise, written and directed by Hiona Henare.
In addition to these three films, Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts film competition’s 2023 finalists are Pati Tyrell (Tulouna Le Lagi), Robert George (Whakaako kia Whakaora / Educate to Liberate), Keelan Walker (Bringing Mere Home) and Tia Barrett (He Pounamu Ko Āu).
The eight finalist films were selected by Ngā Whanaunga co-curators, Wairoa Māori Film Festival director Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka) and Pollywood Film Festival director Craig Fasi, and will screen in 15 centres throughout the festival.
See the gallery here.