First Horse
First Horse

New Zealand's Best 2024 

Māhutonga

The year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by guest selector, Gerard Johnstone.

Aug 18

ASB Waterfront Theatre

81 minutes
M
Offensive language, drug use, nudity & suicide

A total of 95 films were submitted for this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film competition. NZIFF Head of Programming, Michael McDonnell, Production and Events Manager Matt Bloomfield, and Junior Programmer Amanda Jane Robinson viewed them all to draw up a shortlist of 12, from which Guest Selector Gerard Johnstone selected the five finalists.  

A jury of three will select the winner of the $7500 NZIFF Patrons Best Short Film Award, the $4000 Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award, and the $4000 Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award. The winner of the audience vote takes away the Panavision Audience Award, consisting of a $5000 credit for Panavision equipment hire and 25 percent of the box office from NZIFF screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.  

The jury awards will be presented following the Auckland screening. The Panavision Audience Award will be announced at the NZIFF 2024 Auckland Closing Night on Sunday 18 August. 

Guest Selector: Gerard Johnstone
Writer and director Gerard Johnstone started his career in film through the 48Hours film contest and won two years of the competition. He went on to make the award-winning comedy The Jaquie Brown Diaries, which aired on TV3 for two seasons. He made his feature directorial debut in 2014 with haunted house horror comedy Housebound and in 2016 went on to reboot the 1980s series Terry and the Gunrunners as Terry Teo. Johnstone's second feature, killer robot horror M3gan, was released with Blumhouse in 2022.

I See You 2024

Director, Screenplay

Producer

Caroline Hutchison

Cinematography

Adam Luxton

Editor

Adam-Luka Turjak

Music

Dana Lund

Cast

Anne March, Susannah Sherriff, Kieran Charnock
17 minutes

A young mother struggles with her toddlers delayed development until a chance encounter with a charismatic young man shifts her feelings.

First Horse 2024

Producers

Puti Simich, Mia Henry-Tierney, Heperi Mita

Screenplay

Awanui Simich-Pene, Heperi Mita

Cinematography

Fred Renata

Editor

Cushla Dillon

Music

Troy Kingi

Cast

Te Atakōrihi Tūtengaehe, Troy Kingi
Aotearoa New Zealand In Te reo Māori with English subtitles
11 minutes

In pre-colonial Aotearoa a young Māori girl witnesses the best and worst of a rapidly changing world when she encounters a dying man and his horse.

Grateful Grapefruit 2023

Director, Producer, Editor

Screenplay

Sam Handley, Reuben Bonner

Cinematography

Caleb Corlett

Music

Connan Mockasin

Cast

Caroline Lowry, Connan Mockasin, David Berry, Jack Garvey, John Cocking, Gillian Davies
15 minutes

A frustrated wife at her wits end finds a message in a bottle which leads her into the mysterious world of The Hypnotist, and before long she’s on track to put the glitter back in her grapefruit.

Rochelle 2024

Director, Screenplay, Editor

Producer

Luke Sharpe

Cinematography

Ryan Heron

Music

Karl Sölve Steven

Cast

Benjamin Sawyer, Roxie Mohebbi, Glen Paul Waru
21 minutes

A brazen young man takes it upon himself to send his friend’s busted up car, Rochelle, out in style by entering it in a local demolition derby, but to get there he needs help from an unexpected source.

Lea Tupu'anga/Mother Tongue 2024

Director

Producers

Alex Lovell, Eldon Booth

Screenplay

Luciane Buchanan

Cinematography

Marie Ines Manchego

Editors

Lisa Greenfield, Anastasia Doniants

Music

Stephen Gallagher

Cast

Luciane Buchanan, Albert Rounds, Mikey Falesiu, Michael Koloi, Elizabeth Thomson
Aotearoa New Zealand In English and Tongan with English subtitles
17 minutes

A young speech therapist who has lied about her language skills must find a new way to communicate when she is assigned to an elderly Tongan patient with aphasia who can no longer speak English.