For this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film competition, NZIFF programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 81 submissions to make a shortlist of 12, from which filmmaker Lee Tamahori selected these six finalists. A jury comprising producer Carthew Neal (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), novelist Emily Perkins and Madman Entertainment’s Buffy McKinnon awarded the $5,000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize to Wait. The $3,000 Wallace Friends of the Civic award was also awarded to Wait by donors the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Media Ltd, as the film they deemed to merit special recognition. The King took away the Audience Award, consisting of 25% of the box office from the NZIFF screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch. Lee’s comments on each film appear in italics.
“It’s always tricky choosing finalists. Excellence in filmmaking comes in many forms. Sometimes the simplest of films triumphs, one can never tell. I look for the most engaging elements in a film, be it animation, documentary or drama. Narrative is important, though not imperative. Imagination and visual stimulation are just as vital. The shortlist I have chosen makes me appreciate why I got into this medium in the first place.” — Lee Tamahori
A young buck suffers a major case of antler-envy in this charming and witty animated short. Great commentary on New Zealand. Funny, irreverent, with excellent use of music and imagery.
In this accomplished outer-space drama, a stranded astronaut must wrestle control of her spaceship from its errant computer. A good story, well told. Great set design, sharp editing and generally excellent tech credits. A gripping sci-fi film.
A young girl helps her immigrant mother overcome both cultural and emotional barriers. Tense and absorbing narrative with an intentionally enigmatic finale. Good tech credits and finely tuned performances.
Winner of the Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2016 and the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award.
In an animated dystopia, where food and resources are scarce, a mad scientist ventures into the night to procure an icky new food source… Excellent production values encompassing a timely global story. Very Tim Burton-esque, but thoroughly entertaining and humorous.
A young girl and her disembodied father search for his missing body in this fantasy short filled with swords and sorcery. Succinct narrative, excellent production and technical skills. A concise piece of storytelling in such a short format. Good performances help to sustain tension.
Meet Andy Stankovich, scrap-metal merchant by day and sweet-voiced performer by night. Likeable documentary with a warm heart. A classic New Zealand character, with a touching bunch of associates.
Winner of the 2016 Audience Award, The King will take home 25% of the box office takings from screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.