Five short films have been selected by this year’s Guest Selector: celebrated filmmaker and Arts Laureate Florian Habicht, as finalists for Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival’s (NZIFF) New Zealand’s Best short film competition.
Finalists will compete for a total prize pool of $15,500, with a jury awarding three prizes at the premiere screening of New Zealand’s Best in Auckland on Saturday, 6 August, and the Audience Award, as voted by the public, awarded on the closing night of the festival in Wellington, Sunday 14 August.
The five finalists are Saviour (dir: Alistair MacDonald), Manny and Quinn (dir: Siobhan Marshall), Perianayaki (dir: Bala Murali Shingade), Rustling (dir: Tom Furniss), and Trees (dir: Tom Scott, Ben Bryan).
Habicht selected the five finalists from a shortlist curated by NZIFF Head of Programming Michael McDonnell, and Senior Programmer Sandra Reid.
On selecting the films, Habicht said, "I had a shower, shaved, put on my favourite suit, and then watched the pre-selection at home by myself, imagining I was under the stars in The Civic. Five films took my breath away, and they are all so different from each other.
“I loved the time travelling in these works. I loved discovering new talents. 'Waiting for Godot' like characters in 1820 Aotearoa, Mannequin love in Saint Kevin’s Arcade, a lamb tale, a supermarket worker I fell in love with, and a vision of the future that hauntingly doesn’t feel too different to the last couple of years! Enjoy."
A three-person jury will choose the winners of three major cash prizes, the Flicks Award for Best Short Film ($7500), the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award ($4000) recognising a fresh voice: filmmaking that gives life to stories of those less often represented in film, or that speaks to new or existing audiences in different ways; and the Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award ($4000).
Audiences at New Zealand’s Best screenings in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara will be asked to vote for their favourite short to decide the Audience Award. The winner of this prize takes away a 25 percent share of the box office takings from the New Zealand's Best screenings in the four main centres.
New Zealand’s Best Finalists 2022:
Director/Producer: Alistair MacDonald, Producer: Simone Ashton
A troubled missionary, led by a rough Pākehā guide, treks through the forest of 1820s Aotearoa.
Manny and Quinn
Director/Screenplay: Siobhan Marshall, Producers: Florence Hartigan, Millen Baird
An introverted shopkeeper forges a new friendship with the mystery man next door through a playful yet competitive game of dress-ups with their shop mannequins.
Director: Bala Murali Shingade, Producer/Screenplay: Shreya Gejji
A recent Sri Lankan immigrant begins another day at her job stacking shelves at the local supermarket. With her limited grasp of English, she struggles to understand or be understood by colleagues and customers alike.
Director/Screenplay: Tom Furniss, Producer: Morgan Waru
In a family of sheep rustlers, a 15-year-old boy must go up against his domineering father in order to help his younger brother keep the baby lamb left orphaned by their latest slaughter.
Directors: Tom Scott, Ben Bryan, Producer: Mark Duncan
In a dystopian world where all trees are outlawed, one council worker chooses to rebel.
NZIFF will also be screening a colourised version of Florian Habicht’s modern cult classic, Woodenhead, in Auckland, following its NZIFF premiere in Wellington in 2021. The original black-and-white print of the film first screened at the festival in 2003.