The NZFC funding scheme Fresh Shorts has this week offered grants to 16 new short films.
A core part of the NZFC’s commitment to talent development, Fresh Shorts had a total of 270 applications this year, with 151 applications at the $10,000 funding level and 119 at the $30,000 funding level. Filmmakers from a wide background of previous work applied for funding with projects that ranged from animations set in New Zealand, to documentaries set in the Philippines and a drama set in space.
“New Zealand shorts have frequent success at international festivals, drawing the world’s attention to our whole film industry” says NZFC Short Film Manager Lisa Chatfield. “Fresh Shorts is our chance to identify talent and invest in careers at the grassroots level.”
The final 16 films were selected by a panel of both industry and NZFC staff consisting of: Toa Fraser (Writer/Director), Tina Cleary (Casting Director), Jonno Woodford-Robinson (Editor), Chris Payne and Kath Akuhata-Brown (NZFC Development Executives) and Lisa Chatfield.
The list of applicants was narrowed down to a shortlist of 50 projects that the panel reviewed before choosing the final recipients. The selection process considers the team, the strength of the individual script and the director’s vision for creating a cinematic experience. The selected films are listed below with some panel comments highlighting the strengths of each application.
2012 has been an exciting year for Fresh Shorts. Filmmakers from the first funding round in 2010 have already made a mark in the international short film world, with selections at premiere festivals including Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand, Tampere and Melbourne. LAMBS, written and directed by Sam Kelly and funded in 2010, received the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the New Zealand Film Festival and was also voted best film by the audience.
“On top of the critical success, Fresh Shorts filmmakers are pushing their careers forward with feature films in development and higher level shorts grants from the NZFC” says Lisa Chatfield. “This scheme is fantastic for identifying talented people who we’re keen to support.”
Examples include Matthew Saville and Hamish Bennett. Writer/Director Matthew Saville made HITCH HIKE through Fresh in 2010 and will now make DIVE with a $90,000 Premiere Shorts grant. Writer/Director Hamish Bennett made THE DUMP with a $10,000 Fresh grant in 2010, and will now make ROSS AND BETH with a higher production level $30,000 Fresh Shorts grant.
The NZFC congratulates all the successful teams.
Contact: Lisa Chatfield, NZFC Short Film Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 526 452
Eight short films have been green lit at a $10,000 budget level for 2012:
Calculating Alternative Route
Jae Morrison (director), Levi Slavin (writer)
A dark comedy about an aging highway inspector, who only has his Sat-Nav for company, on the eve of his forced retirement.
The characters feel realised, the relationship is original and engaging , and the team is very capable. It has a nice contemporary quality in the vein of Spike Jonze.
Charlie Bleakly (director/co-writer), Cohen Holloway (co-writer), Alex Clark (producer)
COCONUT is a dark bro-mantic comedy between two best friends who, despite all their personal failings, will do anything for each other.
The writing is funny and true, and the project has a good sense of collaboration. It’s important that films are entertaining, and COCONUT is exactly that.
Hilda Brodie's Love & Movie Films (documentary)
Liam Bachler (writer/director)
A documentary ode to Hilda Brodie, a Scottish immigrant post-WWII, whose 8mm films capture an outsider's view of New Zealand in the 1960s.
Making this film would reawaken interest in Hilda’s work and her place in New Zealand history. It’s an exciting subject with a strong team behind it.
Ayla Amano (director), Jodhi Hoani (writer), Hiona Henare (producer)
Every weekday morning, a Nana gets up early and dresses up warm. Where she goes when she leaves the house is a mystery - only two people know the answer.
This is an intriguing, enigmatic idea that is not often seen on screen. The team is exciting and has received mentorship from Script to Screen to develop their story further.
Faye McNeil (writer/director)
An elderly woman is forced to make a choice for survival in a violent world.
It’s very contained and only tries to explore one idea, with a great twist at the end. PIGEON speaks to the potential and experience of this team.
Gareth van Niekerk (director), Adam Lound (writer)
Brian and Violet travel from their suburban home in Howick into the city for their anniversary, reliving the psycho-geography of their relationship.
The story is told in an original way and we really feel the characters’ journey. The experimental nature of Reservations is very visual, and has heart.
Shooting an Elephant
Abigail Greenwood (director), Kate Prior (writer)
Emily is friends with the popular Brooke, but also enjoys hanging out with the less popular Rebecca. When Rebecca lashes out at Brooke, Emily is tasked with doling out the punishment.
We were really drawn to this strong female narrative and felt excited by the team’s approach. The material is bold and relatable.
Alex Backhouse (writer/director)
A fictitious documentary about pseudoscientist Theo Velasquez investigating unexplained magnetic fields in the Rangipo Desert.
UNNATURAL HISTORY is experimental, distinctive and haunting, with a strong sense of an original voice.
Eight short films have been green lit at a $30,000 budget level for 2012:
Richard Curtis (writer/director), Jillian White (producer)
Left alone with just her spiritual guides, a young girl upholds the mana of the tribe in order to protect the land for generations to come.
A moody, atmospheric piece that is also a personal celebration of identity, AHI KĀ is a story all New Zealanders should know about.
Jamie Lawrence (writer/director), Kelly Kilgour (producer)
A mother tries to end her teenage son’s relationship with an older woman at the risk of losing him altogether.
Jamie’s unique style is exciting and this film explores new themes and territory for his work.
In the Rubbish Tin (animation)
Riwia Brown (writer/director), Catherine Fitzgerald (producer), Phill Simmonds (animator)
Based on a short story, an abandoned girl creates an imaginary world to cope with her tough reality.
A gentle yet powerful story that opens up political discourse. The team is a positive creative collaboration, and has what it takes to make an animation that will really resonate.
Ivan Barge (director), Matthew Harris (writer), Joszef Fityus (producer)
When a glamour photographer runs over a child’s pet, he’s forced to fabricate a story about its disappearance.
The script makes you smile, holding the tension and comedy beautifully through to the end. MADAM BLACK is entertaining and engaging, and builds on the team’s previous self-funded work.
Dan Kircher (co-writer/director), Geoff Cochrane (co-writer), Claire Kelly (producer)
An impressionistic portrait of a poet who, while harbouring fantasies of writing screenplay, gives in to the throws of alcoholism.
We loved the sombre, lyrical tone of this piece and enjoyed the way it’s left open to the audience’s interpretation. Dan’s previous work demonstrates an exciting new filmmaking voice.
Jack Woon (writer/director), Julia Parnell (producer)
With the help of his ancestors, Mako teaches his younger brother that the one left standing isn’t always the one who wins the fight.
Jack has a very engaging, distinctive directorial style. This script goes straight to the heart and the dance elements have the potential to be exhilarating.
Ross and Beth
Hamish Bennett (writer/director), Orlando Stewart (producer)
A rough-as-guts farmer is unexpectedly forced to cope with loss, but his wife has left him an unlikely saviour.
A gorgeous story with an assured tone and lovely gentle character work, ROSS AND BETH is an exciting step for this team.
Stone, Paper, Scissors
Yamin Tun (writer/director), Vicky Pope (co-producer), Dan Higgins (co-producer)
A young girl realises she is witnessing the breakdown of her parents’ marriage in a land far from home.
The script is gracefully spare, and Yamin’s unique vision is backed by a strong team.