The New Zealand Film Commission takes its hat off to the talented team behind Shopping for winning this incredibly prestigious award.
Shopping is the first feature film from writing and directing team Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland. Their short films The Six Dollar Fifty Man and Run have already earned the pair a long list of awards.
Announcing the Grand Prix of the Generation 14plus International section for the best feature film, the jury had this to say about Shopping and Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland:
"An extremely compelling first film with a fantastic lead actor. We loved watching him on screen and felt a deep empathy with him. Sharp editing, strong visual choices and a complex, painful and loving portrayal of family. We appreciated the specificity of the world you brought us into. Your dedication to your vision is palpable."
The Berlin International Film Festival is one of the oldest and most respected on the international film calendar.
"This is an incredible achievement for the very talented team behind Shopping," says New Zealand Film Commission Chief Executive Graeme Mason. "Mark and Louis are no strangers to sweeping awards and to win this Grand Prix is yet another fantastic recognition of their talent."
Shopping was shot on the Kapiti Coast and in Wellington. The film's cast includes Jacek Koman (Moulin Rouge, Australia, Defiance, The Hunter) as Bennie, Alistair Browning (Rain) as Terry and introduces Kevin Paulo as Willie and Julian Dennison as Solomon.
Shopping is set in 1981 in a world of muscle cars, racial tensions and a thieving bird, all of which inform the small town life of brothers Willie and Solomon. After a chance encounter with charismatic thief Bennie and his close-knit gang of 'shoppers', Willie is seduced into a criminal world that allows him to escape mounting tensions with his volatile father. But as Bennie's hold over him grows Willie finds himself in over his head; and when Solomon is left to fend for himself at home, Willie's two worlds collide with shattering consequences.
The Six Dollar Fifty Man and Run were honoured by the Cannes Short Film jury with a Special Distinction in the Short Film Competition at the 2009 and 2007 (respectively) Cannes International Film Festival. In 2010 The Six Dollar Fifty Man was honoured with a Special Mention at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival – Generation Kplus, received the Jury Prize for International Short Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival and was long-listed for the 2011 Academy Awards. Albiston and Sutherland were recipients of the New Zealand Arts Foundation's 2010 New Generation Awards.
Produced by Warp Films Australia's Anna McLeish and Sarah Shaw (producers of Cannes awarded Snowtown), Shopping was financed by the New Zealand Film Commission with support from Fulcrum Media Finance. It will be distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Madman Entertainment with a New Zealand theatrical release scheduled for this year. NZ Film, the sales arm of the NZFC, is handling world sales of the film.