Wellington filmmaker Gaylene Preston will be the Guest Selector for the New Zealand International Film Festival’s (NZIFF) only competition strand, the New Zealand’s Best short film competition.
Five to six selected New Zealand shorts will premiere in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch where audiences are encouraged to vote for their favourite short from Preston’s shortlist. Previous Guest Selectors have included Lee Tamahori (2016), Christine Jeffs (2015), Andrew Adamson (2014), Alison Maclean (2013) and Roger Donaldson (2012).
Gaylene Preston is one of New Zealand’s most recognised and valued filmmakers, with a screen career spanning four decades and writer, director and producer credits covering feature films, documentaries and TV drama series. In 2001 she was honoured by the New Zealand Arts Foundation, becoming New Zealand’s first Filmmaker Laureate. In 2002 she was appointed an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit for her services to filmmaking. Preston is the recipient of a WIFT NZ Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2016 New Zealand Women of Influence Award for Arts and Culture, the SPADA Industry Champion Award and the Services to Cinema award in the 2017 NZ Film Awards (the “Moas”). Her work includes Mr Wrong (1985), War Stories Our Mother’s Never Told Us (1995) and television series Bread and Roses (1993) and Hope and Wire (2014).
Preston’s latest film My Year with Helen will screen at NZIFF this year.
“We’re delighted to have Gaylene join as this year’s Guest Selector for the New Zealand’s Best Short Film competition. She is a pioneering filmmaker and is renowned for being generous with her time and wisdom, having served on the boards of New Zealand’s main screen organisations as well as mentoring many NZ filmmakers. We look forward to receiving her selection of shorts for the competition. We received 83 submissions which my programming colleague Michael McDonnell and I have shortlisted to 12 for Preston to consider,” says NZIFF Director Bill Gosden.
This year’s NZ’s Best finalists will be eligible for three prizes. Madman Entertainment will again support the title award, the Madman Entertainment Best Short Film Award. The cash prize of $5,000 is donated by the Australasian distribution company. The winner will be chosen by a three-person jury appointed by NZIFF and Madman Entertainment.
The participation of Sir James Wallace together with the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Productions Ltd will continue the Friends of the Civic Award. The Wallace Foundation stepped in two years ago to fund the award after the dissolution of the longstanding donors, the Friends of the Civic. The Wallace Friends of the Civic Award will be a cash prize of $3,000 and a Golden Elephant Trophy awarded to the film or contributor to a film deemed to merit special recognition.
The Audience Choice Award will be selected by audience members who attend the NZ’s Best screenings in Auckland and Wellington. Audience members will be invited to rank the finalists and the film that receives the highest rating will win a 25% share of the box office takings from the New Zealand’s Best screenings in the four main centres. In 2016 this prize was over $4,000.
NZIFF is run by a charitable trust and encourages lively interactions between films, filmmakers and New Zealand audiences in 13 towns and cities around the country. The full NZIFF programme will be available from Friday 30 June for Wellington. NZIFF starts in Wellington from 28 July.