Issue date: 
Monday, 12 August 2013

Seventeen year old New Zealander Natasha Bishop, the youngest filmmaker ever to have a film selected for the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF), is celebrating today after winning two awards at the festival.

Her short film Arboraceous won the Best Newcomer and Best Animation awards at the festival's closing night gala awards ceremony in Toyama, Japan.

Fellow New Zealand film River Dog was also a winner on the night, taking home the Environment Award and Grand Award.

“I’m really amazed and honoured to win these awards,” says Bishop, who has been at the festival representing her film.  “It’s been an awesome experience to be at JWFF and to see my film screen with all these great films from around the world.  To be given these awards just makes it even more special.”

The biennial festival is among the most prestigious of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.  This year it selected just 43 films to screen in competition, with Arboraceous and River Dog up against films made by the BBC, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and other international broadcasting giants.

Arboraceous was made as part of The Outlook for Someday 2012 sustainability film challenge for young people.  It won the Department of Conservation Big Picture Award and was also honoured as The Body Shop Standout Winner.  The film was written, directed and animated by Natasha Bishop, who also composed and performed the film’s music.

Short documentary River Dog was made by James Muir and Oscar Hunter as part of a Masters degree in Natural History Filmmaking at Otago University in 2010, which Muir continued production on into 2011.  The film deals with the issues surrounding cattle grazing in rural New Zealand rivers, and has won several other awards, including Best New Zealand Film at the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival, and Best Emerging Talent at the Documentary Edge Film Festival.

You can watch Arboraceous here:

View the trailer for River Dog here:

The 2013 Japan Wildlife Film Festival took place from 8 - 11 August.

Pictured: Grant Muir and Natasha Bishop at the JWFF awards ceremony.

Last updated: 
Monday, 12 August 2013