The winners for New Zealand’s premier, international short film festival, Show Me Shorts, have been unveiled. The announcements took place at the festival’s gala Opening Night and Awards Ceremony in Auckland on Saturday 5 October.
Kiwi filmmakers Sarah Cook and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu took home the Oscar-accredited Department of Post Best NZ Film award for their moving short drama Ani, about a girl and her dad left behind. Their cinematographer Maria Inés Manchego was also awarded the Panavision Best Cinematographer prize.
The jury called Ani a perfectly formed short film. “An immense amount of thought, talent and effort has clearly gone into this film from everyone involved, and the result is a natural, powerful and relevant story,” they said.
The DEGNZ Best Director award went to Armağan Ballantyne for Hush.
While a relative newcomer, Margaret Sydenham took home the Toi Whakaari Best Actor for her performance in Hush. The jury commended her nuanced and heartfelt performance, “Margaret Sydenham brings an authenticity to this character leaving her etched in our hearts and minds. She is a stunning young actress on the rise,” they said.
Female filmmakers took out all but one of the New Zealand awards, with Judith Cowley receiving the Final Draft Best Screenplay award for Walk a Mile, and Annie Collins taking out the DEGNZ Best Editor award for Rū. Collins was praised for her deft handling of point of view and building tension that contributed towards a thriller that has you on the edge of your seat. The jury called Cowley’s film “bittersweet, but strangely uplifting. It got me right in the feels!”
The award for NZ on Air Best Music Video went to Alexander Gandar for the second year in a row, along with his team of Tom Augustine and Amanda Jane Robinson for One By the Venom – Finn Andrews. “Clever, original, edgy and humorous,” said the jury. “This video accompanied the song brilliantly while showing off a range of filmmaking skills and ideas.”
The Best International Film award went to American short film The Chef made by Ithaca Yixian Deng and Hao Zheng. Judges called this film “an allegory of our time, beautifully exploring xenophobia within a sci-fi context. This film has incredible production values across the board with beautiful cinematography, strong direction and memorable performances that tell a very human story within a sci-fi world. It will stay with audiences long after the they leave the cinema.”
This film and Ani are now eligible to enter the 2021 Academy Awards.
Full list of winners:
Department of Post Best NZ Film: Sarah Cook & Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu for Ani
Best International Film: Ithaca Yixian Deng & Hao Zheng for The Chef (USA)
DEGNZ Best Director: Armağan Ballantyne for Hush
Toi Whakaari Best Actor: Margaret Sydenham for Hush
Final Draft Best Screenplay: Judith Cowley for Walk a Mile
DEGNZ Best Editor: Annie Collins for Rū
Panavision Best Cinematographer: Maria Inés Manchego for Ani
NZ on Air Best Music Video: Alexander Gandar, Tom Augustine & Amanda Jane Robinson for One By the Venom – Finn Andrews
During the festival audience members can vote for their favourite short film to win the SAE People’s Choice Award by going to showmeshorts.co.nz. The winner of this final award will be announced after the festival.
The jury panels assembled for the 2019 Show Me Shorts awards included highly regarded screen industry practitioners: Japanese short film programmer Eiji Shimada from Sapporo Short Film Festival; celebrated cinematographer Simon Raby; renowned film critic Francesca Rudkin; successful screenwriter Nick Ward; award-winning editor Betsy Bauer; Estonian filmmaker/programmer/distributor Peter Murdmaa; and the NZFC’s Head of Talent Development Dale Corlett.
Show Me Shorts Film Festival is screening October 5-24 at cinemas nationwide. Screening dates and locations are available here.