There were moments when you could hear the crowd gasp. In fact, one woman screamed. These were just some of the reactions from the Opening Night and Award Ceremony of New Zealand’s premier international short film festival, Show Me Shorts. Now in its 13th year, the annual Show Me Shorts Festival brings together the very best short films from across the globe, made by some of the world’s most talented filmmakers.
The night kicked off at The Civic in Auckland, with some opening introductions, a thank you to sponsors and many mentions of keeping things ‘short’. We sat amongst an eclectic range of people from big-time film and television personalities, to the passionate filmmakers and short film lovers here to witness this year’s best. And let’s not forget sitting in the presence of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
After the introductions were made, the festival kicked off. Each award category was presented, on what many said, was a brightly lit stage. From the laughter came applause as each winner (in attendance) spoke a few words. After each award was given, the winning film was shown.
The night ended with an after party in the Wintergarden to celebrate the winners and some very poor attempts from us trying to mix with the likes of Rhys Darby, and Carol Hirschfeld… the closest we got to was handing a glass of wine to Carol.
It was definitely a great night out to experience the best in New Zealand short film.
Here are the winning films and what we thought of them:
Panavision Best Cinematographer – Ian McCarroll
DEGNZ Best Director – Summer Agnew
Tensions rise on a hunting trip for two brothers. The higher they climb into mountainous terrain the closer they get to the truth.
This film was beautifully shot, and it’s no surprise Ian McCaroll won the Panavision Best Cinematographer award. The vast landscape shots were just amazing, and for a moment we remembered how beautiful New Zealand was. The story was dark, and the acting was great. We were just left wondering after the film what it all meant.
LAUGH IT OFF – CHELSEA JADE
NZ on Air Best Music Video – Alexander Gandar & Kate Moses
This music video for pop artist Chelsea Jade’s hit Laugh It Off takes us on a strange and beautiful night-time drive.
It’s great that there is a music video category at Show Me Shorts, and we really enjoyed NZ on Air Best Music VIdeo, Laugh It Off. It was fun, mesmerizing, and had a certain quality to it that really drew us in. We might have to add this one to our playlist.
NZFC Special Jury Prize – Simeon Duncombe for Production Design
A public toilet teaches one dirty customer the importance of cleanliness.
A great award to really showcase the plethora of roles in filmmaking. The NZFC Special Jury Prize went to Simeon Duncombe for Production Design and watching the film you see why. It’s a fun and creative film about toilet etiquette. The film’s set design is incredible… we don’t want to spoil it so you better watch it yourself.
DEGNZ Best Editor – Betsy Bauer
A young man begins to unravel from the stress of living next to a family stuck in a violent relationship.
This was 17 minutes of intensity. The pacing of this film made it so unpredictable, and it’s interesting to see domestic violence from another point of view. It was dark and gritty, and there were a few gasps and screams from the audience.
SAE Best International Film – Sorcha Bacon & Harry Lighton
On the day after Christmas, a Catholic priest from Cork drives his nephew to prison.
From the UK comes a gem of a short film. A well acted and visual film. There were so many interesting twists and turns in the film that had us feeling so many emotions. This film definitely hit the spot for us.
MY FRIEND MICHAEL JONES
Department of Post Best NZ Film – Alex Lovell, Eldon Booth, Ian Leaupepe & Samson Rambo
Toi Whakaari Best Actor – Villa Junior Lemanu
Final Draft Best Screenplay – Eldon Booth, Ian Leaupepe & Samson Rambo
MJ is a teenage boy with OCD living in Ōtara, New Zealand. An inspiring story of friendship that connects Pasifika culture, LGBTQI awareness, overcoming bullying and anxiety disorder.
It’s hard to fault a film that can provide humour, but also an emotional rawness that felt so real. The message in the film is definitely one that is extremely important to the youth of today. It was beautifully shot, beautifully written, and the performances were incredibly heartwarming and convincing. It is no wonder My Friend Michael Jones took out the three awards it was nominated for including the Department of Post Best NZ Film.
Show Me Shorts Film Festival is screening throughout October and November at 28 cinemas nationwide from Kaitaia to Stewart Island.
Audience members can vote for the Calibrate Legal / Patrick McGrath Barrister People’s Choice Award by going to showmeshorts.co.nz. The winner of this final award will be announced after the festival.
Words by Isaiah Tour & Jeff Lloyd.