Lights, camera, action! – NZBS backs youth film competition

News News & events

28 Sep 2017

The international competition, which debuted in New Zealand/Aotearoa last year, challenges filmmakers, aged 20 and under, to create a three-minute silent film set to one of 10 musical scores composed especially for the festival.

Ara has sponsored the first prize of $2000 through the New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) to encourage young people to get involved in the craft of filmmaking. “Story telling is at the heart of what we teach at the New Zealand Broadcasting School at Ara, whether it be sound, text or moving pictures,” Tony Simons, Head of NZBS, says.

“For that reason, we are proud to be so closely associated with an international screen competition that promotes silent film; story-telling in one of its purest forms.”

Award-winning organ composer Nathan Avakian performing live at the inaugural IYSFF New Zealand Regionals held at Baycourt Community & Arts Centre in Tauranga in 2016. In the background is a scene from last year’s winning entry An Homage.

Ara NZBS student Micah Winiata was last year’s winning filmmaker, and returns this year as one of the Local Jury Judges. Micah and his team Free Chicken just recently won the 2017 HP 48HOURS film competition. He will be part of a group viewing and scoring all the submissions and determining the Top 45 films to be shown in IYSFF and presented to Celebrity Judge, Tim Balme, to choose the NZ winners.

This year there are 10 awards on the line, starting with the NZBS First Place prize of $2000 and the chance to represent Aotearoa at next year’s IYSFF Global Awards Show in Portland, Oregon.

The 10 winners will be announced at the 2017 IYSFF NZ Regional Finals at Baycourt Community & Arts Centre in Tauranga on 22 November.

IYSFF Founder Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk attended the inaugural NZ Regionals at Baycourt in 2016. “Your beautiful country and rich cultural heritage set the stage for some wonderful filmmaking, and as hoped we saw some wonderful films last year. In fact, a winning film by the Davison brothers and sister included Liam Davison, who at 10 years old was the youngest winning filmmaker in festival history! Way to go New Zealand!

“To all those filmmakers busy finishing their films to make the October 1 deadline, know we will give the winning filmmakers the chance to have their films seen around the world, as well as becoming official entries to compete at the Global Award Show held in the US where $5000 USD is awarded in prize money. Good luck filmmakers!”

This year Kiwi filmmakers will vie for a total cash prize pool of $6500 – $750 Highly Recommended prize sponsored by South Pacific Pictures, $1000 Third Place prize sponsored by Priority One, $1500 Second Place prize sponsored by The University of Waikato, and $2000 First Place prize sponsored by NZBS.

Also up for grabs are five $250 prizes sponsored by Metro Marketing (Best Director), Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (Best Actor & Best Cinematography/Special FX), Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School (Best Production Design), and Campbell Squared (Editing).

Baycourt Manager Megan Peacock Coyle thanked all the major award sponsors for their generosity, and in-kind sponsors NZME, BOP Film, Downtown Tauranga, Boosted Crowdfunding and Artisan Framing and Plaques for their fantastic support for the 2017 IYSFF NZ Regionals.

“In 2016 we received 41 entries from all over Aotearoa, and the stories those filmmakers told without using any dialogue was utterly incredible. So we are very excited to see what stories our young filmmakers have to share with us and New Zealand in 2017.”

Entries for the 2017 International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF) New Zealand Regionals close on Sunday 1 October. For competition rules, submission guidelines, and to enter the competition, visit