Diverse films and voices win big at New Zealand International Film Festival

Nancy From Now On (2019). Source: New Zealand International Film Festival

Diverse films and voices, including a coming-of-age film about a young man preparing for his first drag performance, has won big at the New Zealand International Film Festival’s short film competition.

Ninety-one films were entered into the New Zealand’s Best film competition, of which six were selected as finalists.

One of the big winners of the night was Hinekura (2019), directed by Becs Arahanga. The film follows Hine, a young girl who is initiated into adulthood after she begins her first period.

The short film won both the Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award, which comes with a $4000 cash prize, and the 2019 Audience Award, which will take home 25 per cent of the box office takings from screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The jury - made up of journalist Mihingarangi Forbes, Australian filmmaker and actor Mirrah Foulkes, and Madman Entertainment New Zealand’s Andrew Cozens - called the film “powerful and authentic.”

“We felt Hinekura should be commended for its uniquely indigenous perspective of a young woman's rite of passage. The kāhui (group) of strong and proud women exemplified mana wāhine,” they wrote in a joint statement.

Meanwhile, the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award was awarded to Nancy From Now On (2019), which comes with a $4000 cash prize.

The film, directed by Keely Meechan, follows a young drag queen as they come into their own.

Nancy From Now On, the jury said, “heralds an exciting, new and unique directorial voice and centres around a gorgeous lead performance.”

The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film was awarded to Egg Cup Requiem (2019).

The documentary, directed by Prisca Bouchet and Nick Mayow, follows the touching tale of 89-year-old Johnny Green and his 9000-piece egg cup collection.

“In a mere 12 minutes this charming film had us laughing and crying in equal measure,” the jury said of the film.

Documentary Ross & Beth (2014) - the prequel to Bellbird, which screened at this year's New Zealand International Film Festival - won the short film competition in 2014.

The six finalists for the competition were selected by filmmaker Jane Campion.