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Images: NZ Film Wins Best Screenplay In LA

July 22, 2002

New Zealand Film Wins Best Screenplay In Los Angeles

Debut New Zealand feature This is Not a Love Story has won the Screenwriting Award at this year’s Dances With Films festival in Los Angeles.

This is Not a Love Story is produced by Andrew Calder and Keith Hill, and written and directed by Keith Hill, who developed the concept and screenplay for This is Not a Love Story in collaboration with his principal cast. Describing the thinking behind his movie, Hill said: "My intention was always to make a film with characters that reflect what we are as adults, and all the complex and contradictory behavior that involves."

This is Not a Love Story tells the story of a love triangle in which a romantic young woman decides she needs more life experiences, and the troubled couple across the street are just the people to provide it. The film is a wry, humorous story about sex and love, success and failure, creativity and careers.

This is Not a Love Story is the first feature from Keith Hill, who has been making short films for the past 18 years. These include Junk, which Hill produced, and which won Best Short Film at the 2001 Nokia NZ Film Awards, and Laxmi, which in 2000 was selected for the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In embarking on his current project, Hill said: "I decided that unless I jumped in and made a feature of my own, it was unlikely I would ever have the opportunity to do so. A number of the cast and crew were prepared to jump with me, because the opportunity to work collaboratively is rare in New Zealand, due to the small number of features which are made here."

Dances With Films is the only festival in the US operating with the mandate that all competition films have no "known" directors, actors and producers. The 2002 festival attracted over 1,200 entries from around the world. The Hollywood Reporter calls Dances With Films “the defiant festival of raw talent.” Now in its 5th year, past entrants into Dances With Films have made a major impact on the independent film scene, with their films being screened in major festivals such as Sundance, Toronto and Rotterdam – and receiving cinema, television and video distribution deals. Speed for Thespians, a short film that premiered in the 2000 festival, was nominated for this year’s Oscars.

Beyond the Dances With Films premiere, Calder said: "We already have another festival invitation, to the St Tropez Film Festival in October. The festival director also wants to organise a screening in Paris for French distributors. Beyond that, I expect the Dances With Films screening will trigger other opportunities for the film internationally. In New Zealand, we plan to release the film early next year, with a premiere at Auckland's Lido Cinema."

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