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Fund backed finalists in SPADA

17 November 2004

Fund backed finalists in SPADA

New Filmmaker of the Year Award

The three finalists in the SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award 2004, to be announced in Auckland on Friday 19 November, have all made films with the support of the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

The finalists - Briar March, Patrick Gillies and Florian Habicht - will learn who has won the SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award 2004 at a ceremony to be held during Small Country, Big Picture, the New Zealand film and television industry conference taking place over the weekend.

The Screen Innovation Production Fund, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Commission, supports the moving-image arts by funding innovative, experimental and often low-budget productions.

The SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award 2004 recognises emerging filmmakers who have displayed special talent, excellence and creativity in their filmmaking. Previous winners Jason Stutter, Gregory King and Tom Reilly have all received support from the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

Linda Halle, Screen Innovation Production Fund Adviser for Creative New Zealand, says that over the years the Fund has supported many filmmakers whose work has gone on to win awards and screen at international film festivals.

"The fact that all the finalists have received support from the Fund is a validation of its work and the grants it's making," she says. "It's the only fund available to New Zealand moving-image artists that actively encourages risk-taking and experimentation."

The winner of the SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year Award 2005 will receive more than $28,000 worth of prizes. In addition, the three finalists have been given free registration to attend the conference.

"Key players in the international film and television industry will be there," Ms Halle says. "Being able to attend the conference is a wonderful opportunity for the three young filmmakers to network and be noticed."

Patrick Gillies of Christchurch works in film and television. His most recent work, the digital feature Offensive Behaviour, premiered at the Rialto Cinema in September and has also had an offer of distribution from a New York-based distributor. Gillies has had international success with two of his short films, Admit One and Kitty. Both were selected to screen at the Montreal International Film Festival in 1999 and 2002. Kitty has also screened at numerous other international film festivals, including London, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and New Zealand. Offensive Behaviour and Kitty were made with support from the Screen Innovation Production Fund.

Briar March of Auckland is a recent graduate of Elam Fine Art School. Her most recent work, the documentary film Allie Eagle and Me, premiered at the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival 2004 and will screen at the Tahiti International Film Festival in January. In October, March received funding from the Screen Innovation Production Fund for her next project, a documentary called Night to Day: a pause between action and reaction. This film will follow four New Zealanders during a social night out in Auckland. March hopes the film will challenge the usual conventions of documentary-making, using split screens, still images, graphics and subtitles to tell her subjects' stories.
Florian Habicht of Auckland has made several short films and three feature-length digital films, which have screened throughout New Zealand and in film festivals internationally. His third film, the documentary Kaikohe Demolition, received a grant from the Screen Innovation Production Fund and was a highlight of this year's Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival. His film, Woodenhead, has just been released on DVD. As well as the New Zealand festival, it has screened at the Melbourne, Sitges, Commonwealth, Cardiff and Cannes film festivals, and AFM Markets. It will also screen at next year's Fantosporto Festival in Portugal and Festival d'Annonay in France.

Prime Minister Helen Clark recently congratulated the Screen Innovation Production Fund after a record number of 10 films supported through the Fund screened at the Telecom New Zealand International Film Festival 2004.

"This initiative clearly continues to prove its worth and I am pleased that the films produced under this Fund are being viewed by New Zealand audiences," Miss Clark said.

Responding to a steady increase in applications to the Screen Innovation Production Fund, particularly in the area of digital features, the New Zealand Film Commission has increased its annual contribution from $250,000 to $350,000.

Applications to the next funding round close on 25 February 2005. For more information about the Fund visit the funding section of Creative New Zealand's website.


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