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Talent Spotter Named Screen Industry Champion

News Release
19 November 2004


Talent Spotter Named Screen Industry “Champion of the Year”

Top talent agent, Diana Rowan, has been named as the SPADA OnFilm Industry Champion of the Year. The award, which recognises passion and professionalism in the screen industry, was presented by Associate Minister of Arts, Judith Tizard, at the screen industry’s annual TVNZ conference dinner (Friday, 19 November).

Diana Rowan is probably best known in New Zealand as a casting director having cast, amongst other things, In My Father’s Den, Whale Rider, Rain, Navigator, The Piano and the television series, Hercules and Xena.

Diana was nominated for her “immeasureable passion, commitment, integrity and success in helping NZ drama.” Her greatest success has been in identifying and casting two unknown and untrained child actors, Anna Paquin and Keisha Castle-Hughes, who have since been nominated for Oscars. More recently, Diana has cast actor, Emily Barclay, in Brad McGann’s In My Father’s Den.

In her casting career she has cast everything from short, low budget films through to international productions as well as directing three short films and two documentaries.

Currently, Diana is casting Roger Donaldson’s The World’s Fastest Indian with Sir Anthony Hopkins, as well as Toa Fraser’s No.2 with executive producer, Tim White.

The Industry Champion award recognises a person who has demonstrated passion and professionalism in making a significant contribution to the production industry.

Nominations were made from across the television and film industry, and the winner was selected by a judging panel of OnFilm and SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association) staffers. The winner

Past winners have included Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (2001), John Barnett (2002) and John McRae (2003).

New Filmmaker of the Year Announced

Auckland filmmaker, Florian Habicht has won the coveted New Filmmaker of the Year Award at the screen industry annual conference.

Presented at the SPADA (The Screen Production and Development Association) TVNZ Dinner in Auckland, the Award is the primary recognition in New Zealand for emerging filmmakers who have displayed special talent, excellence and creativity in their film making to date.

“This award is a great opportunity for new filmmakers to make their mark” said SPADA chief executive Penelope Borland.

Florian Habicht, a finalist for the award in 2002 and 2003, has a unique body of work, consisting of several short films and three feature length digital films which have been exhibited extensively throughout New Zealand and in film festivals internationally.

His third film, the documentary Kaikohe Demolition, was a highlight at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival.

Florian’s films combine a unique sense of humour and odd-ball narratives with seductive and lush imagery.

The Award was presented to Florian by Vanessa Alexander, Trevor Haysom and Greg Page, the three judges for this year’s award.

Florian receives over $28,000 worth of prizes from the Award’s sponsors: Park Road Post, Panavision, CineFinance, Kodak and Stage and Screen Travel.

Independent Producer of the Year Award

The inaugural Independent Producer of the Year Award has been won by Trevor Haysom, producer of In My Father’s Den, at the SPADA (Screen Production and Development Association) TVNZ dinner in Auckland (Friday 19 November).

Trevor Haysom is honoured for his outstanding contribution as an independent producer in the last twelve months.

As a producer, he has completed and overseen the release of the successful New Zealand film, In My Father’s Den. It maintained first or second position of screen averages in its first four weeks of New Zealand release and is set to gross over the $1 million by this weekend.

In My Father’s Den has also been critically acclaimed internationally. It was well received at opening night at the Sydney Film Festival 2004, awarded the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the Mercedes Benz Youth Jury Prize at the 52nd San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain.

The award was jointly presented by Dave Gibson, SPADA President, and Dame Cheryll Sotheran, Director of Creative Industries at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

“Trevor has been involved in two of the major successes of the year in both film and television and is highly regarded as a significant mentor of new talent,” said Dave Gibson.

He has also made another outstanding contribution to the screen production industry through his role as the executive producer of the animated television series, bro’Town which launched to great ratings and critical acclaim on TV3 this year

This is the first time this award has been presented and is proudly supported by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

SPADA gratefully acknowledges its sponsors:

New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Investment New Zealand, TVNZ, TV3, Buddle Findlay, cineFinance, NZ Television Archives, New Zealand On Air, FIUA, OnFilm, Screenrights, Film Finances, Auckland City Council, Oktobor, Xtreme Forwarding, and Atomic Coffee.

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