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Who’s Made The Cut?

Tuesday 28 June. 2005

Who’s Made The Cut?

The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005 Announces Its Finalists

After weeks of judging more than 450 entries across 40 categories, The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005 has found its finalists for the inaugural ceremony on July 27.

“A fantastic and healthy mix of ‘old’ faces and new talent” is how Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand (SDGNZ) President Dan Salmon is describing the full finalist list for The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005.

The new Awards, sanctioned by the industry and led by the SDGNZ are positioned as the premier film and television industry awards in New Zealand, and there is no shortage of big name players in line for honours come presentation night.

In the film section, the widely lauded feature In My Father’s Den, the Maurice Gee story of a battle-weary war photographer who returns home after the death of his father, leads the finalist round with a total of 12 finalist spots. These include nods for the prestigious Air New Zealand Best Picture, Achievement in Directing, Screenplay and Kodak Achievement in Cinematography.

In My Father’s Den faces stiff competition for Air New Zealand Best Picture and more from Robin Laing & Gaylene Preston's romantic thriller Perfect Strangers starring Sam Neill and Rachael Blake, and the Larry Parr-written and directed Fracture, a film also adapted from a Maurice Gee novel, Crime Story and produced by Charlie McClellan. Both films are finalists in 11 categories.

The fourth feature film to receive a finalist nomination this year is 50 Ways of Saying Fabulous, adapted from the Graeme Aitken novel of the same name. That finalist spot goes to 15-year old Andrew Paterson in the Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role category. If he is to win he will have to head off In My Father’s Den’s Matthew Macfadyen (Spooks, Maybe Baby, Enigma) and Perfect Strangers star and Hollywood heavy-weight Sam Neill.

In the Achievement in Directing category, two industry veterans will be up against a first time feature film director. Larry Parr, who directed Fracture, won a NZ Film Award 19 years ago for his work producing the Kiwi classic Came A Hot Friday, while Gaylene Preston so far has 11 previous NZ Film Awards to her name as well as recognition from Australia, Switzerland, Canada, France, Spain and the US. Brad McGann who directed In My Father's Den has also won numerous awards for his short film Possum although this marks his feature debut.

While the Feature Film categories unearthed three clear front-runners, the Short Film selection has proved to be more hotly contested.

Seven Short’s in total, all of which received support from the New Zealand Film Commission, will be competing in four short film categories come July 27. They are My Father’s Shoes, No Ordinary Sun, Closer, The Little Things, Eating Sausage, Rest Stop and Cockle.

Two Digital Features will battle it out for top honours also - Florian Habicht’s Kaikohe Demolition and Amarbir Singh’s 1 Nite. Habicht has already received international acclaim for his heart-warming portrayal of the characters, rural landscapes, and riotous demolition derbies in the country’s far north.

And while the third digital feature Offensive Behaviour is not a finalist for the Sony Best Digital Feature, it is alongside Kaikohe Demolition in the run up for the Images Technical Contribution to a Digital Feature award.

Salmon says the selections show New Zealand is truly producing world-class films and world-class talent and this must bode well for further international acclaim in the future.

“Having producers like Trevor Haysom, Gaylene Preston, Robin Laing and Charlie McClellan in contention shows that they are still incredibly passionate about the local industry while Brad McGann’s debut directorial nomination and Andrew Paterson’s acting nod are outstanding achievements for two first-timers,” he says.

“It is also impressive to see the international feel of the entries - especially considering the oft-noted fact that these are made with much smaller budgets and resources than those of contemporaries in other countries. Many of the short films have been selected for international festivals already and hopefully their recognition here will garner further world-wide attention.”

The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005 will also decide winners in 22 Television categories and once again the finalist nominations have uncovered a mix of legends and newcomers.

The country’s Best Drama Series will be judged from a field that includes the long-running Mercy Peak (a finalist in five categories this year) and the more recently produced Good Hands and The Insiders Guide to Happiness, the latter with a staggering 11 nominations.

In the Best Comedy Programme category, satirical cartoon series bro’Town faces stiff competition from Serial Killers and the madcap high jinx of Leigh Hart’s Moon TV.
Serial Killers, based on the stage play of the same name, is nominated for seven awards including Script, Comedy, where it will face bro’ Town and The Strip (Series II). The respective writers are James Griffin; Oscar Kightley, Mario Gaoa, David Fane and Shimpal Lelisi; and David Brechin-Smith.

In front of the camera it’s once again a blend of the familiar and relatively unknown. Robyn Malcolm (Serial Killers), Sara Wiseman (Mercy Peak) and Sophia Hawthorne (Insiders Guide to Happiness) will compete for Performance by an Actress. John Leigh (Serial Killers), Will Hall and Ben Barrington (both Insiders Guide to Happiness) will fight it out for the Actor gong.

The popular factual series Explorers presented by stalwart Peter Elliott has received three finalist nods, for Sony Achievement in Camerawork Documentary, Contribution to a Soundtrack and Presenter Entertainment/Factual.

In the hotly contested Best Documentary category Haunting Douglas, the Shona McCullagh and Leanne Pooley produced doco on the life of modern dancer Douglas Wright will be up against Keith Hunter’s investigation into the Scott Watson murder case, Murder on the Blade? and Danny Mulheron and Tom Scott’s Reluctant Revolutionary which explores the life of former Prime Minister David Lange.

Best Lifestyle/Entertainment Programme finalists are The Living Room Series II, which looks at inspirational, home-grown creative talent; Korero Time 2004 – Juniors; and NZ Goes to Chelsea.

Familiar names once again are to the forefront in the Korero Maori Best Maori Language Programme. Tukoroirangi Morgan gains a nod for Hawaiki, as do Matai Smith and Reikura Morgan for Pukana.

The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005 will also recognise the Best Children’s Programme and the three finalists competing for the honours are Being Eve, Koi, and the pre-school series Dress Up Box 3. Being Eve is no stranger to awards having already picked up a Gold World Medal at the New York Festival and having been nominated as a finalist for the International Emmy Awards (Children & Young People category).

With 31 shows or single programmes achieving a place in the Awards finals, Salmon is in no doubt that the television industry is in good and skilful hands.

“The sheer depth and breadth of the programmes nominated is very pleasing. The New Zealand industry should be proud that we can continue to make shows across the entire spectrum of taste and genre and produce them to such a high level,” he says.

Now that finalists have been announced, attention naturally swings to The New Zealand Screen Awards 2005 ceremony to be held at Auckland’s SkyCity Theatre on Tuesday, July 27. Oliver Driver will MC the inaugural event and promises that the show will be all about recognising the fantastic achievements of all finalists and the industry as a whole.

A full list of all Television & Film finalists is also attached and available as a downloadable file on and click on the AWARDS tab).


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