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Film Award tribute to New Zealand Film Icon

8 August 2005

Film Award tribute to New Zealand Film Icon

New Zealand film directors are preparing to compete for the single largest film prize in New Zealand.

Won in the past by London based New Zealander Virginia Heath (Relativity) and David Rittey, (Out of Darkness), the award, previously known as the Drifting Clouds best film award, will be named ‘The John Oshea Award' in memory of New Zealand film icon John Oshea. It recognises the best short film by a director of New Zealand origin, who lives in New Zealand or abroad.

Widely regarded as one of the most important stepping stones for emerging directors, the11 finalists for the official New Zealand film competition will screen at the Drifting Clouds International Film Festival (27 -4th September) on August 27th, with the winner announced on same night at a glittering Awards night at Reading Cinemas in Wellington.

Presenting the inaugural John Oshea Award this year is two of his closest friends; film director Gaylene Preston (Perfect Strangers), and film producer Craig Walters (who looked after him in the final months before he passed away in 2001)

With a base prize of $24,000 in facilities to develop and shoot their next film, the legacy of John Oshea, godfather of the New Zealand film industry – who supported the Festival from its outset in 2000 – lives on.

London based New Zealander Virginia Heath– who won the award in 2002 with her award winning film ‘Relatively’, returned to New Zealand in 2003 and shot her first New Zealand short film. She says: “Winning at ‘Drifting Clouds’ has opened many doors for me and really given me the opportunity to gain networks back here in New Zealand for my feature film”.” Returning to New Zealand to shoot my short has been a fantastic journey and I can't wait to start filming my feature film back in New Zealand’

Rowena Hawea Harvey, Festival Founder says: “This award is the most important element of the Drifting Clouds Film Festival, epitomising one of our main aims – to promote and celebrate the talent of New Zealand.

“The festival is seeking more sponsorship from film production companies so that the winner of best film will end up all the resources to produce a 35mm short film and final answer print. The festival wants to encourage and support the best new film making talent in New Zealand as much as we can.”

Due to the ongoing success of the festival, this year viewers will have the opportunity to watch some of worlds best short films competing against each other in competition for ‘Golden Dragon Award.

Finalists in the Golden Dragon competition include Cannes finalists, and the brilliant short film Podorozhni / Wayfarers
winner of Palme d'Or du court métrage (2005) Cannes

In addition the festival is screening three non-competitive programmes: a Maori showcase, the best shorts from Wales, plus two past winners short films will screen at the Festival – David Rittey ( won for ‘Out of Darkness’ 2001), and Virginia Heath (won for ‘Relativity’ 2002)

Both films received support from the Award prize to make their latest short films with Virginia scooping over $65,000 dollars in prizes, which included Peter Jacksons company Weta Digital and Park Road Post.


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