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Motorbikes, Morningside, Westies and Love

24 August 2006

And the winners are: Motorbikes, Morningside, Westies and Love.

The World’s Fastest Indian became the country’s finest film, Outrageous Fortune our best drama, bro’Town kept us laughing and the judges loved The Insiders Guide to Love. Yes, the big trophies were dished out at the star-studded Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 at Auckland’s SKYCITY Theatre tonight.

Those involved with The World’s Fastest Indian would have been celebrating from home bases all over the world after the Roger Donaldson-directed flick claimed seven awards, including the big one – Air New Zealand Best Picture.

On the small screen, Outrageous Fortune’s westie ways earned the South Pacific Pictures Production both Best Drama Programme and Series despite tough competition from The Insiders Guide to Love which landed awards in acting, design, direction, camerawork, and music.

The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 ceremony concludes almost four months of work to find the best craft and creativity in New Zealand’s screen industries from 400-plus entries in 47 categories and lead organisers the Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand (SDGNZ) say it’s all been worth it.

This is a major undertaking for New Zealand’s screen industries, not to mention the 124 expert judges who have given significant time to recognise the finest people and productions in New Zealand,” says SDGNZ President Dan Salmon.

“Competition has been fierce this year and that is fantastic. This is about reviewing and critiquing our work so we can appreciate and applaud our talent and strive to keep improving and innovating every year. These awards give us a real sense of pride in the achievements of our fellow industry members and colleagues.”

“Now in its second year, the Air New Zealand Screen Awards throws a spotlight on the depth of creative and technical talent that has been quietly building for decades. We are now showcasing works of subtlety, power, and cultural insight. We are seeing a continuing emergence of Polynesian and Maori storytelling as a dominant force in the industry and we are witnessing first hand the maturing nature of our craft. It really is a great time to be part of the local industry.”
The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 – Film Winners

Feature Film

No.2, River Queen and Sione’s Wedding provided serious competition in the race for Air New Zealand Best Picture but The World’s Fastest Indian was a clear favourite with the judges, winning the big title and a further six Air New Zealand Screen Awards (seven in total).

Donaldson personally amassed three of these – Air New Zealand Best Picture (co-awarded to Gary Hannam), New Zealand Trade & Enterprise Achievement in Directing, and Screenplay.

Donaldson is definitely well known but he wasn’t the biggest name to take a title at this year’s awards. That honour went to the man charged with portraying Burt Munro in Donaldson’s film. Yes, the Air New Zealand Screen Award for Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, is on its way to Sir Anthony Hopkins in LA.

The film’s other three awards went to Tim Prebble, Gethin Creagh and Michael Hedges for Sound Post Contribution to a Soundtrack; J. Dennis Washington and Rob Gillies for Achievement in Production Design; and John Gilbert A.C.E for Images Achievement in Editing.

Local period piece River Queen garnered awards for legendary cinematographer Alun Bollinger (Panavision / Atlab Achievement in Cinematography) and costume designer Barbara Darragh (Achievement in Costume Design) while Toa Fraser’s No.2 earned cast members three acting awards: Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for American Ruby Dee, Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Rene Naufahu and Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Mia Blake.

Don McGlashan was also honoured for his Achievement in Original Music for his No.2 Soundtrack (which includes the hit Bathe in the River).

Digital Feature

In the Digital Feature categories Steven Kang’s {Dream} Preserved, the unlikely story of a Korean, a fridge and a strange girl selling coffee, takes the title of Sony Best Digital Feature. For Kang it is recognition for a lot of hard work in digital and experimental video.

Squeegee Bandit, the story of South Auckland windscreen washer, Starfish, earned Sandor Lau the Award for Images Technical Contribution to a Digital Feature.
Short Film
Three Short Films were also honoured in front of a full house tonight. Nature’s Way provided Jane Shearer with the SKYCITY Best Short Film Award, and cinematographer Andrew Commis with Technical Contribution to a Short Film.

Actor/Writer Paulo Rotondo took the title for Script for a Short Film for Dead Letters, his adaptation of a wartime love story by Jolisa Gracewood.

Alison Bruce completed the section by taking out Performance in a Short Film for her portrayal of a woman exploring trust and intimacy in Us. She also had a cameo role in The World’s Fastest Indian.

Dan Salmon says the international calibre of each of the eight award-winning films deserves to be recognised and these latest honours adds to previous and current efforts to further establish the presence of New Zealand filmmakers in the global industry.

“New Zealanders in general and the industry specifically should be very proud of all The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 film winners. Each of them has been subjected to the highest levels of scrutiny by judges, appointed because of their knowledge and insight into film making. So we know we have found the very best winners in each individual category,” says Salmon.

“What's exciting about the films is the diversity of this year’s selection - a Biopic, two Pacific Island stories, and a Maori period film. This is a sign of the breadth of our industry talent-wise and the range of possibilities open to filmmakers under bigger budget funding schemes like the Film Fund. The Film Fund allows New Zealand stories to be told on a bigger, more cinematic scale, making films like the World Fastest Indian possible,” he says.

The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 – Television Winners

In total, 17 local television productions received awards across 28 categories, proving that New Zealand’s television production industry is supporting a diverse range of talented individuals.

South Pacific Pictures captured the imagination with its entertaining look at the crime-fuelled West family and their unsuccessful attempts to go legit. Now the first series of Outrageous Fortune has been recognised as New Zealand’s Best Drama Programme and Sony Best Drama Series.
It is fine reward for a show that inspired with its originality and design and no doubt producers will be buoyed by the victory, especially given the strength of the other shows nominated for the biggest drama awards of the evening.

Although pipped by Outrageous Fortune in the major show categories, The Gibson Group still had great reason to celebrate throughout the evening. The Insiders Guide to Love’s six trophies continue a fine tradition for the company. (The Insiders Guide to Happiness claimed seven New Zealand Screen Awards in 2005.)

Insiders picked up awards for Performance by an Actress for Kate Elliott, Performance by an Actor for Gareth Reeves, Achievement in Directing Drama/Comedy for Nathan Price, Achievement in Camerawork for Simon Baumfield, Achievement in Original Music for David Long and Contribution to Design for Nic Smillie.

Interrogation and The Market were the other drama programmes to win titles last night.

Claire Chitham secured Interrogation a nod for Performance by a Supporting Actress, Fiona Samuel took Script, Single Episode of a Drama Series/Serial and Lisa Hough was honoured for Achievement in Editing, Drama.

The Market’s Pete Smith claimed the Air New Zealand Screen Award for Performance by a Supporting Actor.

It was Morningside Forever in the comedy sections as bro’Town took the Best Comedy title. The animated show also took awards for Script, Comedy (Oscar Kightley, Mario Gaoa, David Fane, Shimpal Lelisi and Elizabeth Mitchell), and Achievement in Production Design for Ant Sang – three out of three for producers Firehorse Films.

Two new categories – Best Event Broadcast and Best Reality Series – were specifically created this year to reflect the shows being produced by the local industry. Best Event Broadcast was collected by Stan Wolfgramm and Julie Smith of Drum Productions for coverage of Westfield Style Pasifika 2005, while Best Reality Series was awarded to Nigel Snowden of Cream TV for Border Patrol – Busted at the Border.

Documentary was exceptionally strong this year with a total of five productions winning awards.

Leanne Pooley’s The Promise won Best Documentary and Achievement in Camerawork for Wayne Vinten. Peta Carey (Lifting of the Makutu) was honoured for Achievement in Directing, Rachel Jean (High Times) for Best Documentary/Factual Series, Melanie Graham, Polly McKinnon and Mike Hedges (Earthquake) for Contribution to a Soundtrack, and Ken Sparks (Black Grace – From Cannon’s Creek to Jacob’s Pillow) for Images Achievement in Editing, Documentary.

Chris Winitana and the Awekura Productions team took Korero Maori Best Maori Language Programme for their much-admired youth show, Koi. Koi was also a finalist in 2005 for Best Children’s Programme.

The show that had New Zealanders in a spin, Dancing with the Stars, was the winner in the Best Lifestyle/Entertainment Programme category. Marcus Lush was awarded Best Presenter, Entertainment/Factual for his work on Off The Rails – A Love Story, and Mark Albiston’s direction of The Living Room, Series 3 saw him take out the Achievement in Directing, Factual/Entertainment/Reality.

And don’t forget the kids! Dave Gibson (The Gibson Group) and Ann Darrouzet and Jenni Tosi (Tosi Westside) share the trophy for Best Children’s Programme for Holly’s Heroes.

Dan Salmon says the increased number of winning productions is a truly positive outcome for the industry and for The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006.

“Last year 11 individual productions took titles at these awards. This year that number has climbed to 17 – a massive increase. It shows us that the standard of competition in the local industry continues to rise,” says Salmon.

“We are extremely proud of all the winners, and all the finalists. What we saw this year was the incredible depth and breadth of talent all striving to make documentaries that matter, entertainment shows that live up to the hype, drama that has insight and maturity, comedy that lets us laugh at ourselves and specialist shows that reflect passion and professionalism,” he says.

Salmon hopes that finalists and winners will use this recognition to achieve greater marketing successes both here and overseas. He is also confident that entries for the 2007 Awards programme will again raise the bar even higher.

“This is what The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 are all about,” he says “Honouring the very best in film and television and providing a compelling reason for all those involved in the screen industries to keep aiming higher – to be brave with the shows we are making and to be innovative, dynamic and 100% world-class. Looking at this impressive list of winners, you would have to say that we are definitely headed in the right direction.”

The Air New Zealand Screen Awards 2006 Television & Film Winner Lists are also included (behind/attached) and are available as downloadable pdf files on and (click on the AWARDS tab).


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