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Holidays Provide Opportunity For Young Filmmakers

School Holidays Provide Opportunity For Young Filmmakers

The July school holidays should provide the opportunity for young filmmakers across New Zealand to make a movie for entry into the Youthtown Short Film Challenge.

"Our 2008 contest will remain open to entries up till July 25th. So there's still time to enter and show us just what you're capable of. Alternatively, if you're already entered the challenge, the school holidays should prove a great opportunity for polishing your work, prior to sending it to us," says the competition's organiser, Jewelz Petley.

Now in its fifth year, the Short Film Challenge has gained recognition as a testing ground for youthful talent. A number of past award winners have gone on to study film or television at tertiary level, with a view to making careers in the industry, whilst others have become highly proficient amateurs.

"The technology needed for making movies is now quite widely accessible, whilst the global success of New Zealand cinema has shown young people just how much can be achieved in this field.

"Filmmaking is very definitely one of the things that young New Zealanders do and our Short Film Challenge is there to harness their enthusiasm," says Jewelz, adding that the next Peter Jackson or Niki Caro might be amongst this year's entrants.

A glittering 'Oscar-style' premier night and award ceremony is scheduled for Auckland's Academy Cinemas in Lorne Street on Wednesday 20th August, with trophies awarded for acting, directing, music, cinematography, editing and scriptwriting, as well as for the 'Best Film'. There will also be awards for the best use of a compulsory prop and for a compulsory line that needs to be part of the script.

In addition, this year's contest will feature a new award for 'Best Documentary', reflecting the genre's increasing popularity and its accessibility to makers of short films.

"Documentaries are increasingly viewed as an important part of cinema and some have done very well at the box office. Just like fictional films, they can be dramatic, cinematic and sweep the audience away, "says Alex Lee, Director of the Documentary New Zealand Trust, who will be amongst the contest's judges.

"For a short film maker, documentary is remarkably accessible. Unlike other forms of filmmaking, you don't need to worry too much about actors or have a sophisticated lighting or sound setup. What you need is some good raw footage and the ability to weave it together into an interesting tale," he says.

Entrants to the Short Film Challenge need to be between the ages of 13 and 18. In addition to a trophy, the winners of the 'Best Film' category will receive $2,000 worth of vouchers, generously donated by Harvey Norman Commercial, Wairau Park, whilst Auckland City Council is to present a Canon Digital Video Camcorder to the winner of the Best Documentary category.

The winners of the Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress awards will also receive free entry to an 'Introduction to Television Production Course' at Southseas Film & Television School, a renowned seed-bed for cinematic talent.

Aspiring filmmakers, seeking to enter the Youthtown Short Film Challenge should contact Jewelz Petley on 09 379 5430 or via

Youthtown is a charitable trust that helps young people express themselves, develop skills and build self-esteem, in safe, open and stimulating environments.


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