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I Am The River 2011’s Big Winner

Media Alert –For Immediate Release

I Am The River 2011’s Big Winner

Mark McNeill and Italian co-director Luigi Cutore ’s story of the cultural clash of a series of photos has seen them scoop the Documentary Edge Festival 2011’s top New Zealand award. I Am The River, which documents the 2001 chance discovery of previously unknown photographs of 19th century Whanganui Maori, received the Festival’s “Best New Zealand Feature” award at last night’s gala. The feature also picked up awards for “Best Cinematography” and “Best Editing” in the New Zealand Competition.

McNeill and Cutore were held off from winning the coveted “Best New Zealand Director” award by Paul Trotman, who directed the bittersweet tale Donated To Science, following the lives of those who have decided to donate their body to medical research.
New Zealand director Paora Joseph also had a great evening; his short film Hiding Behind The Green Screen earned him the “Best New Zealand Short” award alongside being touted as an emerging documentary talent as he scored “Best Emerging NZ Filmmaker”.
In the International Competition, Rob Lemkins and Thet Sambath’s Enemies of the People rightfully earned back-to-back “Best Feature” and “Best Director” awards with its gripping tale of discovering the horrors of the Khmer Rouge. However they had to share the director’s gong with Shlomi Eldar – his documentary Precious Life a resonating piece about the cultural divide in Israel even after saving the life of a child.

Naked men in saunas baring their souls formed the canvas for Finnish film “Steam of Life” winning “Best Cinematography” while harrowing nuclear documentary Into Eternity, earning a special mention in the “Best International Feature Film” category while winning “Best Editing”. The offbeat The Mystery of The Flying Kicks from Australia earned itself the “Best International Short” award.

This year the Documentary NZ Trust decided to award the “Outstanding Contribution to NZ Documentary Industry” to two recent trail-blazing documentary films that have redefined documentary in New Zealand. With official selections at HotDocs (Toronto), London, Seattle and Vancouver among many more and recently shortlisted for consideration for the Best Documentary at the Academy Awards 2011 , indie film This Way of Life was one of two honoured with the “Outstanding Contribution to NZ Documentary Industry”, alongside The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls which has brought documentary into the vocabulary of local cinema goers becoming New Zealand’s most successful box office documentary of all time.

Full winners from last night’s ceremony as below:

International Competition
Best Short Documentary - Winner: The Mystery of the Flying Kicks. Special Mention: Prayers for Peace
Best Feature Documentary - Winner: Enemies of the People. Special Mention: Into Eternity
Best Editing - Winner: Into Eternity
Best Cinematography - Winner: Steam of Life
Best Director - Winner: Rob Lemkin/Thet Sambath (Enemies of the People) and Shlomi Eldar (Precious Life)
Best On The Edge/Outstanding Achievement – Winner: Leave Them Laughing

New Zealand Competition
Best Short Documentary - Winner: Hiding Behind The Green Screen. Special Mention: Landscapes at the World’s Ends
Best Feature Documentary - Winner: I Am The River
Best Emerging NZ Filmmaker - Winner: Paora Joseph (Hiding Behind The Green Screen)
Best Director - Winner: Paul Trotman (Donate to Science)
Best Cinematography - Winner: I Am The River
Best Editing - Winner: I Am The River

Outstanding Contribution to NZ Documentary Industry – This Way Of Life and Untouchable Girls – The Topp Twins


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