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Young Otago Silent Filmmakers Win International Award

Young Otago Silent Filmmakers Win International Award

Two Otago brothers have become the first Kiwi filmmakers to take higher honours in the International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF) after winning second place at the Global Awards Final in the United States.

The Chase, the silent film made by Middlemarch brothers Benaiah Dunn (15) and Thomas Dunn, was one of three Kiwi films to represent New Zealand at the IYSFF Global Awards held in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, June 8 (NZ Time).

The Dunn brothers secured their spot at the Global Awards after The Chase won second place in the IYSFF 2017 NZ Regional Awards Final at Tauranga’s Baycourt Community and Arts Centre last November.

The Chase, which featured actors and Taieri College students Logan Carter and Jack McAtamney, also picked up three ‘Best Of’ awards for Cinematography, Production Design, and Shot at the 2017 NZ Regional awards final.

“Benaiah and Thomas’ win is an absolutely massive achievement, they are the first Kiwi team to take out higher honours at the Global Awards since we introduced the IYSFF NZ Regional competition in 2016,” says Baycourt manager Megan Peackock Coyle.

“Congratulations Benaiah and Thomas, and everyone who was involved in the creation of The Chase. It is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, and the entire IYSFF NZ Regional team is super proud of you and your efforts. We cannot wait to see wat the future has in store for the both of you.”

Also representing New Zealand at the recent Global Awards were IYSFF 2017 NZ Regional winner Tina Jeong (Tonight), and third place winners Rose McMahon and Samuel Edwards (The Smile Shop).

The International Youth Silent Film Festival is a competition that challenges young filmmakers, aged 20 years and under from across the United States, Australia and New Zealand, to create a three-minute silent film set one of 10 musical scores composed especially for the festival by award-winning organist Nathan Avakian.

For each submission, filmmakers must choose one of the 10 pre-recorded musical themes on which to base the film: Romance, Action, Horror, Slapstick, Mystery, Science Fiction, Hero, Western, Noir, and Discovery.

The IYSFF was founded in the United States by Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk in 2009, with the international competition making its New Zealand debut at Tauranga’s Baycourt Community & Arts Centre in 2016.

Entries are now open for the IYSFF 2018 NZ Regional Competition with submissions closing on Saturday, September 1. The NZ Regional Awards Ceremony will then take place at Baycourt on Wednesday, October 17.
Bay of Plenty Film is holding an IYSFF workshop from July 17-19 with young filmmakers tutored by professionals as they make a silent movie.

For more information, soundtracks, rules, or to enter the 2018 competition visit More information is also available from the IYSFF NZ Facebook group at:

Watch The Chase at:

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