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University film student wins at The Moa Awards

University film student wins at The Moa Awards

When University of Auckland film graduate Hash Perambalam won the Best Self-Funded Short Film award at the Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards she got a selfie with actor Sam Neill to celebrate.

Her film, Not Like Her was made as part of a year-long Masters in Screen Production thesis at the University of Auckland.

She received the award at the Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards - aka The Moas – held in Auckland last month.

“When they announced that we won best self-funded short we all screamed. I just gave a little speech and thanked everyone and said if anyone wanted to give me a job I wrote, directed and edited it. After the awards we got a selfie with Sam Neill with both our Moas together. I don't usually do things like that but I thought what the hell!”

The 14 minute short film is centred on female body image from the perspective of a rebellious teenage girl who is forced to spend the day with her estranged mother when she is suspended from school.

“I was thinking about women with extreme body image issues having teenage daughters and imagining what that might look like on a really bad day,” Hash says.

“It’s a sad thought to me, if you hate yourself and you hate how you look and then you have a daughter staring back at you…and she looks like you. People assume a mother’s love is so strong that it would shake you out of that kind of mind-set…but what if it can’t?”

Not Like Her was produced by Hash, fellow graduate Lucy Stonex, and her Masters supervisor Brendan Donovan.

Brendan says the award is even more special as the category is open to all, not just students.

“So Hash was up against both developing and more established talent in the wider New Zealand film industry. Many films are self-funded these days and so even to be nominated was an achievement – to win is a reflection of the quality of Hash’s work. It’s not just a good student film, it’s a good film.”

Hash took a year to create the film, from developing the idea, writing the script, pre-production, filming, editing the film and other post-production. Apart from a small investment by her parents, she relied on favours, student discounts and fellow students crewing the film. The majority of the cast and crew worked on the film for free.

The 26-year-old from Auckland’s North Shore has not had time to rest. She’s already researching and writing another short film which she hopes to get funded, the subject is still top-secret though.

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