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Two Cars, One Night wins major US film award

17 November 2004 Media Statement

Two Cars, One Night wins major US film award

Two Cars, One Night , written and directed by New Zealander Taika Waititi, has won the Grand Jury Prize for best international short film at the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival.

The award tops off a year of international successes for New Zealand films, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard.

"2004 has been such a rewarding year for New Zealand films. We've seen big international successes from Whale Rider and In My Father's Den as well as Lord of the Rings, which brought unprecedented attention to New Zealand and its film industry.

"Taika is to be congratulated for Two Cars One Night. It is clearly capturing the imagination and hearts of both domestic and international audiences."

Judith Tizard said the New Zealand Film Commission was working alongside a range of New Zealand film makers to assist them to take their films to international audiences.

Key highlights for NZ films for 2004 include:

- Whale Rider, the most successful NZ film released this year, achieved a gross box office of $6.4 million making it the second most successful local film ever released in NZ cinemas after Once Were Warriors.
- On the international scene Whale Rider’s worldwide box office was $US 65 million and was sold to more than 50 countries. It set a record in the US with the biggest cinema audience for a Kiwi story.
- Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for an Academy Award and was a finalist in the US Screen Actors Guild awards. The film won best foreign film at the US Independent Spirit Awards and best film at the British Academy Children’s Film Awards.
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King which received 11 Academy Awards brought unprecedented attention to New Zealand and its film industry.
- In My Father’s Den completed production during the year and since its premiere in June has received wide critical acclaim, numerous international awards and commenced a very successful NZ cinema release.
- Other features which screened in NZ cinemas during the financial year with support from the Film Commission were Perfect Strangers, The Locals, Kombi Nation, Nemesis Game, For Good, Fracture, Christmas, Tongan Ninja and Woodenhead.

Judith Tizard said the government was committed to supporting the international potential of New Zealand film makers.

"The government increased its baseline funding to the Film Commission by $10 million a year from 2004 to enable the Commission to enhance its contribution towards the development, production, sales and marketing of New Zealand films."

Background Information

Two Cars One Night

Written and directed by Taika Waititi, Two Cars, One Night is an 11-minute story of two children who fall in love while waiting for their parents in the carpark of a rural pub.

Two Cars, One Night adds this award to its numerous prizes since its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The film has won prizes including: Best Drama at Aspen Shortsfest, Best Short Film at the Berlin Film Festival Panorama, Best Fiction Short at the Melbourne International Film Festival, Prize of the Jury Cinema Oberhausen, and Hamburg, Seattle and Newport Rhode Island film festivals. The film is also eligible for Oscars consideration.

Taika’s second short film Tama Tu had its world premiere at the National Geographic All Roads Project in Los Angeles in October. Both Tama Tu is also produced by Cliff Curtis.

Two Cars, One Night and Tama Tu were produced with production finance from the New Zealand Film Commission.

AFI International Los Angeles Film Festival

Now in its 18th year, the AFI International Los Angeles Film Festival is one of the longest-running and most influential film festivals in North America. This year’s festival was held from November 4 – 14 and kicked off with the US premiere of Beyond the Sea, directed by Kevin Spacey. The festival showcased more than 136 films from 42 countries.

Only three prizes were awarded in the International short film category with Two Cars, One Night taking the top gong against a field of approximately 50 other short films.

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