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Accolades abound for Film, TV and Media Studies


Accolades abound for University of Auckland's Department of Film, Television and Media Studies

The accolades are pouring in for staff and students at The University of Auckland's Department of Film, Television and Media Studies, rounding off an excellent year for the programme.

Associate Professor and acclaimed filmmaker Annie Goldson's film, Elgar's Enigma, is a finalist in the Best Documentary category and the Best Editing (Documentary) category in this year's Qantas Media Awards. The film is inspired by the theory that English composer Edward Elgar wrote his Cello Concerto in Em as a tribute to the WW1 death of a young New Zealand soldier, the son of Elgar's first great love, Helen Weaver. The awards will screen on TV One on 18 November, just in time for Annie to fly back from Melbourne, where the film is screening at the Film and History Association of Australasia's conference. Elgar's Enigma has also had a successful run at the television market MIPCOM in Europe, where it was represented by its distributor,, and sold to a number of territories.

Annie also produced Pacific Solution, which explores the daily lives of a number of Afghan boys from the MV Tampa, now living in Mangere, Auckland. The film is a finalist for Best Documentary in the Media Peace Awards, held at the Maidment Theatre on 9 November.

Annie has also received major investment funding from New Zealand On Air in the latest round for her new film, Tabu Soro: Murder in the Pacific, which traces the 2001 killings in Fiji of New Zealand Red Cross Director-General John Scott and his partner Greg Scrivener.

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James Frankham, director of Pacific Solution and a student in the University of Auckland's Masters in Creative and Performing Arts (MCPA), is also winning acclaim. A finalist at the Media Peace Awards, James has received funding from Creative New Zealand for his planned film, Wakamoana. James also received a special award for his pitch at the DOCNZ Festival for most promising new project, winning a place at the AIDC Festival/Marketplace in Adelaide in February.

Alongside James, current and former graduates of the University's FTVMS Department are also excelling. Two former students, Toa Fraser, writer/director of No. 2 (who also sits on the Board of Advisors of FTVMS' production programme) and Sandor Lau, director of Squeegee Bandit, are finalists in SPADA's Young Filmmaker of the Year. They are following in the footsteps of last year's winner, Roseanne Liang, director of Banana in a Nutshell and another MCPA graduate.

Sandor also won Best Long Documentary at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival. Another MCPA documentary graduate, Sophie Zhang, won Best Short for So Far yet So Close, her thesis project from last year. Sophie has recently received a commission from Maori Television to direct a follow-up to her student work. Kirsty MacDonald, another MA student, won Best NZ Short Documentary and Best Emerging NZ Documentary Filmmaker at the recent DOCNZ International Documentary Festival for her short film, Black and White.


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