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A short film about two impoverished brothers in the 1930’s who are tempted into a life of crime, but regret their actions when given a glimpse of their fate, has won top honours in this year’s International Youth Silent Film Festival New Zealand National competition.

Crash by young Auckland filmmaker Ben Young was announced as the first-place winner of this year’s competition during the IYSFF NZ National Awards Final held at the home of the IYSFF in Aotearoa, Baycourt Community & Arts Centre, on Wednesday.

After two years of hosting online ceremonies the Kiwi organisers were ecstatic to welcome a crowd in its hundreds back to the Tauranga venue for the annual ceremony which featured special guests, IYSFF founder Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk, and official composer Nathan Avakian who performed the soundtracks to this year’s finalists films live on Baycourt’s mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ.

Along with winning first place and a cash prize of $1500, the Ponsonby Intermediate School student also took home a raft of ‘Best Of’ awards for Direction, Editing, Cinematography and Production Design, as well as the Film Bay of Plenty Choice Award.

Young’s film was crowned the winner by this year’s celebrity judge, American philanthropist and IYSFF founder Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk who travelled from his home in Portland, Oregon, US, to attend the Aotearoa New Zealand awards ceremony. 

“I cannot fathom how Ben could write, direct and produce this level of filming. The film’s multiple locations, large cast and special effects are a tour de force in filmmaking for any director, much less a 12-year-old. The complexity of the direction required to execute Crash makes it the clear winner,” says Jon.

Placing second and collecting a cash prize of $1000 were fellow Auckland filmmakers and AGE School students Sveta Hackett and Emma Wagner for their film The Unusual Suspects, with Benjamin Buchan winning the Best Actor award for his work on the film.

Rounding out the top three and winning a cash prize of $500 was Amica by Christchurch filmmakers Marco Leighs, Struan Gordon, Bede Miller from St. Andrew’s College, with Leighs also picking up the award for Best Shot. 

Along with their accolades and cash prizes, the top two films Crash and The Unusual Suspects will now represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the IYSFF Global Awards Final which will be held in Portland, Oregon, US, in June 2023.

The IYSFF competition challenges filmmakers aged 20 years and under, from the United States, Europe, Australia, The United Arab Emirates and Aotearoa to create a three-minute silent film set to one of 10 musical scores composed for the festival.

Baycourt manager Reena Snook acknowledged all the filmmakers who submitted entries into the competition, and especially wanted to thank everyone who attended this year’s awards ceremony and helped make it a glitzy, red-carpet affair.

“To every filmmaker who entered the IYSFF NZ this year – your talent, imagination and ambition is inspiring. Your commitment and dedication to this unique festival is incredible and we’re truly honoured to provide a platform to showcase your creativity to the world.”

IYSFF NZ NATIONALS 2022 AWARD WINNERS

FIRST PLACE – $1500
CRASH
Ben Young (Ponsonby Intermediate School, Auckland)
Sponsored by Priority One

SECOND PLACE – $1000
THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
Sveta Hackett, Emma Wagner (AGE School, Auckland)
Sponsored by Tauranga City Council

THIRD PLACE – $500
AMICA
Marco Leighs, Struan Gordon, Bede Miller (St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch)
Sponsored by TMH Management & Bay of Plenty Actors Studio

BEST DIRECTOR
BEN YOUNG – CRASH
(Ponsonby Intermediate School, Auckland)

BEST ACTOR
BENJAMIN BUCHANTHE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
(AGE School, Auckland)

BEST FEMALE FILMMAKER
Sponsored by Women in Film and Television NZ
TEARANI WIKOHIKA – WHITE
(Tauranga Girls’ College, Tauranga)
 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEN YOUNG – CRASH
(Ponsonby Intermediate School, Auckland)

BEST EDITING
BEN YOUNG – CRASH
(Ponsonby Intermediate School, Auckland)

BEST SHOT
MARCO LEIGHS – AMICA
(St Andrew’s College, Christchurch)

IYSFF NZ NATIONAL POSTER COMPETITION
SHAKEEL ROA – BIRDS
(Budget Boy Films, Tauranga)

The IYSFF NZ National 2022 films are available for viewing on Baycourt Community & Arts Centre You Tube channel.



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