Young Ponsonby filmmakers make it through to IYSFF NZ NATIONALS 2021 FINALS

“These short films and these young filmmakers are exciting. There's a lot to be concerned with in the world at the moment, but watching these films made me joyful.” – 2021 IYSFF NZ celebrity judge Tom Sainsbury

The International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF) New Zealand organisers are excited to announce a short film created by young Auckland filmmakers has been selected for the finals of the 2021 national competition.

The Gem by Ben Young and Sienna Young from Ponsonby Primary School will be screened and celebrated at the IYSFF NZ National Awards Final 2021 being held online in November.

The IYSFF is a global filmmaking competition challenging filmmakers, aged 20 and under, to create a three–minute silent film set to one of 10 musical scores composed especially for the festival.
This year 25 entries were accepted for judging, and following jury panel deliberations, the Top 15 films have been submitted to 2021 celebrity judge, comedian, actor and writer Tom Sainsbury, for final judging.

“I've loved being this year's judge. I always love seeing people's creative expression and there was something so exciting about seeing these young guys getting out there and making something,” said Sainsbury

“The films were so good! Everyone knew how to make great, interesting shots and then edit their footage together. If I had made a film at these guys' ages, it would have been very sloppy and with jarring cuts.”

The IYSFF NZ Nationals 2021 Top 15 films are (in alphabetical order):

A Parallel Universe (Western) Hannah Moodie – Bethlehem College, Tauranga
Between the Lines (Noir) Tearani Wikohika, Maea Wikohika – Tauranga Girls College, Tauranga
Imagination (Romance) Sebastian Rollinson, Alyza Rollinson – Te Puke
Insomnia (Epic) Asher Wadsworth – Tauranga Girls' College, Tauranga
Misadventure (Motown) Romy Heayns – Tauranga Girls' College, Tauranga
Operation Sparrow (Epic) Timothy Chen, Emma Wagner, Sveta Hackett, Matthew Curtis – AGE School, Auckland
Reach out... 'n' I'll be there (Motown) Ben Baker, Timothy Chen, Pearce Christian – AGE School, Auckland
Sorry for your loss (Reflections) Cody Olds – Te Puke Intermediate, Te Puke
The Audacious Audition (Epic) Ella Paterson – Tauranga Girls' College, Tauranga
The Climb (Epic) Dylan Pritchard – Napier
The Fairytale Of Evil Hood (Noir) Caitlin Orr, Matilda, Mani, Blake, Stella, Martha, Sabine, You–Ju, Paige – Selwyn Ridge Primary School, Tauranga
The Gem (Discovery) Ben Young, Sienna Young – Ponsonby Primary School, Auckland
The Good, The Bad & The Dolly (Western) Sveta Hackett, Timothy Chen – AGE School, Auckland
The Unforgettable Picnic (Slapstick) Dexter Page – Selwyn Ridge Primary, Tauranga
Zombie and Potions (Epic) Mylissa Chan Foon, Leon Hawe, Ashton Smith, Logan Watson, Joshua Denham, Ariel Halpin – Selwyn Ridge Primary School, Tauranga

Due to the latest COVID outbreak, the organisers have made the difficult decision to move the IYSFF NZ National Awards Final 2021 online. The ceremony will be streamed on Baycourt Community & Arts Centre’s Facebook page from 6pm, Thursday 11 November.

 This year the Top 3 films will receive cash prizes of $1,500 for first, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third. The Top 2 films will also go on to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the IYSFF
Global Awards to be held in Portland, Oregon, US, in 2022.
This year there are nine ‘Best Of’ awards, including brand–new awards for ‘Best Female Filmmaker’ and ‘Best Under 12 Filmmaker’, as well as for Directing, Acting, Editing, Cinematography, Production Design, Best Shot, and Film Poster. All ‘Best Of’ award winners will receive a certificate to recognise their achievements.

Award–winning Tauranga venue, Baycourt Community & Arts Centre, has proudly been the home of the IYSFF in New Zealand ever since the competition made its Aotearoa debut back in 2016.

Baycourt Manager Reena Snook applauds all the filmmakers who entered the competition this year, particularly given the disruptions and challenges caused by the latest Covid outbreak.

“Despite everything that’s been thrown at our young filmmakers, they still managed to shoot a short film, edit it and submit it on time. That alone makes them all winners in our eyes.”

While Baycourt is unable to roll out the red carpet in person this year, Snook hoped the 2021 finalists were all planning to tune into the online ceremony and host their own celebrations.

“We would have loved to have hosted a physical awards ceremony at Baycourt but moving the event online will help ensure it’s not affected by any further COVID outbreaks or changes to New Zealand’s alert levels. In 2020 we moved the awards online due to COVID and it ran perfectly, so we know we can still make it a special occasion.”

Snook encourages film–loving Kiwis to tune in to the online ceremony and get a glimpse of what the future holds for filmmaking in Aotearoa – a sentiment that is shared by 2021 celebrity judge Tom Sainsbur

“These short films and these young filmmakers are exciting. There's a lot to be concerned with in the world at the moment, but watching these films made me joyful.”

Sainsbury also encourages all young Kiwis with a passion for filmmaking who are curious about the competition to “100% get involved in the IYSFF”.

“What an amazing opportunity it is! The competition also gives you a deadline so you have to create something, I'm terrible at procrastinating so deadlines always help me. And filmmaking is the best thing in the world, so if you're keen, take every opportunity to do it.”

The IYSFF NZ Nationals 2021 is delivered by Baycourt Community & Arts Centre in association with major media sponsor The Breeze Tauranga.

The IYSFF NZ National Awards Final will be screen online via Baycourt Community & Arts Centre’s Facebook page on Thursday 11 November, starting 6pm.

Watch it live at:

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Published 3 December 2021