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AFTAs avoids rugby and goosebumps

With a new name but no new naming rights sponsor, the Aotearoa Film and TV Awards (AFTAs) picks a new date, pushing itself back to November to run “afta” the RWC. Celebs walking the red carpet will – hopefully – be subjected to less inclement weather by the move to late spring.

All manner of changes are in train for this year, the most obvious one at present being a smart new website with nary a trace of Qantas’ trademark red in the design. The Craft Awards move from their customary Friday lunch to Thursday with the Gala event retaining its Saturday night slot. (One assumes the website’s countdown clock, which predicts the Gala will start at 7am, is wrong.) The venue will also change, from the Civic to the new event centre on Halsey Street which is currently being finished in time for the RWC.

The date change is announced as a one-off for 2011, specifically to save non-JAFAs from spending their hard-earned millions on a hotel bed for the night.

The second week of November will be a tricky week to avoid the air-kissers in Auckland, with the SPADA Conference running on the Thursday and Friday and the Asia-Pacific Producers Network (APN) conference on the Sunday.

No major changes to the awards up for grabs are planned this year, although one category – Debut in a Feature Film – has had its entry criteria broadened following a dearth of entries last year.

The People’s Choice award is not featured on the list of categories at present. According to ThinkTV’s Rick Friesen, that’s because a sponsorship deal has not yet been confirmed. Whether New Idea still has the stomach for it after last year remains to be seen.

The Screen Directors’ Guild of New Zealand and ThinkTV remain the event organisers, and other deadlines along the way to the ceremonies are changed to reflect the later event date. Entries are now open and close on Wednesday 10 August, with the nominations announced Friday 14 October.

The bashes will take place Thursday 10 November (Craft lunch) and Saturday 12 November (Gala).

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