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High Road takes top gongs

Season 3 of Justin Harwood’s High Road took three wins in the NZ categories at the NZ Web Fest #NZWF17 over the weekend, coming away with the awards for Best Actor (Mark Mitchinson), Best Director (Harwood) and Best Show (Narrative). The first season of High Road won the inaugural NZ Web Fest in 2015.

Also coming away with three awards was Lanita Ririnui-Ryan and Ngatapa Black’s Poi – Hopes and Dreams. The show won a Jury Award for its cinematography, was picked up for selection into next year’s Melbourne Web Fest, and shared the NZ Best Factual Show gong with Kirsty Griffin & Viv Kernick’s Amy Street. Griffin and Kernick also won the award for Best Director (NZ Factual).

The NZ Best Factual Show award was one of two NZ categories producing joint winners on the night, with the Best Ensemble category also naming two winners. Roseanne Liang’s Friday Night Bites shared the victory with Brandon Te Moananui’s The Maori Side Steps.

Joint winners of the Best Ensemble Award, The Maori Side Steps and Friday Night Bites

Auckward Love, which was also a finalist last year, joined the list of winners in the NZ Narrative categories. Holly Shervey took the Best Actress award from a line-up which also included the show’s Luci Hare. The other NZ winner on the night was Sophia Seaton’s The Sisterhood, which took out Best Pilot in a category open to NZ and international entries.

NZ Web Fest’s relationships with international web festivals delivered selection awards from the Copenhagen, Melbourne and Seoul Web Fests. The shows joining Poi – Hopes and Dreams which are guaranteed a spot at one of those events next year are Happy Playland, High Life, Lucy Lewis Can’t Lose and Nga Ringa Toi o Tahu.

For no discernible reasons other than quality, and possibly the attractiveness of their accents, the wins in the remaining Open category and all International narrative categories went to French-speaking productions and Australians.

Aussie Luke Eve’s High Life is already the winner of this year’s Web Series World Cup, of which NZ Web Fest is a participating festival. At #NZWF17 High Life took out the Director and Show gongs for International Narrative. For those who like joining the dots, Eve (who works between Australia and LA) early this year directed Mourners Inc (which you can watch in this week’s Trailer Park), featuring expat actress Michelle Ang, last year an Emmy nominee for her turn in web series Flight 462.

At #NZWF17 the other multiple winner in the international categories was the second season of Lebanese documentary series Zyara (‘Visit’) which, like High Life, has done incredibly well in the Web Series World Cup this year.

The year’s final WSWC festival, Rio Web Fest, also runs this weekend, with several NZ Web Fest finalists and winners in the mix. NZ shows Pot Luck (a #NZWF16 finalist) and 2017’s Amy Street, High Road, Simon Leslie’s Nga Ringa Toi o Tahu and Roberto Nascimento’s NZ-Brazil show Sui Generis all screen in competition.



The NZ Web Fest ran Saturday 18 November.

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