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NZ’s Best Jury announced

Canadian-born New Zealand author Eleanor Catton and Australian filmmaker Rolf de Heer are confirmed for the jury of the New Zealand International Film Festival’s New Zealand’s Best 2014 Short Film Competition.


Eleanor Catton MNZM, 2013 Man Booker prize winner and author of The Luminaries, will join visiting filmmaker Rolf de Heer (Charlie’s Country, Ten Canoes) and Michael Eldred, representative for Madman Entertainment, to judge six finalist short films at a public screening of New Zealand’s Best 2014 in Auckland on Saturday 26 July.


The New Zealand’s Best 2014 programme screens as part of NZIFF 2014 and the jury will select the winner for two of the awards – The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize (a cash prize of $5,000 for the best New Zealand Short Film), and The Friends of the Civic Short Film Award for distinctive creative achievement (a cash prize of $3,000).


“Though it’s a jury of only three, we like the line-up of judges to be as diverse as the line-up of films contending for their attention. We aim to embrace the wider culture beyond film on the panel too, so we were delighted that Eleanor Catton agreed to join filmmaker Rolf de Heer and Madman’s Michael Eldred on this year’s jury,” says NZIFF Director Bill Gosden.


Six short films have been selected to compete for the four cash prizes. The winners will be announced at the closing night event of the Auckland leg of NZIFF. The six finalists are Cold Snap (dir: Leo Woodhead), Eleven (dir: Abigail Greenwood), Over the Moon (dir: James Cunningham), Ross & Beth (dir: Hamish Bennett), School Night (dirs: Leon Wadham and Eli Kent) and U.F.O. (dir: Gregory King).


A special jury of cinematographers will select the winner of the inaugural Allen Guilford Cinematography Award from the New Zealand Cinematographers Society (NZCS), including a cash prize of $2,000. New Zealand audiences will also be asked to vote for their favourite short film. The 2014 Audience Award winner in Auckland and Wellington takes away 25% of the box office from the Festival screenings in the four main centres – in 2013 valued at $4,500.


Guest selector and international filmmaker Andrew Adamson selected the six finalists from a shortlist of 12. Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 115 entries to prepare the shortlist.


NZIFF will begin in Auckland on Thursday (17 July – 3 August), open in Wellington one week later (25 July – 10 August), Dunedin and Gore (31 July – 17 August) then Christchurch and Nelson (6 – 24 August) before continuing to travel around New Zealand screening in Timaru, Hawke’s Bay, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Masterton, and New Plymouth.



About Eleanor Catton MNZM
Born in 1985 in Canada, Eleanor grew up in Christchurch from age six after her family returned to New Zealand. She studied English at University of Canterbury and completed a Master’s degree in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington. Her first novel The Rehearsal won international recognition. In 2013 Catton became the youngest author to win the Man Booker prize, with her second novel The Luminaries. In December 2013 Catton was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.


About Rolf de Heer
Born in 1951 in Holland, Rolf migrated to Australia with his family in 1959. He worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for seven years, then in 1977 was granted entry into Australia’s Film Television and Radio School. He has gone on to make more than a dozen films, generally low budget, and has gained substantial international recognition. His first collaboration with actor David Gulpilil, The Tracker, premiered to critical acclaim in Competition at Venice Film Festival in 2002. The second, Ten Canoes, won the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2007; and third, Charlie’s Country, won David Gulpilil the Un Certain Regard Best Actor Award at Cannes this year. Charlie’s Country will screen at NZIFF in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch.


About Michael Eldred
Michael Eldred, Madman Entertainment, is Madman NZ’s Theatrical Sales Manager. Michael is responsible for the New Zealand theatrical release of such successful local films as Out of the Blue, Boy, and The Orator. Most recently he assisted the New Zealand release of What We Do In The Shadows. His career highlights include roles at Dendy Films & Cinemas, Polygram, Hoyts Distribution and Madman Entertainment.



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