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SPADA 09: winners get the clap

The Minister of Broadcasting hosted, TVNZ sponsored and a grand time was had to wrap up SPADA’s Get Ahead conference on Friday 13th. The dinner was held at Parliament, and the love was shared with the winners of three awards.

Earlier in the day, at the South Pacific Pictures (SPP) Big Pitch lunch, another winner had been found. Following the pitches, deliberations and a goodly amount of lunch, John Barnett, SPP’s CEO, did the honours.

As is his way, he found positive and encouraging things to say about all the projects pitched, including some comments that might have led those pitching to believe they were in with a good shot at winning. There was only one winner, however, and – not for the first time this year – that winner was Leanne Pooley.

This time, however, it wasn’t for Untouchable Girls but for her next project, Finding Mercy.

John praised the project for its emotional strength and felt convinced it would attract an international audience, which was necessary as the scale of the project meant it needed to go to market to seek finance.

At the Into the Black dinner, three winners were announced; the SPADA/Onfilm Industry Champion, the SPADA Independent Producer of the Year 2009, Sponsored by Crombie Lockwood/MTJ, and the SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year.

The New Filmmaker award went to Zia Mandviwalla, who’s also no stranger to awards, having previously won the Kodak Prize at the Wellington Fringe Film for Pieces Together; several awards including Best Short Film Script at the 2005 NZ Screen Director’s Guild Awards, Best Director and Best Short Film at Fitzroy Shorts in Melbourne for Eating Sausage, which also screen at the London and Pusan festivals.

In 2005, Zia was a runner up for SPADA New Filmmaker of the Year and represented New Zealand at the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2007. Last year, she made her television directorial debut on TV3’s A Thousand Apologies.

Thanks rather than apologies were in order as she collected over $40,000 worth of prizes, courtesy of Park Road Post, Panavision, FACB, Kodak, SKYCITY Cinemas, and Stage and Screen Travel Services.

Richard Fletcher has worn many producer hats, executive, financing, co-, associate, etc., on Under the Mountain, The Volcano, The Strength of Water, The Ferryman, River Queen and Spooked.

Currently he’s an executive producer of the NZ/UK co-production Tracker, with UK executive producer Gareth Wiley (Vicki Christina Barcelona), New Zealand producer Trevor Haysom (In My Father’s Den) and UK producer David Burns.

At the dinner he was named SPADA Independent Producer of the Year award, sponsored by Crombie Lockwood/MTJ.

The evening’s final award, the SPADA/Onfilm Industry Champion, went to someone who has been an integral part of the New Zealand television industry for over 30 years. 

He has has built a world brand, the second largest producer of its type in the world, and provided opportunities for hundreds in the industry. His outstanding contribution has been as the Head of Natural History New Zealand (NHNZ).

Taking the very well-deserved bow was Michael Stedman.

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