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SWANZ winners

Friday night’s third edition of the writers’ awards lived up to its claim of “best party/ceremony ratio in the history of awards evenings”, coming to an end after handing out a record-breaking 10 gongs in 24 minutes.

Gaylene Preston, Shortland Street and Existence writers Jessica Charlton & Juliet Bergh took the evening’s special awards.

Te Radar proved an able host, noting the $500 on offer for the Best Unproduced Script was like “winning Lotto for a writer”. He was thanked by winner Linda Niccol for not repeating the same jokes he’d used the previous evening when hosting the Marketing Awards.

“There were jokes because I was being paid last night,” he responded. “This is charity. Some people do cancer, some disabled children … for me it’s writers.”

Co-host Lisa Chappell was slightly less back-handed, noting that without writers actors had nothing. The hosts previously teamed as director and actor in Nick Ward & Kathryn Burnett’s Mike & Virginia, which won the Best Play award.

“We’re going to be nice,” said Burnett, accepting the award.

“Usually it’s awful going up against young writers, because they usually win,” observed Ward. “So fuck you. I’ve been working in film for many years hoping to break into theatre.”

Gaylene Preston received the NZWG award for mentoring, to add to her Doc Edge Outstanding Contribution gong from a couple of years back, in more gracious fashion. Appropriately, she’ll go on to present a session on Tatarakihi: the Children of Parihaka with current mentee Paora Joseph at the weekend’s Big Screen Symposium.

Winner of the Short Film Award, The Dump, is confirmed as one of the early announcements by this year’s Show Me Shorts festival.

Shortland Street script producer Paul Sonne accepted the special award, with NZWG ED Steven Gannaway having noted that over the years over 200 writers have developed their craft on the show.

“You could drug test us and probably find traces of steroids and other dubious substances,” said Sonne. “But we’re not giving the award back, because it’s a really nice thing to have.”

And so, Te Radar said, “It’s on to the award everybody’s waiting for – the last one.”

In a neat circular thing, the winners of the evening’s first gong were also the winners of the last. Jessica Charlton & Juliet Bergh took the stage to accept the Best Feature Script award to add to the Best Newcomer gong they’d received a mere 22 minutes earlier.

This year’s winners were (marked ***):

Best New Writer
Jessica Charlton & Juliet Bergh for Existence

Best Unproduced Feature
Random Acts of Violence by Guy McDouall
Abandoned Islands by Maya Hammarsal
Looking for Lila Ray by Linda Niccol
Poppy by Linda Niccol
***Miss Adventure by Linda Niccol
Hurricane Farm by Tim Carter
Meanage by Joe Lonie
You and Me by Casey Whelan
Living La Vida Lagos by Casey Whelan
Annabelle by Jackie Van Beek

Best Short Film Script
Lambs by Sam Kelly
***The Dump by Hamish Bennett
Milk & Honey by Marina McCartney

Best Television Episode: Comedy Script
Hounds, Episode 5 by Thedownlowconcept
***Auckland Daze, Episode 4 by Millen Baird
Golden, Episode 3 by Lucy Schmidt & Stayci Taylor

Best Television Episode: Drama Script
***The Almighty Johnsons, Series 2, Episode 5 by James Griffin
Nothing Trivial, Series 1, Episode 13 by Rachel Lang
Go Girls, Series 4, Episode 1 by Gavin Strawhan

NZWG Special Award
Shortland Street

Best Play
Snip by April Phillips
Mike & Virginia by Nick Ward & Kathryn Burnett
The Pantry Shelf by Mark Prebble & Marion Shortt

Best One-off Television Drama
Safehouse by John Banas
Siege by John Banas
***What Really Happened – Votes for Women by Gavin Strawhan

NZWG Industry Mentor Award
Gaylene Preston

Best Feature Film Script
Existence by Jessica Charlton & Juliet Bergh
Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business by James Griffin & Oscar Kightley
Good for Nothing by Mike Wallis

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