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Talent Identification High On Priority List

Show Me Shorts, Auckland, 15 October 2014: Show Me Shorts Film Festival and Script to Screen have announced the names of six up-and-coming screenwriters who will participate in New Zealand’s fifth Short Film Lab.

The 2014 Short Film Lab participants are: Linda Hughes, Miles Murphy, Chantelle Burgoyne, Kelly Walker, Mark Prebble, and co-writers Prue Cunningham and Zanna Gillespie.

In the interests of talent identification and professional development for New Zealand screenwriters, Show Me Shorts Film Festival and Script to Screen collaborate to provide the Short Film Lab, hosted by the University of Auckland’s Screen Production Programme and supported by the New Zealand Film Commission.

This hothouse mentoring scheme enables writers to workshop fresh new ideas for short film. Over the course of a full day development workshop, participants will be guided in breaking down their scripts by experienced industry practitioners who have excelled in short film making, including Jackie van Beek (In Safe Hands, Go the Dogs), Jake Mahaffy (Free in Deed, Wellness, Miracle Boy) and Shuchi Kothari (Firaaq, Apron Strings, Coffee and Allah).

A total of 69 applications were received for the Short Film Lab this year, demonstrating the health and vitality of this thriving sector of the screen industry. The selection panel was made up of director and producer Paul Swadel (Poppy, When A City Falls), writer and director Hamish Bennett (The Dump, Ross & Beth), screenwriter Dianne Taylor (Vice President of the New Zealand Writer’s Guild), Esther Cahill-Chiaroni (Executive Director of Script to Screen), and Gina Dellabarca (Festival Director of Show Me Shorts).

“It was a privilege to read such a great mix of unique voices and interesting concepts. I’m looking forward to seeing the work of all 12 shortlisted writers on the big screen in future!” – Hamish Bennett.

“Short film is a great medium to push boundaries. I was drawn to scripts that created unexpected worlds and story arcs that had the potential to be truly cinematic.” – Dianne Taylor.

Several previous participants in the Short Film Lab have films selected in Show Me Shorts this year, including Wendell Cooke, Jeremy Macey and Becca Barnes. Last year Lauren Jackson’s I’m Going to Mum’s (which was workshopped in the Short Film Lab) premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and won Best Short Film Script at the SWANZ Awards.

Show Me Shorts director Gina Dellabarca says “A great screenplay crafts an idea into a coherent blueprint to convey the premise to others and get them excited about the project. It forms the foundation and reference point for most of the key decisions guiding the creation of a film. That is why we and our partners at Script to Screen think it is so important to invest in professional development at the script level.”

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