Home > screeNZ News > Film > Uni Shorts 2012: the winners

Uni Shorts 2012: the winners

The awards ceremony for this inaugural festival was deliberately informal, and as is the trend these days, brief. The prizegiving was bookended by short comedy routines from Unitec graduates Eli Matthewson and James Roque, soon to be seen in the Comedy Festival. Matthewson’s Star Wars parody song (accompanied by ukelele) about a stormtrooper who’s fallen in love with CP30 was described as “very Force-full” by MC Charlie McDermott, another Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts graduate.

More are planned for future years, but this inaugural year there were only four awards on offer, each offering a prize of a cash award of NZ$1,000-00 to go with a simple but elegant plaque. The prizes for Best Performance, Best NZ Film and Best International Film were straightforward, but the awarding of the audience favourite prize proved a tad problematic. Two qualifying sessions were screened each afternoon, and viewers were invited to vote for one film per session; the idea being that the film with the most votes would win. But when it became clear that the audiences for each session were varying considerably in size, particularly between the Saturday and the Sunday of the festival, there was an obvious need for adjustment. It was decided to split the prize between the two days, so that two films were awarded $500 each, rather than a single prize of $1,000.

In each category the judges gave one or two “Special Mentions”, although these carried no physical or monetary prize.

One film, the German entry Wie Ein Fremder (Stranger at Home), directed by Lena Liberta, was the standout amongst the prizewinners, garnering Sunday’s Audience Favourite as well as Best International Film and Best Performance for Arash Marandi in the role of Azad. This film won all three prizes it qualified for, in fact.

The film deals with the predicament of an illegal immigrant family from Iran living in Hamburg under “a state of toleration”, whereby such people are allowed to remain in Germany but live with considerable restrictions, including residing, working and socialising entirely within a confined geographical area in that city. Azad, the son, falls in love with a young German woman who is desperate to move to Berlin; in order to accompany her Azad would have to compromise and betray his family.

The other audience favourite award went to an entry from Estonia, Dust Off, directed by Ivan Pavljutsjov, an award that surprised some, as a number of comments were heard afterwards that it was so languid that some people (including me) found themselves nodding off during it… Clearly enough other viewers felt otherwise.

That left only the Best NZ Film category for a Kiwi entry, and the award to director Ian Hedley-Wakefield for If We Are To Be Eaten By Wolves was popular. The film, in which “two old friends face the loneliness, death and decay that have found them in later life”, and which featured well-known veteran actor Ken Blackburn, was Ian’s graduation film at Unitec.

It is planned that in future years more awards will be made – perhaps for genres like animation, for example. No doubt this will depend on the festival growing further from this first foray. Hopefully more Kiwi film schools will get involved in future, and give impetus to that growth.

The Uni Shorts 2012 winners were:

Outstanding Performance
Arash Marandi, Wie Ein Fremder, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
Special Mentions:
Adrian Lamana, Sin Palabros, ECAM Madrid (Spain)
Hila Vidor, First Aid, Sam Spiegel Film & TV School (Israel)

Best Film (New Zealand)
If We Are To Be Eaten By Wolves by Ian Hedley-Wakefield, Unitec
Special Mention:
Cocked Up by Oliver Hilbert, Media Design School

Best Film (International)
Wie Ein Fremder by Lena Liberta, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
Special Mentions:
Sin Palabros by Bel Armenteros, ECAM Madrid (Spain)
Raju by Max Zahle, Hamburg Media School (Germany)

Best Film (People’s Choice) Day 1
Dust Off by Ivan Pavljutskov, Baltic Film & Media School (Estonia)
Special Mention:
Kamambo (Butterfly) by Victoria Goodyear, Victorian College of the Arts (Australia)

Best Film (People’s Choice) Day <2/strong>
Wie Ein Fremder by Lena Liberta, Hamburg Media School (Germany)
Special Mention:
Sin Palabros by Bel Armenteros, ECAM Madrid (Spain)

You may also like
Uni Shorts opens doors for 2017
Uni Shorts finds 2016 winners
Uni Shorts sets date
Uni Shorts names 2016 finalists