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Wilderpeople hunts downs Moas

After a break in 2016 and a shift in the dates, the NZ Film Awards aka Moas were presented Saturday night at an entertaining event in Auckland.

The hosting honours were done by Josh Thomson, who worked in several shameless plugs for the upcoming Gary of the Pacific. Among the presenters were many previous award winners, plus Zoe Bell and visiting UK director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), who’s here to promote next week’s release of T2: Trainspotting.

19 narrative features, nine documentary features and 12 short films were named finalists. Going into the evening, Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople led the nominations as it did the box office last year. Wilderpeople took 15 nods, with The Rehearsal (13) and Mahana (12) the next most-nominated titles.

At the end of the evening, The Rehearsal left empty-handed, Mahana had the Editing gong, and Hunt For The Wilderpeople had seven awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Julian Dennison), Supporting actor (Sam Neill), Supporting Actress (Rima Te Wiata) and Visual Effects. Now in post on Thor, Waititi accepted his two awards via video. Accepting the Best Film Award for Wilderpeople, Leanne Saunders thanked Neill for joining the cast. “We knew we were financed at that point.”

The nominations covered a two-year release period which delivered strong fields in pretty much all the categories except Best Actress, where one could argue that at least two of the nominations were supporting rather than lead roles. While there’s been some improvement in the numbers of women directors, producers and writers over the last couple of years, it seems there’s still a way to go in getting up films led by female characters.

Currently in New York as recipients of the Arts Foundation’s Harriet Friedlander residency, Christopher Pryor and Miriam Smith took the Best Documentary and Documentary Cinematography gongs for The Ground We Won. Trigger and one of the film’s subjects did the accepting honours, noting some initial suspicion of the filmmakers. “We weren’t sure if the rooster was real.”

Among a very strong Shorts line-up, Ivan Barge’s Madam Black added to its considerable awards collection by taking Best Short.

Among the evening’s other multiple award winners was The Great Maiden’s Blush, which took the only acting award not to go to Wilderpeople, Miriam McDowell for Best Actress, and the gong for Best Self Funded Film.

The surprise winner of the evening among the features was Slow West, which took four gongs.

Neill did the honours presenting the Services to Cinema award, acknowledging that the honoree, “maker of quintessential New Zealand stories” Gaylene Preston, had a dozen NZ film awards to Neill’s one – ppresented earlier in the evening for his being “assistant actor” on Wilderpeople. Preston, also named Industry Champion at last year’s SPADA Awards, called the Services to Cinema award “toppermost of the poppermost” although she noted, “We can’t put them on the mantelpiece in Wellington because of the earthquakes – but this one’s plastic so it should be all right.”

Gaylene Preston and Sam Neill

Neill, who last year received an honorary gong in Australia, described such Lifetime Achievement awards as terminal. “Thanks for your work, now you can rack off”.

Preston didn’t intend slowing down. “I want to live to 101 – long enough to see the second feature made by a Maori woman.” While the event didn’t run an In Memoriam reel, Preston did call for a toast “to those who left early”.

The NZ Film Awards were presented on Saturday 18 February in Auckland. Naming rights sponsor Rialto Channel will screen a highlights programme on at 5.25pm, Saturday February 25.

The winners were (marked ***):

Rialto Channel Best Film
Free in Deed
*** Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Slow West
The Rehearsal

Fish Best Director
Jake Mahaffy, Free in Deed
*** Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Lee Tamahori, Mahana
John Maclean, Slow West
Alison Maclean, The Rehearsal

flicks.co.nz Best Screenplay
*** Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
John Collee, Mahana
John Maclean, Slow West
Andrea Bosshard, The Great Maiden’s Blush
Alison Maclean and Emily Perkins, The Rehearsal

NZ On Air Best Television Feature
*** Abandoned
How to Murder Your Wife
Venus and Mars

Park Road Post Best Self Funded Film
Broken Hallelujah
Stars in Her Eyes
*** The Great Maiden’s Blush
Three Wise Cousins

Best Actress
Rachel House, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Caren Pistorius, Slow West
*** Miriama McDowell, The Great Maiden’s Blush
Kerry Fox, The Rehearsal
Laurence Leboeuf, Turbo Kid

Best Actor
Milo Cawthorne, Deathgasm
*** Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Temuera Morrison, Mahana
Michael Fassbender, Slow West
James Rolleston, The Rehearsal

Manukau Urban Maori Authority Best Supporting Actress
Onyeka Arapai, Born To Dance
Nova Waretini-Hewison, Chronesthesia
*** Rima Te Wiata, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Nancy Brunning, Mahana
Ella Edward, The Rehearsal

Te Whānau O Waipareira Best Supporting Actor
Jordan Vaahakolo, Born To Dance
Ben Mitchell, Broken Hallelujah
*** Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Kieran Charnock, The Rehearsal
Edwin Wright, Turbo Kid

Image Zone Best Cinematography
Simon Raby, Deathgasm
Lachlan Milne, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Ginny Loane, Mahana
*** Robbie Ryan, Slow West
Waka Attewell, Alun Bollinger, The Great Maiden’s Blush

Letterboxd Best Production Design
Shayne Radford, Born To Dance
Neville Stevenson, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Mark Robins, Mahana
*** Kim Sinclair, Slow West
Kirsty Cameron, The Rehearsal

Mandy VFX Best Editor
Luke Haigh, Tom Eagles, Yana Gorskaya, Hunt for the Wilderpoeple
*** Michael Horton with Jonathan Woodford-Robinson, Mahana
Roland Gallois, Jon Gregory, Slow West
Jonathan Woodford-Robinson, The Rehearsal
Luke Haigh, Turbo Kid

Bigpop Studios Best Score
Lukasz Pawel Buda, Samuel Scott, Conrad Wedde, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper and Tama Waipara, Mahana
*** Jed Kurzel, Slow West
Connan Mockasin, The Rehearsal
Le Matos, Turbo Kid

Bigpop Studios Best Sound Design
*** Phil Burton, Chronesthesia
Gareth Van Niekerk, Amy Barber, Chris Sinclair, Deathgasm
Dick Reade, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Dick Reade, Fred Enholmer, Tim Chaproniere, The Rehearsal
Dick Reade, Turbo Kid

Images and Sound Best Visual Effects
Simeon Duncombe, Chronesthesia
Jason Lei Howden, Sarah Howden, Johnathan Guest, Blur + Sharpen, Halcyon Digital, Park Road Post, Electricity, Deathgasm
*** Weta Digital, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Peter McCully, Dan Packer, Mahana
Curious, Alchemy 24, Turbo Kid

Best Costume Design
Kylie Cooke, Born To Dance
Kristen Seth, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Liz McGregor, Mahana
*** Kirsty Cameron, Slow West
Kirsty Cameron and Charlotte Rust, The Rehearsal

MAC Best Makeup Design
*** Vanessa Hurley, Roger Murray, Andrew Beattie, Deathgasm
Dannelle Satherley, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Susie Glass, Mahana
Dannelle Satherley, The Rehearsal

New Zealand Film Commission Best Documentary

25 April
A Flickering Truth
Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
Chasing Great
Poi E: The Story Of Our Song
*** The Ground We Won

Best Documentary Director
Leanne Pooley, 25 April
Pietra Brettkelly, A Flickering Truth
*** David Stubbs, Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
Michelle Walshe & Justin Pemberton, Chasing Great
Tearepa Kahi, Poi E: The Story Of Our Song
Christopher Pryor, The Ground We Won
David Farrier & Dylan Reeve, Tickled

PLS Best Documentary Cinematography
Jacob Bryant, A Flickering Truth
Matthew Knight, Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
Jacob Bryant, Chasing Great
Adam Luxton & Summer Agnew, On an Unknown Beach
*** Christopher Pryor, The Ground We Won
Dominic Fryer, Tickled

Lotech Media Best Documentary Editor
Tim Woodhouse, 25 April
Bradley Warden, Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
Prisca Bouchet, Ever the Land
Terarepa Kahi and Francis Glenday, POI E: The Story of our Song
*** Simon Coldrick, Tickled

Best Short Film

Linda’s List
*** Madam Black
Shout at the Ground

Halcyon Digital Best Self Funded Short Film
Accidents, Blunders and Calamities
Every Moment
Food For Thought
*** Not Like Her

Actors Agents Association of New Zealand Best Short Film Actress
Jacqueline Joe, Cradle
Bree Peters, Every Moment
*** Angela Bloomfield, Linda’s List
Kate Elliott, Not Like Her
Katlyn Wong, WAIT

Actors Agents Association of New Zealand Best Best Short Film Actor
Josh McKenzie, Bound
Matthew Sunderland, Cradle
Aaron McGregor, Every Moment
*** Cohen Holloway, Feeder
Jethro Skinner, Madam Black

Services to Cinema
Gaylene Preston

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