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Youthtown finds Challenge winners

A story exploring the self-discovery of fear and paranoia captured the imagination of judges to take out the top accolade of ‘Best Film’ at the 2011 Youthtown New Zealand Short Film Challenge.

New Zealand’s rising film talent gathered together for a red carpet ‘Oscar style’ premiere event at the Academy cinema in Auckland last night [Eds: Wednesday 17 August] to watch the short films and celebrate the winners.

It was a night for stars with entries judged by South Seas’ On Screen Acting Course Director, John Givens, and Head of Design, Allie Simpson.

Shadow took out Best Film, while Tom Mannion took away Best Director with his film Phasma Phasmatis, the same film that won Benji Angrinon the accolade of Best Actor.

In its eighth year, the Youthtown Short Film Challenge is an annual event that gives budding film makers, actors and actresses, between 13 and 18 years of age, the chance to showcase their talents.

There are 10 awards from best film and director to best cinematography and $2,000 worth of Harvey Norman vouchers up for grabs for the best film on premiere night.

Shadow picked up four of the 10 awards with Best Film, Best use of Prop, Best Script and Best Cinematography. Phasma Phasmatis took away a further four awards including Best Director, Best Film Runner-up, Best Actor and Best Editing. A third film, Teenage Zombie Hunters, took out Best use of Genre and Best use of Line.

Shadow is about a young male who learns that his fear and paranoia is self afflicted. The film explores how the two can manifest in one’s mind – especially a vulnerable teenager’s.

The main protagonist in Phasma Phasmatis is a boy who has died in a car crash but doesn’t yet know he’s a ghost. He spends his final day on earth walking around completely unnoticed and alone. The purpose of the film is to remind the audience to appreciate the gifts around them and ‘live each day’.

Teenage Zombie Hunters shares the story of a boy who is left alone for a night and has a scary encounter with zombies. All scenes for the film were shot over just one night.

Youthtown CEO, Keith Thorpe, says; “We have an extraordinary pool of creative youth talent in New Zealand and we are delighted we can assist in recognising and rewarding this talent through the Youthtown Short Film Challenge.

“Congratulations to our winners and all those who gave it a go,” says Thorpe.

This year’s films were required to include the line “You won’t believe what happened next…” and feature a pair of oversized sunglasses as a prop.

To enter, film-makers must be aged between 13 and 18 years old and not studying film making or other related subjects full time at a tertiary institution in 2011. Each film was required to be between four and seven minutes in duration.

The Youthtown New Zealand Short Film Challenge attracts a diversity of styles and genres and is a great way for teens that may be interested in a career in film and television or those who have passion to pull together as a team and get creative through the medium of film.

To view the winning films, or for more information, head to www.youthtown.org.nz

2011 Films included:

Agent Incognito by Monish Chaud – Hamilton
In a present day world if International crisis, Alex is a spy created by the government to carry out a top secret investigation concerning a Russian terrorist. However he is hesitant when the suspect is identified as a new neighbour who claims he just moved from Australia.

Believe it or not by Caitlin Hope – Oamaru
When 5 year old Harry tells his mother that he saw his brother push someone off a cliff, she doesn’t believe him because of the silly stories he has told her in the past. But could there be more to Harry’s stories than a fertile imagination?

The Boatshed by Sophie Burridge – North Shore
On the shores of the lake, young Rower Molly and two dynamic detectives come across the mystery of what is in the boat shed.

Pasma Phasmatis by Tom Mannion – Bayswater
A young boy discovers something that will change his ‘life’ forever.

Paranoia by Motion – Youthtown Taupo
Sophie is paranoid she is being followed. Her family and friends think its in her head and she is starting to believe them.

Shadow by Tamara James – Parakai
This film is about a young male who discovers fear and paranoia are self inflicted, however his discovery does not come easy.

Teenage Zombie Hunters by Joshua Spoors Candy – Point Chevalier
Callum is an average teenage boy who has been left alone for the night. His friends are coming over and all seems great, until something goes horribly wrong.