Check out the year’s best New Zealand short films as chosen by guest selector, Florian Habicht.
A total of 62 films were submitted for this year’s New Zealand’s Best short film competition. NZIFF Head of Programming, Michael McDonnell, and Senior Programmer Sandra Reid viewed them all to draw up a shortlist of ten, from which 2021 Arts Laureate Florian Habicht selected the five finalists. A jury of three will select the winner of the $7500 Flicks Best Short Film Award, the $4000 Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award and the $4000 Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award. The winner of the audience vote takes away the Audience Award, consisting of 25 percent of the box office from NZIFF screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
“I had a shower, shaved, put on my favourite suit, and then watched the pre-selection at home by myself, imagining I was under the stars in The Civic. Five films took my breath away, and they are all so different from each other. I loved the time travelling in these works. I loved discovering new talents. Waiting for Godot-like characters in 1820s Aotearoa, mannequin love in Saint Kevin’s Arcade, a lamb tale, a supermarket worker I fell in love with, and a vision of the future that hauntingly doesn’t feel too different to the last couple of years! Enjoy.” — Florian Habicht
Films are listed in the order that they will screen:
A troubled missionary, led by a rough Pākehā guide, treks through the forest of 1820s Aotearoa. On a journey to deliver a musket to a distant leader, they are surprised by the appearance of a young Māori man who proclaims he’s been sent to guide them. After joining their party, it is not long before the cultural differences of the trio divide them, and the missionary is forced into an awful revelation of his true nature.
Manny and Quinn 2021
Manny and Quinn is a quirky love story about a shyshopkeeper called Lorraine whose closest confidante is an outdated female mannequin named Quinn. When the men's clothing store across the arcade opens for business, Lorraine is intrigued by the handsome new shop owner, George, and his male mannequin, ‘Manny’. Lorraine and George embark on a game of dress-up with their mannequins, their interactions gently encouraging Lorraine out of her shell.
But when disaster strikes, leaving Lorraine a vulnerable mess, can she be brave and reach out to someone? Manny and Quinn reminds us that the most important thing in life is the connections we make with other people.
Recent immigrant from Sri Lanka Perianayaki’s day begins as it does every day, at her dead-end job stacking shelves at the local supermarket. As a result of her inability to speak English, she struggles to fit in and build meaningful relationships. Today, on her wedding anniversary, Perianayaki is forced to reconcile with the bittersweet realities of her life.
Perianayaki is a slice-of-life character study that provokes audiences to pause, take notice, and rethink their assumptions about immigrants, particularly those in the service industry who are often rendered invisible.
After helping their father kill a sheep for their dinner, 15-year-old Hoss and his 11-year-old brother Blue fight over what to do with the baby lamb left orphaned. After Blue resolves to keep the lamb as a pet, Hoss has to work to keep the secret from their volatile father. When their father finds out, Hoss is tasked with killing the lamb, like a man would. Instead, Hoss wakes Blue – he has a plan. In the morning, the father is shocked by what he sees... and Hoss tells him defiantly, ‘we’re keeping it.’
Starring Bruce Hopkins (Lord of The Rings), alongside Tom Scott (Avantdale Bowling Club) in his acting and writing debut, Trees takes inspiration from Jacques Tati's classic film Play Time (1967), replacing dialogue with a soundtrack of modal jazz scored by Abraham Kunin and played by Avantdale Bowling Club.
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