Young film makers make the cut

A scene from Sophie Webster’s Case Thief.

Two of the top 12 Kiwi film makers in this year’s International Youth Silent Film Festival are from Tauranga.

They’re Sophie Webster of Tauranga Girls’ College, with her mystery Case Thief, and the other local finalists are Ruben Connolly, Ben Saunders, Mason Williams and Liam Fitzpatrick of Otumoetai College, with their hero movie entitled Family Jewels.

The IYSFF is an international competition which challenges filmmakers, aged 20 and under, to create a three-minute silent film set to one of 10 musical scores composed especially for the festival.

This year’s competition attracted 35 entries across the genres of hero, romance, mystery, noir, Motown, western and slapstick. They were reduced to the top 12 silent films after a robust examination by a panel of jurors.

The other finalists are: ATTACK! of the DEATH ROBOT by Matthew Tribble, Joseph Hisayasu, Kais Azimullah and Harry Ashley of Lynfield College in Auckland; Between Frames by Sarah Kolver and Joshua Kibblewhite of The University of Auckland; Overexposed by Harry Ashley, Raymond Feng and Shamir Sarif of Lynfield College in Auckland; Princess Castle by Samuel Chitty of Mahurangi College in Warkworth; Random Act of Kindness by Benaiah Dunn, Conner Lindsay, Mitchell Hay, Callum Scott, Thomas Dunn, Ben Amende, Jonah Smith, Nathan Pedrigal and Michael Wade of Taieri College at Middlemarch; The  Essential Organ by Luke Jackson and James French from Wellington; The Key to Success by Ysabella Stevenson, Naia Doak and Alesha McFarlane of Mahurangi College; The Main Suspect by Liam Bennet in Christchurch; The Terrorist Who Tripped by Tremaine Leaso, Abigail Blackie, Rose MacClure, Kunal Vallabh, Daniel Brown and Tainas Pere of Lynfield College, and The Tipping Point by Sophia Kwon and Christina Pan of Carmel College in Auckland.

The winners of the International Youth Silent Film Festival will be decided by actor and director David de Lautour and Bay of Plenty Film CEO and director Anton Steel. The winners will be announced at the 2018 New Zealand National Awards at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre in Tauranga on October 17.

This year, IYSFF founder Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk, from Portland in the United States, will attend the 2018 New Zealand National Awards red-carpet awards ceremony. 

All top 12 films will be screened at the finals and each will feature live musical accompaniment from IYSFF composer Nathan Avakian, who is also travelling from the United States and will perform on Baycourt’s mighty Wurlitzer Organ. 

This year the Top 12 finalists are competing for a prize pool of $6750 across 10 categories, which includes $2000 for the first place winner, $1500 for second place, $1000 for third place and a $750 Highly Commended prize. 

The top films selected will go on to represent New Zealand at the IYSFF Global Awards 2019 in Portland.

Otago brothers Benaiah and Thomas Dunn became the first Kiwi filmmakers to take higher honours in the international competition after their silent film The Chase won second place and a cash prize of $US1500 at the 2018 IYSFF Global Awards.