Young NZ filmmakers on the world stage

Lynfield College students and IYSFF International Awards 2019 first place winners, from left: Shamir Sarif, Harry Ashley and Raymond Feng celebrating their win at the IYSFF NZ National Finals 2018 held at Baycourt in Tauranga. Photo: Baycourt/Brydie Photo

The future of New Zealand filmmaking is brighter than ever after two New Zealand national silent films won higher honours in the global competition.

Overexposed by Harry Ashley, Raymond Feng and Shamir Sarif of Lynfield College, Auckland, won first place and a cash prize of USD $3000 at the International Youth Silent Film Festival awards held at Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon, US, on June 10.

Random Act of Kindness by Benaiah Dunn, Konner Lindsay, Mitchell Hay, Callum Scott, Thomas Dunn, Ben Amende, Jonah Smith, Nathan Pedrigal, Michael Wade of Taieri College, Otago, won third place and a cash prize of USD $500.

Since 2016, Baycourt Community & Arts Centre has delivered the IYSFF NZ nationals in Aotearoa, and manager James Wilson says he is over the moon to see young Kiwi filmmakers succeeding on the global stage.

“We have loved watching these young filmmakers flourish here at Baycourt during the New Zealand leg of the festival and it is fantastic to see Overexposed and Random Act of Kindness do so well against such strong international competition.

IYSFF International Awards 2019 third place winner Beniah Dunn with IYSFF founder Jon ‘JP’ Palanuk at the IYSFF NZ National Finals 2018 held at Baycourt in Tauranga. Photo: Baycourt/Brydie Photography.

“For both filmmaking teams to win honours at the International Awards will be a boost to their confidence and ambition at this early stage of their filmmaking careers. I strongly recommend keeping an eye on these names because these are the Oscar winners of the future!”

It is the second year in a row Otago filmmaker Benaiah Dunn has placed in the top three globally after his film The Chase won second place at the IYSFF International Awards 2018.

Each year the top three placed films in the IYSFF NZ nationals competition are entered into the IYSFF International Awards, and also representing Aotearoa this year was ATTACK! of the DEATH ROBOT by fellow Lynfield college students Joseph Hisayasu, Matthew Tribble, Kais Azimullah.

The IYSFF NZ nationals are one of eight regional competitions that are held each year as part of the IYSFF competition that challenges filmmakers aged 20 and under from across America, Australia, The United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand, to create a three-minute silent film set to one of 10 pre-recorded musical scores.

James says it is great to know Baycourt played a small part in getting these young winning Kiwi filmmakers works onto the big screen.

“On behalf of the IYSFF NZ Nationals team we want to offer a huge congratulations to Harry Ashley, Raymond Feng and Shamir Sarif on winning first place. We can’t wait to welcome you back to Baycourt at this year’s event to celebrate your win in style!”

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