New Zealand gives young film-maker 'big break'
06 Mar 2010
A short film about New Zealand has given one young film-maker his ‘big break’.
Celebrated Kiwi film director, Sir Peter Jackson has chosen the film Working Day - by Andres Borghi from Argentina - as winner of Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Your Big Break’ short film competition.
An original take on New Zealand, the youngest country on earth, Working Day was one of five finalists selected from 1100 entries from around the world.
The young film-maker, who comes from Argentina, was in Los Angeles for the winner’s announcement at the Film Independent Spirit Awards where 1800 celebrities, media and film industry professionals viewed the five ‘Big Break’ finalists.
Major Hollywood stars
Tourism New Zealand had pulled in two major Hollywood stars, both Academy Award winners, to assist with ‘Your Big Break’.
Lord of the Rings producer Barrie Osborne assisted the novice film-makers with filming in Queenstown, and Sir Peter Jackson had the final say in judging the five finalists.
"The standard of all five movies was very high, and I liked the way all managed to capture the themes described, especially New Zealand being the Earth's "youngest" country," said Jackson.
"There were a variety of tones and different ways to feature the natural landscapes - but the technical polish was equally high throughout. It really was a situation where any of the five finalists deserved to win. It came down to personal choice."
Jackson said Working Day stood out as a fresh and original piece of storytelling.
"This was an extremely accomplished piece and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Andres’ future work," Jackson said.
Borghi and the other ‘Your Big Break’ finalists - two Americans and two New Zealanders - were selected from a pool of 1100 screenplays submitted between 9 December 2009 and 15 January 2010.
The finalists travelled to Queenstown in February to direct their films alongside Barrie Osborne.
Their brief was to capture the spirit of the world’s youngest country in a three-minute, short film - on a limited budget but with the help of New Zealand’s world class post-production facility Park Road Post.
Winner Andres Borghi, who also appeared in his film, thanked Peter Jackson and Barrie Osborne for helping him polish his work and gain international exposure.
"100% Pure New Zealand jump started my work and career," Borghi said.
‘Your big break’ success
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler said interest in the short film competition had exceeded expectations, with the your-big-break.com website attracting 18,000 votes and 2.5 million video views in the first phase of the competition.
Engagement through social media websites was also strong, with over 1,400 fans following developments through Facebook and the competition blog.
The campaign had generated a huge amount of interest from the film community, and the involvement of industry heavy-weights Jackson and Osborne had helped attract attention, Bowler said.
"It has also given us five excellent short films that capture New Zealand’s scenery, our people and culture which will be seen around the world."
For the five finalists, the competition was indeed a big break - not only did they get to work with some of the world’s most famous film-makers but their work was given ultimate exposure at the 25th Spirit Awards and on US television.
100% Pure New Zealand is a principal sponsor of the awards which honour films made by film-makers who "embody independence and originality".
The awards are televised and reach an audience of millions.
Borghi’s film also aired on IFC - Independent Film Channel - in the US just prior to the Spirit Awards live broadcast.
The five finalists’ films and winning announcement are also on the ‘Your Big Break’ website: www.your-big-break.com
Background: Peter Jackson’s comments
Peter Jackson made the following comments on the five ‘Your Big Break’ films:
Sweet As - Aya Tanimura, USA
"This was a fun, well conceived idea which was cleverly shot with strong editing and good performances from all the cast. It had a good sense of unity and delivered on its opening premise in a delightful way. An affectionate portrayal of life in New Zealand that captured the kiwi sense of humour really well."
Working Day - Andres Borghi, Argentina
"This short film stood out as a fresh and original piece of storytelling. I loved the whimsical way it showcased the natural beauty of our country; its humour kept the viewer engaged and entertained from beginning to end. Most importantly it made you want to see more of the stunning landscapes of New Zealand. I was particularly impressed by the director's use of camera, the editing and the strong visual story-telling. This was an extremely accomplished piece of filmmaking. Congratulations Andres - I will definitely be keeping an eye out for your future work."
Something Special - Kristi Simkins, USA
"Of all the short films this showcased the landscape in the most dramatic and spectacular way. It was well performed and beautifully directed. The idea of contrasting the peace and beauty of New Zealand with the horror of war was an interesting and ambitious undertaking. I commend Kristi for taking risks with the story-telling."
Blank Spaces - Rajneel Singh, New Zealand
"This was a beautifully told short film with an understated and delightfully wry sense of humour. It was very assured piece of storytelling. Interesting use of location and a very novel concept. I enjoyed watching it immensely."
Frosty Man and the BMX kid - Tim McLachlan, New Zealand
"This captured the Kiwi spirit and sense of humour very well. It was engaging and funny in the very best way. Imaginative use of camera angles and snappy editing. It worked at 3 mins, and could just as easily form the basis for something longer. Hopefully, we'll see more of the BMX Kid!"
"Thanks for allowing me to judge these movies - I always feel a great sense of excitement (and relief) when new talent makes its mark in our industry. Welcome, all of you, and I look forward to your future movies!"
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