Seventeen year old WIFT member Natasha Bishop, the youngest film-maker ever to have a film selected at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF), is celebrating after winning two awards at the festival.
Her short film Arboraceous won the Best Newcomer and Best Animation awards at a gala awards ceremony in Toyama, Japan, this evening.
"I'm really amazed and honoured to win these awards." said Natasha, who is at the festival representing her film. "It's been an awesome experience to be at JWFF and to see my film screen with all these great films from around the world. To be given these awards just makes it even more special."
The biennial festival is the most prestigious of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. This year it selected just 43 films to screen in competition, with Arboraceous up against films made by the BBC, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and other international broadcasting giants.
Arboraceous is entirely written, directed and animated by Natasha and she also composed and performed the film's music.
Created when she was just sixteen, Arboraceous was made for New Zealand's The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people in 2012. It won the Department of Conservation Big Picture Award and was also honoured as The Body Shop Standout Winner.
Over the three days of the JWFF, Natasha and David Jacobs, director of The Outlook for Someday, ran three seminars for festival audiences and Japanese media.
"Arboraceous is a film that shows how our connections - to nature and to each other - are the key to sustainability. What better place for the film to be recognised than at an international festival that celebrates nature and conservation."