Posted Monday 17 Feb 2014
WIFT member Nicola Peeperkoorn and fellow short film director Andrew Cooper have taken out First Prize at Tropfest NZ 2014 with their film 'Help'.
'Help' was one of the 14 finalist short films which delighted an estimated crowd of 8,000 at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth recently.
"We are surprised, shocked and honoured to win," said Cooper.
"We managed to bring together the people in our film to make magic happen," said Peeperkoorn. "The people that came out were amazing, too. There's nothing better as a filmmaker than seeing the audience reaction."
'Help' tells the story of a support group leader for wickedly weird addictions who discovers that he has his own.
"It had a great twist in it, was really well shot and acted, and cut straight to the chase," said renowned New Zealand actor and director Michael Hurst. "It was a clear winner for us."
Hurst was one of five industry judges who selected the quirky tale for top honour.
Sponsored by the Motion Picture Association and NZ Screen Association, First Prize is a return flight to Los Angeles to meet with film and TV executives, five nights accommodation and $500 spending money.
"The skill level of the finalists was extraordinary," said NZ Screen Association Managing Director Tony Eaton. "With the new young generation coming through, we are incredibly proud to be sponsor and a part of this industry."
With a cast of more than 25 in 'Help', one performance stood out. Greg Smith received the Best Actor Award for his role in the film.
The other award winners were:
Taranaki Arts Festival Trust Best Actress: Yola Brown in 'Bea Spectacled'.
Yoobee School of Design Best Animated Film: David Petit for 'The Lighthouse Keeper'.
Ngā Aho Whakaari/Wairoa Māori Film Festival/Te Puni Kōkiri Best Maori Director: Allan George for 'On the Rocks'.
Yoobee School of Design Best Use of Visual Effects: Adam Harvey for 'You Only Die Forever'.
Tropfest International Managing Director Michael Laverty was on hand to announce "WIRE" as the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) for 2015.
Kim Muriwai, chair of the Māori in film and television body Ngā Aho Whakaari, was a first time attendee at Tropfest. "It was wonderful to see families together enjoying a wide range of films," she said. "It's such a great opportunity and we'll be doing our best to make sure our talented filmmakers enter."
"It was a great turnout from the audience, the weather was perfect and we were delighted at how everything went," said Taranaki Arts Festival Trust Chief Executive Suzanne Porter.
"Tropfest NZ goes from strength to strength and we are excited to be a growing part of the largest short film festival in the world."
The Tropfest winner and finalist films can be viewed on Tropfest NZ's YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/TropfestNZ?feature=watch.