Wonderful WIFT Award winners

Posted Wednesday 09 Dec 2020

We celebrated the 2020 WIFT Awards on Thursday night (we might have mentioned it once or twice!) and it really was a fabulous celebration of women in the industry! 

Our MC Antonia Prebble did a wonderful job and was well-supported by Shoshana McCallum. The evening's 'surprise' was Hollie Smith who sent chills down our collective spine singing Bathe In The River, and DJ Nicola Tims sustained the party vibes with great music.

Below is the list of our wonderful winners. Congratulations to you all!

SAE Award for Outstanding Newcomer

Presented by Dr Suzette Major, Director SAE Institute, and Dr Julia Reynolds, Head of Screen Production, SAE Institute to Kayleighsha Wharton for her uncompromising professionalism as a production and location manager, and the incredible humanity and care she brings to her job.

South Pacific Pictures Award for Achievement in Film

Presented by Kelly Martin, CEO, South Pacific Pictures to Pietra Brettkelly - for creating unique, intimate, beautiful cinematic works that open a window into another world.

Imagezone Entrepreneurship Award

Presented by Fiona Thomas, Imagezone General Manager, and Dean Thomas, Company Director to Sharon Menzies - for her savvy and successful work in film financing, and her tireless contribution to the screen industry.

Images & Sound Award for Success in Television and Digital

Presented by Narelle Ahrens, Foley Artist at Images and Sound to Annabelle Lee-Mather for her powerful work crafting and sharing award-winning indigenous stories and perspectives.

Professional Lighting Services Award for Unsung Heroine of the New Zealand Screen Industry

Presented by Ruthe Kenderdine, General Manager, Professional Lighting Services to Louise Baker - for her humility, passion, and meticulous hard work in many different industry roles over the past 37 years.

Fulcrum Media Finance Woman to Watch Award

Presented by Patricia Watson, representing Sharon Menzies, Managing Director, Fulcrum Media Finance to Hweiling Ow - for hitting the big league in the horror genre and her continued success developing projects as a writer, director, and producer.

Te M?ngai P?ho Te Reo M?ori Champion Award

Presented by Blake Ihimaera, Head of Content, Te M?ngai P?ho to Stacey Morrison - for her outstanding work promoting te reo M?ori as a broadcaster, performer, teacher, and author.

The Queenstown Camera Company Craft Award

Presented by Brett Mills, Managing Director, The Queenstown Camera Company to Bindy Crayford - for her pioneering spirit and incredible capability and ingenuity as a gaffer, and for being an inspiring mentor to other technicians.

The Weta Group Creative Technology Award

Presented by Poppy O'Dowd, client liaison, Wingnut Films to Amy Barber - for her inspiring standard of work and, through her company Bespoke Post, for helping change how international sound supervisors see New Zealand.

Great Southern Film & Television Award for Outstanding Contribution to the New Zealand Screen Industry

Presented by Phil Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Great Southern Film & Television to Kelly Martin - from commissioning and programming to running the country's biggest production company while being an active member of industry boards, Kelly Martin has been a longstanding champion of New Zealand-made content and a force for change on gender representation in the screen industry.

Next Up...


Abba-Rose Dinah Vaiaoga-Ioasa on Mama�s Music Box

Posted Wednesday 09 Dec 2020

Screen Shot 2020-12-09 at 2.51.18 PM

Lockdown inspired a number of amazing screen projects, and we've enjoyed showing yours off in eNews! For this last issue of eNews we have Mama's Music Box, produced by Abba-Rose Dinah Vaiaoga-Ioasa and screening in selected cinemas now!

Check out the trailer here


Keen to get working after the first lockdown, Abba-Rose Dinah Vaiaoga-Ioasa and her writer-director brother Stallone came up with a challenge for themselves: the pair, who already have several successful features under their belts, decided to make a self-funded feature film in just 30 days. They wanted to end the year on a high, and create an enjoyable film for the Pasifika audience. Oh - and to have it in cinemas before Christmas. Not too much to ask was it?

The resulting film, Mama's Music Box is a Christmas comedy. On Christmas Eve two grandchildren Matai (Unaloto Funaki) and Sam (Sieni Leo'o Olo) go looking for their grandmother's (Yvonne Maea-Brown in her third feature film role) music box - but both for very different reasons. What starts as a simple search turns into a wild chase as they uncover family secrets and unexpected obstacles in a race to get the perfect present before Christmas Day.

We talked to Abba Rose about how it all worked out.

WIFT: What was the inspiration behind the 30-day challenge?

Abba-Rose: After the first lockdown a lot of movies were getting pulled from cinemas or going straight online. We thought it was a good opportunity to make a movie and so we aimed to get it into cinemas by early December. The inspiration was the 48Hours film, but a feature version instead. We thought we'd do it ourselves first to see what was possible, then maybe next year invite others to do it.

WIFT: How many days did it actually take?

Abba-Rose: We started it on 16 October and finished 15 November, and that included brainstorming ideas, writing the script, casting, filming, the music and editing. We left the colour grading and sound out.

WIFT: Apart from the time constraint, what were some of the challenges you faced?

Abba-Rose: The budget was tiny, $25,000 - you'd use that to make a short film, not a feature! That meant even the brainstorming and scripting stages were difficult because we'd go round in circles with ideas; we knew if we wanted to get the film into cinemas it needed to be at a certain standard. Also it had to be entertaining to our primary audience of Pasifika people. And we had to think about casting and who would actually be available for that time.

The Art Department was a challenge. There was no dedicated art department! And we'd made it a Christmas film which we thought was a great idea since the film would hopefully be released in December. But we were filming in October so we were trying to source Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree just before Halloween! We had to ask family and friends if we could borrow some. But we made it work.

WIFT: What was easier than you'd expected?

Abba-Rose: Our composer Andrew Faletau, was with us in Auckland - normally he's in Sydney. He started on the first day and he brainstormed a lot, he had lots of ideas for the editor. Instead of using other tracks from other libraries we could use his actual work, which made workflow easier. Normally he sends a track through, we listen, then send our feedback, so it was quicker.

WIFT: How did you get the film into cinemas?

Abba-Rose: We touched base with Hoyts and Events cinemas before we started and so they were aware we had a film. They needed to see a draft after the 30 days and they were interested. Our audience doesn't get many feature films.

WIFT: Would you do it again?

Abba-Rose: Haha, I would after I've had some sleep! I would extend it to 40 days, for a feature or 45 and include the colour grading and sound. So the full film can be properly finished.

WIFT: What's the main thing you took away from the experience?

Abba-Rose: As much as it is hard, it is possible to make a feature film in 30 days! Also, Stallone and I were really grateful for our supporting cast, Tui Eddie Taualapini who was 86, and Yvonne Maea Brown who is 76. Working with them both on one project was an awesome and humbling experience for us. I think everyone's going to fall in love with them.

WIFT: What does your mum think of the film?

Abba-Rose: Mum was actually on the unit, she did the catering for us (as she has for our other films!) She thought it was entertaining but she was surprised how emotional she felt by the end. It's a funny film but also very heartfelt.