BIRDSONG wins at American Film Festival

"Local film scoops international award"

Wednesday, 6 November 2013, 1:22 pm
Press Release: Independent Herald

By Rob Johnson

A short film created by 19 students at Wellington's New Zealand Film and Television School has won the Best Foreign film category at the Indie Fest USA International Film Festival.

Birdsong, a short film set in stylised 90s New Zealand, follows a young boy's changing perception of his eccentric father.

It is the first time that a graduate film from the Film School has won at an International Film Festival.

Executive Director of the Film School Sashi Meanger says the award is the highest accolade the school has ever achieved.

"The award means everything. It confirms what we teach is high calibre and at an international level. It's great for our students to enter the school and get recognition on a world stage. New Zealand ought to join in celebrating this success. It is huge for the New Zealand film industry."

Birdsong, directed by Ben Childs, has also been selected for the Sandfly International Film Festival in Australia.

Mr Meanger says crews work on their films all year as part of their end of year project.

"They get five weeks of pre-production, where they type up scripts, organise costumes, locations and actors. They then get just five days to shoot their scenes and a further month for editing and publicity in the post-production stage."

He says they deliberately set tight deadlines to prpare the students for the expectations and pressures in the industry.

Mr Meanger says Crew 25 is the best crew to have attended the school to date and their fantastic work solidifies that statement.

"From Day 1 in Ben's entry interview I saw an x-factor in him and thought 'this kid is going to make it big. He already had a feature-length film project he was working on and has the personality and manner to succeed in anything he attempts."

Mr Childs has extended his stay in America to attend the Screening of Birdsong on Hollywood Boulevard and has been enjoying a tour around Hollywood with Oscar-nominee Sally Kirkland.

Having the film recognised at both film festivals is great for both the Film School and the graduates involved, says Mr Meanger.

"Gaining international recognition is what we all dream of, it's fantastic."