NZIFF 2023: DEGANZ Members as NZ’s Best

The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has announced this year’s New Zealand’s Best lineup, with DEGANZ members involved in four of the six short films selected. 

From the 81 films submitted this year, only 12 were chosen for the shortlist. Then, the final six were picked by Guest Selector Niki Caro, well-known for her film Whale Rider. She praised the projects, saying:

This selection of short films features fresh perspectives, acts of resistance, and small but powerful stories perfectly told. From a range of different voices, these films are tough and tender.

The shorts will screen during NZIFF before a jury of three selects the winners of the $7500 Best Short Film Award, the $4000 Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award, and the $4000 Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award. Additionally, audiences vote for their favourite short in which the winner takes home 25% of the total box office sales. Last year, Perianayaki, directed by DEGANZ member Bala Murali-Shingade and edited by fellow member Shailesh Prajapati, won the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award, the Flicks Award for Best Short Film, and the Audience Award.

Daughter of God 

Written, directed, and co-produced by Maza White (DEGANZ), this film tells a story of an Iranian-Kiwi daughter. When forced into an arranged marriage, she must either dishonour her family or lose the love of her life.

Gate Crash 

Heightened emotions of a school ball after-party pared with deft shifts in tone, this short offers a new look into the teen genre, as put by Niki. DEGANZ member Cushla Dillon is credited as editor.

Hey Brainy Man

This avant-garde comedy, co-produced by DEGANZ member Jaimee Poipoi (Incubator 2023), acts as a performance appraisal for humankind. A group of evolutionary losers warn Homo sapiens not to f*ck up the world.


When a 57-year old widow moves to Aotearoa from India, she’s forced to confront her grief by completing an ordinary ritual despite the extraordinary circumstances: quarantine. The drama short was written and directed by Pulkit Arora (DEGANZ) and edited by fellow member Jolin Lee (Incubator 2022).

Congratulations to the members involved; we can’t wait to see your mahi on the big screen!

Last updated on 5 July 2023