Tag Archive for: film festival

The Top of the South Film Festival is returning for its ninth year, with films from DEGANZ members Danika Leigh Ciullo and Brian Gill in the ‘The Savage and Savage Aotearoa‘ programme.

Danika’s short, Shredded, follows two young men when one must race the clock to find a missing phone number to save his best friend’s life.

In Solitaire, written and directed by Brian, a desperately lonely security guard’s playing cards come to life during a game of solitaire.

The festival is Top of the South Filmmakers Incorporated’s (TSF) primary annual fundraiser. This year’s festival director, appointed by the TSF Executive Committee, is fellow member Douglas Brooks.

TSF is a non-profit collective of filmmakers from across the Nelson, Marlborough, and Tasman regions looking to push the boundaries of creativity in film. The society aims to support the growth of the film industry in the region by facilitating professional development opportunities for filmmakers and providing opportunities for them to showcase their films and techniques.

The Misty Flicks Film Festival is featuring multiple DEGANZ members’ mahi this November. The festival highlights films shot in the Waikato and Central Aotearoa regions or that have a connection with these regions through cast and crew. Other films can also screen at the festival if the team behind them will attend the festival to present a workshop at the festival.

The programmers chose films of various genres and styles to bring an eclectic visual experience for festival attendees. Along with the numerous screenings, the festival also hosts workshops, panels, and social events for filmmakers and film buffs to enjoy.

Shorts Programme 1

Mothering Sunday

A horror, dark comedy short where terrifying revelations are made during a Mother-Daughter argument.

Director: Liv McClymont

Under Cover

In this dark comedy thriller, two women are tasked with unravelling the mystery behind their friend’s shady boyfriend, only to stumble upon a web of shocking secrets.

Director: Guillaume Arnoulet

Minimally Invasive

An anxious patient fears his concerns are being ignored when his routine operation yields unexpected findings.

Director & Editor: Adam Harvey

Shorts Programme 2

Proud Hooligan

In this AI-generated story, James and his unlikely companion, Helen, must stand up to the proud hooligan, Roy Randall. I mean, who else is going to defend those elderly ladies? Along the way, James learns about love, true friendship, and the need to get better at hiding his deadly knives.

Director & Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

For Thom

An isolated teenage girl suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression tries to reconnect with her best friend Milly in an attempt to fix her fragile mental state.

Director: Rafa Yam

Editor: Guillaume Arnoulet

Feature Film

Real Cowboy

A fresh new comedy! Jimmy wants to be a Real Cowboy, but there is so much to learn, staying on your feet and well, staying alive for a start!

Director: Kevin R. Luck


In addition to screening in their respective programmes, both Minimally Invasive and Proud Hooligan are featuring in the festival’s Short Film Showcase. These films represent the best of the shorts programmes and are finalists for the Best Short award this year.

Congratulations to everyone selected!

DEGANZ member Loren Taylor‘s directorial feature debut, The Moon is Upside Down, is having its world premiere at the 2023 PÖFF Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. The film will screen in the First Feature Competition, a collection of first films of promising talents.

The Moon is Upside Down, written by Loren, follows three women as they navigate an unfamiliar landscape and the contours of the human heart. First, there’s Natalia, a duped mail-order bride. Then, there’s Briar, a numbed anaesthetist determined to have a romantic weekend. Last is Faith, an empty nester on an unexpected mission of mercy.

PÖFF describes the film as “a must-watch, a thought-provoking examination of connection, loneliness, and the unpredictable twists of fate.” It also praises Loren’s directing for blending humour and introspection, allowing audiences to connect with the characters, identifying with their loneliness, yet laughing out loud at their surreal circumstances.

Being selected for PÖFF is not to be taken lightly as it is one of the 15 A-list festivals accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Association, alongside Cannes, Venice, and other world-renowned festivals.

Congratulations Loren! We look forward to the Aotearoa premiere in 2024.

Down Under Berlin in Germany is showcasing several members’ hard work – some as festival veterans and others celebrating premieres! The festival is Europe’s leading festival for Australian and Kiwi films, screening a wide range of productions from indie films to student projects to blockbusters.


Millie Lies Low, edited by Dan Kircher (DEGANZ), is the festival’s opening night special with a Q&A with Incubator alum Michelle Savill (Incubator 2018). The feature follows anxious Millie in the aftermath of impulsively abandoning her place in a prestigious internship in New York.

Anthology feature Kāinga is having its German premiere at the festival. Featuring eight unique Pan-Asian stories all set in the same house across several decades, the film chronicles the diverse and ever-changing experiences of Asians trying to make Aotearoa New Zealand their home. DEGANZ members Michelle Ang (Incubator 2020), Ghazaleh Golbaksh (Incubator 2021), Julie Zhu, and Nahyeon Lee (Incubator 2021) each directed one of the eight stories. Fellow member Mia Maramara (Incubator 2022) was a writer on the project along with Ghazaleh and Nahyeon.

Red, White & Brass, co-edited by Ben Powdrell (DEGANZ) is screening as the festival’s Focus on Aotearoa event. The film is a celebration of Tongan pride, sharing māfana and good vibes. When Maka and Veni fail to snag tickets to the most important game of their lives, they decide to form a traditional Tongan marching band, just to get in. The only problem is they have no band, no instruments…and no idea.


Shorts films are also getting their screen time in the festival’s shorts programme.

Member Rafa Yam‘s debut short For Thom is opening the programme. It follows an isolated teenage girl suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression as she tries reconnecting with her best friend Milly in an attempt to fix her fragile mental state.

Award-winning Perianayaki, edited by Shailesh Prajapati (DEGANZ), is continuing its successful festival run. A recent Sri Lankan immigrant, 56-year-old Perianayaki, begins another day at her job stacking shelves at the local supermarket. With her limited grasp of English, she struggles to fit in and understand or be understood by colleagues and customers alike. Today, on her wedding anniversary, Perianayaki is forced to reconcile with the bittersweet realities of her life.


Well done to all members involved in the selected films!

DEGANZ member Rebecca Tansley‘s feature film The Strangest of Angels is heading overseas for the 60th Golden Prague International Television Festival. The film is in competition with other works centered around music, dance, and theatre as part of the festival’s annual showcase.

The Strangest of Angels is a chamber opera inspired by the life of Kiwi writer Janet Frame. While inpatient Janet waits for a lobotomy in a 1940s mental hospital, the film entangles viewers in the relationship between Janet and her fictional nurse, Katherine. While the women grapple with inner torment, duty, and empathy, the film explores preconceptions of mental health.

The film, which recently screened in Whānau Marama NZIFF, was directed and produced by Rebecca for the New Zealand Opera.

Best of luck to The Strangest of Angels team for the festival!