Congratulations to the winners of NZIFF’s NZ’s Best 2023 awards, including DEGANZ members Pulkit Arora and Jaimee Poipoi! After the six finalist films premiered, the jury (including DEGANZ member Peter Roberts) announced the winners.
For Anu, Pulkit won the Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent award with a $4,000 cash prize. The jury commented:
Writer-director Pulkit Arora has crafted a soulful and sensitively-wrought portrait of a woman literally and figuratively isolated in her grief. Movingly uncovering the oft-dismissed residual pain of the pandemic era, Anu discovers the cinematic hidden within the drab of an anonymous quarantine hotel. Aided by an exquisite lead performance from Prabha Ravi, Arora firmly announces himself as a fresh talent to watch.
Hey Brainy Man, co-produced by Jaimee, won the $7,500 NZIFF Patrons Award for Best Short Film. The jury’s comments were:
Formally daring, bitterly humorous and dreamily unsettling, Hey Brainy Man is a heady alchemical mix of absurdist flourishes and clearheaded warnings about humankind’s hubris. Backed by an endearingly batty chorus of Neanderthals, directors Randerson and Taylor are clear in their messaging, sounding the alarm without ever succumbing to overt or obvious preachiness. The film’s final note is one of dreadsoaked foreboding, lingering in the mind long after it’s subjects have faded into the ether.
Additionally, DOP Adam Luxton, who worked on both Anu and Hey Brainy Man, received a special mention for his cinematography.
The Audience Award, voted for by the public, will be given on the closing night of the festival in Wellington. The winner will receive 25% of box office sales from NZIFF screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. Non-Auckland festival goers, make sure you get to NZ’s Best and vote for your favourite film of the bunch!
Well done to the award winners and their fellow finalists! We are already excited to see next year’s selection.