'Shopping' Dominates the New Zealand Film Awards With Seven Wins


New Zealand (Directors: Mark Albiston, Louis Sutherland, Screenwriters: Louis Sutherland, Mark Albiston)

New Zealand, 1981: Seduced by a charismatic career criminal, teenager Willie must choose where his loyalty lies – with a family of shoplifters or his own blood. Cast: Kevin Paulo, Julian Dennison, Jacek Koman, Alistair Browning. World Premiere

Hugh Laurie wins best actor for "Mr. Pip" and filmmakers renew calls for the government to raise incentives for big budget productions.

Shopping, the debut feature from Louis Sutherland and Mark Albiston, dominated the New Zealand Film Awards on Tuesday, winning seven categories and beating out industry veteran Andrew Adamson’s independent feature Mr. Pip, which took out four awards.

The awards, affectionately know as the Moa’s, were handed out at a ceremony in Auckland.

A coming of age tale featuring muscle cars, domestic abuse and a boring retail job, Shopping won the major awards including best film, as well as best direction and best screenplay awards for Sutherland and Albiston. Ginny Loane won best cinematography, while the film also won best poster design.

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The New Zealand awards cap off a year of critical acclaim for Shopping, including its Grand Prix win (of the Generation 14plus International Jury) at Berlin International Film Festival.

The acting awards were evenly divided between M.r Pip and Shopping. British star Hugh Laurie won best actor for his turn in Mr. Pip as an English teacher helping the children of the war torn Pacific island of Bouganville gain a love of reading through the works of Charles Dickens. Xzannjah, won best actress. Shopping’s Julian Dennison and Laura Peterson won best supporting actor and actress respectively.

Mr. Pip also proved successful for Ngila Dickson who won best costume design, and Harry Gregson-Williams and Tim Finn, who won best film score.

Jane Campion’s haunting return to television, Top of the Lake was named best TV feature or drama series, and Utu and Goodbye Pork Pie director, Geoff Murphy, received the Legacy Award.

“The winners and all the nominated films are deserving of a large audience," the awards event producer Ant Timpson told local media. These awards are a confirmation that we do indeed have a film industry and it's a very healthy one at that."

However others used the awards ceremony to focus on calls for the government to increase rebates, which they said would help to save the industry from a major downturn.

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Following the U.K. government’s decision to increase its tax breaks for offshore production to shoot there to 25 percent of a film's qualifying budget, the New Zealand industry believes that a crisis is looming with no big-budget productions currently filming in the country. The Hobbit films largely finished shooting in October 2012.

Chaz Harris, a Wellington based filmmaker has collected 500 signatures on Change.org, arguing that “in order for New Zealand to have a film industry at all in the long term and to move to a self-sustaining model of filmmakers generating internationally appealing content of their own in the same way Peter Jackson has found success, we need the international work in the short term to exist for experienced crews and acting talent to remain in the country and earn a living.

“As the current situation proves, this will not happen without a globally competitive rebate and also requires smart investment in allowing Kiwi content creators to reach an investment-ready stage with their commercial projects - this is also not currently possible through the mechanisms offered right now,” Harris says.

The full list of the 2013 winners of the New Zealand Film Awards is:

Best Film: Shopping

Best Director: Shopping - Louis Sutherland and Mark Albiston

Best Screenplay: Shopping - Louis Sutherland andMark Albiston

Best Actor: Mr Pip - Hugh Laurie

Best Actress: Mr Pip - Xzannjah 

Best Supporting Actor: Shopping - Julian Dennison

Best Supporting Actress: Shopping - Laura Petersen

Best Self-Funded Film: Crackheads - Tim Tsiklauri and Andy Sophocleous

Best Cinematography: Shopping - Ginny Loane

Best Editor: The Weight of Elephants - Molly Marlene Stensgaard

Best Score: Mr Pip - Harry Gregson-Williams and Tim Finn

Best Sound: Mt Zion - Dick Reade

Best Costume Design: Mr Pip - Ngila Dickson

Best Makeup Design: White Lies - Abby Collins, Yolanda Bartram, Vee Gulliver, Andrew Beattie, Main Reactorand Roger Murray

Best Production Design: White Lies - Tracey Collins

Best Poster Design: Shopping - Geoff Francis

Best Self-Funded Short Film: Le Taxidermiste - Nick Mayow and Prisca Bouchet

Best Short Film: Here Be Monsters - Paul Glubb, Nic Gormanand Nadia Maxwell

Best Short Film Actor: Strongman - Tony Green

Best Short Film Actress: Blind Mice - Rachel Nicholls

Best Cinematography in a Short Film: Echoes - Andrew Stroud

Best Short Film Script: Echoes - Campbell Hooperand Joel Kefali

Best Technical Contribution to a Short Film: Blankets - Visual Effects - Frank Rueter, David Dukeand Bodo Keller

Best Documentary: Gardening With Soul - Vicky Pope and Jess Feast

Best Documentary Cinematography: Antarctica: A Year On Ice - Anthony Powell

Best Documentary Director: Beyond The Edge - Leanne Pooley

Best Documentary Editor: He Toki Huna: NZ in Afghanistan - Annie Goldsonand James Brown

Best Television Feature or Drama Series: Top of the Lake - Jane Campion, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Philippa Campbell

Lifetime Achievement Award: Geoff Murphy