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It’s time to enter the Monster Children Film Awards presented by Lake Wānaka Tourism. With $30,000 in prizes up for grabs filmmakers are being asked to submit entries on this years theme Regeneration.

Logo over a photo of the mountains

How does the competition work?

Filmmakers are being asked to submit films in line with this year’s theme. A short list of ten films will be selected and our guest judges will decide the final five finalists. The five finalists will then be tasked to submit a treatment of a film they would like to make in Wānaka around the theme of Regeneration. The best treatment will be crowned this year’s Monster Children Short Film Awards winner.

It could be a documentary, an interview, or something entirely abstract. The most important thing is that the film interprets the themes of the importance of Regeneration and is at least 30 seconds long, but no longer than 10 minutes.

There are no limits to the interpretation of this theme, it  could be a documentary, an interview, or something entirely abstract and artsy. The most important thing is that the film interprets the themes of the importance of Regeneration and is at least 30 seconds long, but no longer than 10 minutes.

Dark forest in the late afternoon sun

2023 Theme: Regeneration

Following on from the highly successful inaugural film comp in 2022 this year’s theme explores connection to our natural world. There is a global move towards a regenerative future. It goes beyond minimizing environmental harm to contribute holistic value that includes social, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits. It puts life and connection at the centre of every decision we make.

So, what does Regeneration mean? It means to be reborn, to regrow, to bring back and return to what was whence and once before. Regeneration is about bringing vitality and renewed growth to our communities and our ecosystems. In this, the year of Lord 2023, Regeneration is of greater importance than ever. In the last 200-odd years, humanity has taken the Earth and done it many a nuisance, with its smokestacks spewing black into the blue sky and its waste roiling in the seas… Put simply, we find ourselves in a spot of ecological bother. The solution? Regeneration.

A river running through a valley and mountains.

The Judges

A short list of ten films will be selected and then be judged by a once again stellar panel of industry guest judges: Malia James, Peter Burger and Clare Plueckhahn, representing all parts of the globe and a wide range of genres.

Malia James

Malia has a fluid directing style that blends a relaxed atmosphere with high attention to detail, and her passion for the project is palpable on every set. She’s directed music videos for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Green Day, Halsey, MØ, RHCP, Interpol, Troye Sivan, Dev Hynes, and Rita Ora among many others. The director also boasts an impressive roster of commercial clients including Captain Morgan, Google, Adidas, Head & Shoulders, Wrangler, Bose, and Truly.

Clare Plueckhahn

Clare is a director with experience in scripted drama, TVC’s and documentary. Most recently she has directed Neighbours, 2nd Unit on Picnic at Hanging Rock and comedy feature Ricky Stanicky. A household name in the Australian commercial world, Clare has a long list of clients including Rip Curl, McDonalds, Aesop, TAC and The Australian Ballet. Having started her career as a photographer, Clare has an eye for the visually interesting and the cinematic, and her experience across camera and producing adds depth and breadth to her work.

Peter Meteherangi Tikao Burger’s

Peter’s first drama Fish Skin Suit won Best Drama in the 2002 NZ Film and Television Awards. In the same year his short film Turangawaewae was selected for Critic’s Week at Cannes. In 2006 he shot his first feature, supernatural thriller The Tattooist. From there he honed his craft in serial television drama, and has directed a string of award-winning telefeatures for the Sunday night slot for Television New Zealand, including Field Punishment #1, which was the Winner of a Gold World Medal at the New York Festivals 2015. Most recenly Peter was the lead director on Māori supernatural fantasy show The Dead Lands for AMC’s streaming service Shudder, and spooky crime dramas One Lane Bridge and The Gone for TVNZ and Ireland’s RTE. Peter is of Ngāi Tahu, Rangitāne and Pākehā descent.

Three judges for the Monster Children Short Film awards

2022 Winner: Jake McCann

Last year, the theme of our inaugural and hugely successful Monster Children Short Film Awards was A Sense of Place, and we saw 223 incredible entries and the winning film was taken out by Australia Jake McCann. Jake submitted his winning entry Tales of a Western Road, and went onto create the film A Place to Stand (below) which was directed and produced right here in Wānaka.


Film in Wānaka

The Monster Children Short Film Award celebrates storytelling, originality, provides a platform to encourage work that creates a powerful connection between people and place, and supports the economic diversity of the Queenstown Lake district by highlighting the depth and breadth of the local film industry, providing quality employment opportunities and career pathways. Wanaka is an incredible place for filmmaking and storytelling. It has strong local film industry base and is an exciting hub for new talent.

Entries close May 14th. To submit your own film for the competition, enter here.