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Lake Wānaka Tourism is excited to partner with youth publisher, creative agency and production house; Monster Children Group, on the short film awards that will see the winner receive a $10,000NZD prize package, plus production budget, and mentorship to create their short film on location right here in Wānaka.


How does the competition work?

New Zealand and Australian filmmakers are being asked to submit entries that center on a place where they feel most connected. There are no limits to where this place can be.

Each ‘Short Story’ should be no longer than 5 mins and can be as short as 30 seconds. Films will then be judged by a panel of expert industry guest judges.

A shortlist of five finalists will be selected, with the next stage seeing them submit their ideas for a short film to be shot on location in Wānaka. Based on a clear set of criteria the treatment will be declared the winner.

We’re looking for submissions about the human condition that portray a deep connection with place, history and culture.With the winner receiving a $10,000NZD cash prize, then travelling to Wānaka to make their fully funded short film in collaboration with Monster Children Films and with support from the local film industry.”


The judges


Ben Briand is a filmmaker whose work is visually striking, profoundly emotional, and makes audiences believe ‘the unreal can be real.’ He has directed projects featuring Gal Gadot, Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Joseph Fiennes, and Odessa Young, to name but five. Ben has won awards that include the MTV One80Project Awards judged by Paramount Pictures Australia, the silver Shots YDA (Young Director Award) at the Cannes Lions, and three Best Director nominations from the Australian Directors’ Guild.


Kai Neville is the director, cinematographer, and editor behind classic surf films like Modern Collective, Cluster, and Dear Suburbia. He’s shot everyone who’s anyone in surf and he’s done more to capture the spirit and beauty on celluloid than anyone we know.


Lula Cucchiara is a queer Latinx artist, creative film director, and photographer who creates bold, stylized and very recognizable work. Lula has lived in New Zealand for the past twelve years but is originally from Argentina. Her film, art, and fashion photography background gives her work an allure and polish that is distinctly her own. Her clients include Mercedes, i-D, Vogue, Black Magazine, Glassons, and Stephen Marr, and she has directed projects for Benee, Lady Hawk, and Fiona Clarke.


Aotearoa’s Benn Jae’s striking visuals in the world of fashion photography attracted the attention of Universal Music, who asked if he’d be interested in trying his hand at directing. He was interested, and now he’s a well-known figure in that visual arena. Benn has made videos for The Veronicas, Jessica Mauboy, and Boy & Bear, among others, and commercial clients include L’Oréal, Vogue Australia, and Holden,. Besides his commissioned work, Benn makes award-winning shorts, and his feature film ‘PHOENIX’ is scheduled to begin production in December.


Finally, Dylan River is an award-winning First Nations filmmaker and photographer from Mpartnwe (Alice Springs). He shot Sweet Country, The Beach, Mystery Road and directed Buckskin, Finding Maawirrangga, and Finke: There and Back. He’s won a slew of AACTA’s and international awards for his direction and cinematography.


We want to support the art of storytelling, originality, and provide a platform to encourage work that creates a powerful connection between people and place, while supporting the economic diversity of the district by highlighting the depth and breadth of the local film industry.


Film in Wānaka

Wānaka has always drawn incredible creatives from all over the world to our beautiful mountains. And filmmaking in Wānaka is growing quickly.

“Cultivating local storytelling that draws on our district’s strong sense of place is a focus area for the film office right now, so we’re excited to support this project.” says Kahli Scott, Film Queenstown Lakes Coordinator. ”The competition winner will find no shortage of inspiration and expertise to draw on here.

“Wānaka is an incredible place for filmmaking and storytelling. It has a strong local film industry base and is an exciting hub for new talent, too.”


To learn more about the Monster Children Short Film Awards presented by Wānaka and to view submissions, click here.

To submit your own film for the competition, click here.