Cannes Kiwis   2 May 2012

Anna Blair

Two short films from New Zealand will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most prestigious events in international cinema, this month. Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift is in competition for the Short Film Palme d’Or while Dimi Nakov’s Blindside will be shown in the Short Film Corner. The line-up for the festival, considered one of the most prestigious in the world, was announced last week.

Night Shift

Zia Mandviwalla’s Night Shift has been selected in competition for the Short Film Palme d’Or. Night Shift focuses on an airport cleaner, Salote, through her work on a long shift. Mandviwalla’s films often explore feelings of displacement, particularly relating to foreign cultures.

4,500 short films were submitted to Cannes for consideration. Of these, Night Shift is one of ten selected to compete for the Short Film Palme d’Or.

Night Shift is Mandviwalla’s fourth short film. Mandviwalla’s earlier work has been shown and awarded internationally. In 2009 she was named SPADA’s New Filmmaker of the Year.

Mandviwalla was born in India, moving first to Dubai and then to New Zealand in 2006. Night Shift was produced by Matt Noonan of Curious Film.

It’s unclear at the moment where Night Shift will be shown after Cannes, but those interested in seeing Mandviwalla’s work will find a selection of her commercial work on the website of Curious Film. Helena’s Story, a short film raising awareness of breast cancer in New Zealand, is particularly powerful.

Blindside

Dimi Nakov’s Blindside will be shown at the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival. Nakov’s short, which is entirely self-funded, looks at domestic violence in a middle class family.

Short Film Corner is a section at the Festival intended to help filmmakers network and show their work to those who might be interested in taking it to festivals in future. Short Film Corner is less prestigious than the competition at Cannes, but will provide opportunities to introduce Blindside to an international audience. Nakov has also just finished work on a feature film, Journey of a Story, released in New Zealand on Anzac Day and hopes Cannes will provide opportunities to promote this.

New Zealanders at Cannes

New Zealand has a prestigious history at Cannes. After France, New Zealand can boast more short films shown at the Cannes Film Festival than any other country, a particularly impressive statistic when one considers the country’s small size.

Jane Campion’s first short film, Peel, won the Short Film Palme d’Or in 1982. Campion won the Palme d’Or for feature film in 1993, with The Piano. Campion was the first New Zealander to win this coveted prize, and she remains the only woman to have received the accolade.

More recently, Sam Holst’s Meathead competed for the Short Film Palme d’Or in 2011. In the same year, Stephan Kang’s Blue was awarded Best Short Film at Critics Week at Cannes, a parallel event dedicated to first and second time directors.

2009 saw two New Zealand films in competition for the Palme d’Or. Daniel Borgman’s Lars and Peter looks at a father and two sons following the death of their mother. The Six Dollar Fifty Man, directed by Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, looks at boys growing up on the Kapiti Coast and went on to win at Sundance in 2010. Many of the New Zealand short films shown at the Cannes Film Festival in the past can now be watched through the website of NZ on Screen.

Anna Blair is a freelance writer and architectural historian studying hotels from the 1920s. She currently divides her time between Paris and East London. Further work can be found at her blogDispatches from Europe.


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