The Rialto Channel NZ Film Awards (nicknamed Moas) were presented on Saturday February 18 in a glittering yet irreverent ceremony at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds.
At times it was a roller-coaster of emotions for nominees as popular favourites cemented wins while other leading contenders were pipped at the post, but in the end a charmer about a boy in the bush took home the most Moas.
Topping off a stellar year of blockbuster box office and critical acclaim, Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople took a total of 7 awards: Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor (Julian Dennison), Supporting actor (Sam Neill), Supporting Actress (Rima Te Wiata) and Visual Effects.
Waititi says: “I never get tired of acknowledgement. Knowing there’s an audience and an appreciation for my work motivates me to do more, to push myself further. It’s a huge honor to be in the same category with (Lee Tamahori) and Alison (Maclean). I’ve always looked up to them and to now stand alongside them is very cool. Obviously filmmaking is a collaborative affair so I share this honour with the cast, crew, and producers of the film, especially Carthew (Neal), who has now established himself as one of New Zealand’s greatest producers. Seeing how many great films are included in the awards this year is very positive, it’s an exciting time to be making movies. Our stories have a unique point of view that is now being appreciated around the world, and that makes me very proud to be a New Zealand filmmaker.”
Sam Neill was also there to present the Services to Cinema Award to old friend and collaborator Gaylene Preston for her outstanding contributions to New Zealand film.
The Ground We Won, a beautifully observed study of provincial rugby, for which Miriam Smith and Chris Pryor took home Best Documentary and Documentary Cinematography in the most contested category of this year’s awards.
Best actress was awarded to Miriama McDowell for her role in the Best Self-Funded film winner The Great Maiden’s Blush, while Angela Bloomfield took home Best Short Film Actress in the self-directed short Linda’s List. Madam Black, the globally acclaimed short continued its historic awards run by scooping up Best Short.
Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, T2: Trainspotting), was on hand to celebrate kiwi film and was the special guest presenter in a line-up that included Sam Neill, Zac Wallace, James Rolleston, Zoe Bell and many others.