AUT student filmmakers encouraged to enter new festival


By Justin Hu (he/him)

AUT student filmmakers are being offered an opportunity to enter a first-of-its-kind nationwide film festival - and it’s not just about the prize money.

Organisers of the New Zealand Youth Film Festival have announced that contestants have until November to submit their work.


Festival director, Ryan Chow told Debate that the film festival would be more than just an opportunity for students to win prize money.

“There'll be an Oscar-style red carpet award ceremony and screening on campus in December, as well as tours of industry facilities for nominees.”


When Debate spoke to the organiser in late June, there had already been dozens of submissions. Hundreds more are expected by the time entries close in November.

It’s free to enter and open to anyone aged 15-24. A judging panel of media industry professionals is currently being organised, and shortlisted films will be screened to the public in December.

Chow, who is also an AUT student, said commercial sponsors had provided resources to make the festival happen.


“We estimate our total awards, that includes cash prizes, our festival trophies, as well as our additional rewards, including with our sponsors, to be valued around about $17,000.”

The festival has received sponsorship from Adobe, Canon, Wētā FX and Auckland Unlimited, among others.

“Tickets are going to be available for members of the public as well as the filmmakers' families” he said.

“Our plan is to also invite members of the industry to be there, so that on top of our judging panel - we also will hopefully have some VIPs here to celebrate student work.”

The organiser also explained the festival’s submission requirements: the runtime will be different for each age group.


“We have different limits for different age groups because we believe that there's going to be different levels of experience. We built three age groups to help maintain fairness.”

Chow said he hopes the festival will become an annual event that’s hosted at a different university every year. He said this year’s festival was thus far being run by part timers and volunteers.

“It's quite an intensive project for our team, but we're all very excited,” Chow said. “If it is successful this year, we hope that it will develop into a name that students recognise.


“We're trying to design it so that it's something that students would look forward to [if held annually], as well as be a real route for them to build their careers. That's our mission and that's what we aspire to create.”

Find out more about the festival and how to enter at: nzyff.com