The silver screen’s big winners were Amy Hirini-Robin, who received the best student film award, and Ellora Maris, presented with the ideaschool diploma programme’s coveted Pania statuette.
The gilded trophy is modelled on Hollywood’s Oscar and its form is inspired by the landmark statue of Pania in Napier’s Marine Parade gardens. Screen production lecturers, awarding it for the 10th year, were looking for consistent progress, effort and teamwork in choosing a winner.
Ellora also receives $1000 in camera equipment hire time from Staples Rentals, a company established and run by screen production graduate Aliesha Staples.
Ellora’s parents, Mark and Lyn Maris, named their daughter after a character in the fantasy film Willow. “They are into films as well,” she explains.
The 20-year-old is grateful for the support she’s had from them and her grandmother Myrtle Barrow, all Dannevirke residents. For the last two years, she has lived in EIT’s student village, handily located over the road from EIT.
“It’s a great place for meeting people of different nationality who are studying in a range of disciplines.”
On campus, Ellora enjoyed the facilities and equipment available to screen production students. Now, looking to forge a career as a film director, she anticipates moving to Auckland.
“You’ve got to keep moving,” she says, “upward and forward.”
Amy didn’t expect to win the best film award for final-year screen production students.
“It was a surprise,” she says, not least because she had to take six weeks off from study following the C-section delivery of her son Devin in July. Rather than taking the easier option of submitting a documentary made earlier in the year, she went ahead with a short film project she’d been considering for some time.
The result is Brony Tales, a mockumentary about adult men who like cartoons like My Little Pony. Classmates gave her a standing ovation following its screening.
“I’m not sure why I got it,” she says of pulling off two productions within a short time frame.
Of Ngāti Porou descent, Amy was born in Gisborne and attended Te Karaka Area School. Living now with her partner, Jake North, in Flaxmere, she enrolled in the screen production programme after completing EIT’s Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design in 2014.
“I enjoyed studying animation in the final year of the degree,” she explains. “The diploma programme has given me a greater range of film skills.”
Amy would like to continue living locally. She points out that there are opportunities for screen production graduates with several film companies operating in Hawke’s Bay.