Wellington film maker Sam Kelly has won the inaugural New Zealand International Film Festival best short film competition.
His film, Lambs, which is set in the Porirua suburb of Cannons Creek, was awarded the $5000 Madman entertainment jury prize.
Announcing the prize at Auckland's Civic Theatre last night, juror and Madman Entertainment representative Michael Eldred said "Lambs had the biggest heartbeat, a rawness, honesty and a wonderful humanity."
Film maker Roger Donaldson, who selected the six finalists in the competition, which drew 109 entries said Lambs "Really captures a tough uncompromising world in a very compelling way. I loved the central character's heroism. It reminded me of Once Were Warriors in the best possible way."
Lambs also won the audience award collated from four screenings in Auckland and Wellington as part of the film festival.
The short film follows 14-year-old Cannons Creek youth Jimmy who has to decide whether to stay in his abusive home to protect his younger siblings, or leave to start a new life of his own.
The cast of the film is made up of almost entirely non-actors from the Wellington region, who were scouted at schools, supermarkets, boxing clubs and netball courts.
Lead character Jimmy is played by Waka Rowlands, who was selected from audtions of pupils from schools in Porirua and Wainuiomata.
- The Dominion Post