Hillcrest High students' film hits winning note

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 05:00 06/12/2013
Better Than Mike

FIRST CLASS: The Better Than Mike film-making team from Hillcrest High School that won the Outlook For Someday environmental film-making awards. From left are Paul Newton-Jackson, Bella Cook, Hannah Savage, Emma Savage, Nowshin Humayun, Andrew Adamson, Elizabeth Newton-Jackson, Emily Scrimgeour, Jessica Aw, Lauren Empson and Esther McDowall.

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They aren't just Better Than Mike - they're better than everyone.

A musical comedy co-directed by a group of young Hamilton women was announced as the overall winner of the Someday Awards in Auckland last night.

Today is the Day, made by the team of Hillcrest High School students led by Bella Cook, Elizabeth Newton-Jackson, Emma Savage and Nowshin Humayun, delighted the judges with its buoyant humour and comedic performances.

The group was presented with the top prize by Andrew Adamson, a Kiwi director who has been at the helm of a string of blockbuster films including Shrek and the first two of the Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as an adaptation of Lloyd Jones' Mr Pip.

For the five-minute film, they and their team-mates wrote and performed a musical about a group of intrepid tree-planters who confront environmental vandals in their neighbourhood.

"The team behind Today is the Day has made a memorable film that deservedly wins this award," said Barrie Thomas, the director of The Body Shop, the competition's major sponsor.

"It is an exuberant look at how we can all do something in our own backyard, and it combines a serious call to action with a verve and vitality that reflects the talent of these young film-makers. It is a film that demands to be enjoyed."

The prize package won by the directors of Today is the Day includes Unitec courses and the use of film production facilities to the value of $8000, an iPad 2 and screen industry guild memberships for each film-maker.

"The standout winner is, for us, a standout favourite - witty, astute, cunning and enormous fun in ways that you wouldn't expect from a film dealing with such serious concerns," said Scott Wilson, a senior lecturer at Unitec's department of performing and screen arts.

"To be able to deliver a coherent message about sustainability is one thing. To do it in a musical that will - seriously - leave you humming the tune for hours afterwards is an achievement I've never before encountered.

"This film is a joy to experience and a testament to the skills and abilities of these young women."

Lee Stratford, the girls' media teacher at Hillcrest High School, said they "revelled in the process" of making the film.

Even though 2013 has been only the first year of media studies for the students, "their ability to work together like ‘old hands' through design to post-production has seen them achieve success all through the year".

"These young women are able to produce work that is visually striking, evocative and quirky."

Today is the Day was one of 20 award-winning films celebrated at the Someday Awards red-carpet ceremony at the Aotea Centre in Auckland last night.

Made by individuals and teams from ages 7 to 24, the winning films tackle social and health issues as well as environmental subjects including shark finning, palm oil, water quality, endangered sea lions, climate change, fair trade, drug addiction and community reuse of resources.

A judging team of 12 people from media, education, government and business selected the 20 winners out of 153 entries.

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Watch the film at www.theoutlookforsomeday.net/films/2013/109 

- Waikato Times

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