Creative Kōrero, Visual Arts

Tauranga teen’s stop-motion noir film wins top prize!

Top 12 young filmmakers celebrated at IYSFF NZ National Awards Final 2019 in Tauranga

A young Tauranga filmmaker’s clever use of storytelling has seen her take out the top award in the International Youth Silent Film Festival (IYSFF) New Zealand National 2019 competition.

Tauranga Girls’ College student Daryn Bernice Saludez’s stop motion film The One Who Killed the One I Love was announced the overall winner of this year’s competition at the National Awards Final held at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre on Friday, November 8.

Along with a $2000 cash prize, the 16-year-old also received high praise for her noir-themed film from 2019 celebrity judge, actor Bree Peters (Shortland Street, Fresh Eggs, Find Me a Māori Bride).

Appearing via video at the awards ceremony, Peters explained that no matter whether it was a piece of theatre, a film, or a television show, the storyline is what she looks for first because that’s “where the heart is”.

“When you’re doing short films like this it seems you don’t have heaps of room to move, but the story is what you can always come back to and then you can layer on all those clever things on top.

“[Daryn] gave herself a hard task in trying to tell the story, but because she gave herself such limitations, I felt she had to get really clever and smart about how they told the story. It was simple, but the way she did, I was really impressed.”

Taking out second place and $1500 cash prize was Wellington filmmaker River Evan’s noir-themed film When I Wake. It was one of three awards won by the 20-year-old filmmaker after winning the awards for Best Director and Best Movie Poster.

Rounding out this year’s Top Three was the epic-themed film Inspired By Life by Middlemarch brothers Benaiah and Thomas Dunn’s. The Otago duo also had a night to as they also won the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Shot, on top of their third place win and cash prize of $1000.

Along with their accolades and cash prizes, the Top Three films will now automatically represent Aotearoa at the IYSFF International Final to be held at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon, US, in June 2020.

The IYSFF competition challenges filmmakers, aged 20 years and under, from the United States, Australia, The United Arab Emirates and Aotearoa to create a three-minute silent film set to one of 10 musical scores composed for the festival.

The 2019 Top 12 silent films screened during the ceremony, and each featured live musical accompaniment from acclaimed Australian theatre organist and special guest David Bailey, performing on Baycourt’s mighty Wurlitzer Organ.

Baycourt manager James Wilson wants to thank all of the young filmmakers who submitted entries into this year’s competition and to everyone who attended the awards final on Wednesday night.

“The big screen at Baycourt was lit up with the creativity, ideas and talent of our young people and I was blown away by the high standards of all the finalists this year. A huge congratulation to all of the filmmakers – I’ll be keeping an eye out for their names on the Hollywood walk of fame in a few years’ time!”

“We are so lucky in Tauranga to have an amazing Wurlitzer organ, based here at Baycourt, which gave the films an incredible live accompaniment, making it a very special night for all the filmmakers.”

For submission guidelines and soundtracks visit the IYSFF’s official website For more information about Aotearoa competition visit or or email



By Daryn Bernice Saludez (Tauranga Girls’ College)
Sponsored by Baycourt Community & Arts Centre

When I Wake
By River Evans (Wellington)
Sponsored by Baycourt Community & Arts Centre and Friends of Baycourt

Inspired By Life
By Benaiah Dunn and Thomas Dunn (Middlemarch, Otago)
Sponsored by Priority One

When I Wake
By River Evans (Wellington)
Sponsored by Stage Right Trust

Luke Jackson (Wellington)
Éclair Conscience
Sponsored by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Inspired By Life
By Benaiah Dunn and Thomas Dunn (Middlemarch, Otago)
Sponsored by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Sarah Kolver (Rotorua)
Sponsored by Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School

Cut and Paste
By Elena Broadfoot and Courtney Thomas, (Tauranga Girls’ College, Tauranga)
Sponsored by QUBR

BEST SHOT – $250
Inspired By Life
By Benaiah Dunn and Thomas Dunn (Middlemarch, Otago)
Sponsored by Film Bay of Plenty

When I Wake
By River Evans (Wellington)
Sponsored by Artisan Framing and Plaques

To view the Top 12 IYSFF NZ Nationals 2019 films, visit

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