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Well normally 48Hours teams get a pass to shoot black and white once ever, so it was pretty ballsy in my book for Outcasts to shoot almost completely without colour for the second time in three years following their fantastic z-grade film in 2017, let alone a silent film!...but they nailed it, with perfect composition, contrast, music and grading that made this feel like a love letter to F W Murnau.

I appreciated the subversion, as death personified as a grandmother just made sense when watching this. The disinterest from her grandaughter paid off really well, and the cheap skeleton money shot was gold, as was the overhead axe. This has been one of the hardest genres in 2019 for teams to deal with, so I take my hat off to you. Also the acting performances were very strong given the silent approach.

I can definitely see why this was up for best script, because as a slice of life this was fantastic, with two neighbours connecting over a late night party/art exhibition while the world slowed and each day was becoming 5 minutes longer. Yes the second part of that sentence sounds odd, but coupled with the very well designed set this had an air of late night bravura calm that was infectious. Likeable, believable leads as the woman had been around the block a bit whilst the young buck displayed exceptional screen presence to show their confidence as a person yet slight nervousness at displaying their personal art for the first time. Never mind the fact that some head nodding all too true jokes were chucked in. All very impressive to convey in 5 minutes.

I think the one aspect that probably stopped this competing for more awards like the top gong in Wellington is that whilst it was excellently paced, the story beats did not really produce any narrative drama or conflict that would have elevated it further. But overall really really good. Also appreciated the film being really well lit and having excellent cleanly recorded audio. More please.

Sick burn here on app-based dating, and the many challenges that it generates by deciding a romantic fate through swiping left or right. I was thoroughly impressed by how well Squint Eastwood rapid-fired the douche canoes that plague the likes of tinder, with nobody safe whether it be the boring 'interests = movies' guy, through toxic ab showing MGTOWS and running the gauntlet through to the desperate bit too old creep. Really well done integration of split screen too, utilising the phone for the Ultra requirement whilst our pierced and tattooed dream girl for many lamented not finding the one for her.

So like story wise this had a great setup, and the pastel bright colours are always a massive breath of fresh air, the inimitable animation of Sam Harris something to behold and honestly the music was catchy as hell (A++ for the blazing autotone finish)...I was just personally struggling to resonate with this as a cohesive story. Great opening act, strong finish, but the glue of the middle piece when the rejected creep went too far just took me out of it a bit. I understand it was probably supposed to make people feel uneasy and you nailed that aspect, and that's not why I'm critical here, I just think it created a variation in the mis en scene of the whole film that felt a bit confusing by the end, when it started so amazingly well with the subversive topical approach to love.

Lots of shots that made you go damn from a cinematography point of view, as a holidaying couple chilled out in a Bali hotel, only tensions are a bit rife with the woman almost constantly on her phone, rather than just enjoying the beautiful pool for example. The fact that the team were able to show glimpses of relationship issues through simple gestures was impressive in my book, as the main actor conveyed trepidation and annoyance at her use of technology, whilst she displayed a sneaky behind the back cheater impressively well. At the same time it was left up to the viewer's interpretation as to how solid their relationship was when noises were heard in the night; was closing the window a comfort thing? But I liked the open-endedness of it all.

As to the ending? Yeah it didn't quite stick, and a little bit cold, but to me it was pieced together well enough. Kind of surprised this isn't in the Wellington final to be honest. Especially given all the sound design and music was original and extremely on point too...

A secret agent is given his orders to make the destruction of a base look like an accident, but as he takes his titular drop out of the aeroplane, his cellphone rings with a completely naive bitchy wife on the other line. Whilst he gets ready to pull the cord, she pulls his strings about housework and social engagement in typical laidback kiwi fashion.

The usage of Ultra split screen here was absolutely fantastic, utilising a comic book panel style approach but knowing exactly how to keep things engaging, with decisive editing decisions to keep one panel at the centre of the viewer's attention, yet utilising the others to give the film more of a scope coverage. The result is it actually elevates the film in that respect compared to most other Ultras I've seen this year.

Frigging fantastic sound design and impressive scope of animation pulled off. Probably just judge's personal preferences keeping this out of the Auckland final. Good voice work too. I did notice the characters dead seem a little deadpan due to no emotion in their faces like other reviewers which would probably also be my only minor qualm. Thanks for uploading, though!

Beautifully shot film as a funeral for a dearly beloved dog is accidentally interrupted by a snappy little pupper from next door. Played mostly stone faced with little bits of light spread throughout, I personally loved some of the humane touches such as the older man taking a rainbow coloured umbrella to the remembrance (when my own sister died a few years ago everyone dressed up in as bright colours as possible so that personally hit quite close to the bone). And the little boy not wanting to say goodbye had this almost hitting that really hard to reach sweet spot of emotion that is so so hard to do in this comp. Possibly the best overhead shot in Wellington as well. Music sweeping and on point too, for the most part.

But I can unfortunately see why this didn't make the final. To nitpick, the camerawork was brilliant for the most part, and I totally appreciate going handheld a good amount to convey the raw emotion of the characters, however I noticed slight focus shifts as shots came into focus on a regular basis and it was honestly a little bit distracting. I mean at times it worked as it really directed focus but at other times it just seemed a slightly out of place stylistic choice. I cannot however complain about the sound which was crystal clear.

The main issue which would have slightly held this back, as obviously the judges liked it well enough for it to make the shortlist, was that the script lost its way in the final minute. Obviously you're not going to get a perfect ending in 48, but the stealing of the dog and reaction did feel like a tonal jolt. The actors did a fine job and this probably did go close to making the Wellington final, it's just yeah for me personally that wrap up left me scratching my head :(.

After clicking on a 'win the holiday of your dreams' link that isn't spam, but the VR opportunity of a lifetime, our lead very much gets more than her bargained for when it turns out that all holidays in the world rolled into one is actually a bit nightmarish. Outstanding costume design and while the set was minimal in scope the editing was on point, leading to a claustrophobic tense effect that reflected the lead being trapped in a virtual world headset while the Easter-birthday-Xmas-chicken legged monster got up in his grill. Pretty batshit really, and definitely one of the best uses of the holiday genre this year.

I liked the oneiric feel on show here, with a what the fuck feel in buckets. I also appreciated the plot having a well structured beginning, (overwhelming) middle and end, and I'm assuming that the attack on the senses was very much the team's intention. I can see why this didn't make the Christchurch finals though, out of nowhere murders are something that judges I know are completely over. However the film's proper finale was very satisfying indeed.

After a parent-teacher interview goes awry, our protagonist teacher has murderous thoughts of how to deal with the bad dad who thinks his naughty son's behaviour is her responsibility. But of course that would be way too simplistic, and so when the rubbish bin full of tissues from her coughing metamorphs into something sinister, all hell breaks loose within the school.

Most definitely this was slick, with the Joseph Bishara-inspired soundtrack the actual highlight in my book, and the team ticked a lot of the trope boxes for the genre, with nods to ALIEN and MOTHRA being the most obvious, but the script just left me a bit cold. I think the reason for this is that the dialogue interplay between the 2 leads was engaging at the interview, but after that opening 60 seconds it all just went a bit murderous. I really liked the practical effects I must add, I just personally didn't engage with the story after the teacher was made to feel like crap. Just my 2c.

Head scratcher mockumentary about a madhatter wanting to recruit students for his theatre troupe in the school holidays inspired by...Full House and Willy Wonka?? whilst seemingly shot on a very old vhs camcorder despite everyone in the film tapping away on modern smartphones. Tonally this was all over the place from the casio keyboard flavoured theme song that jumped out throughout, to self descriptors to the camera, to the actual filming of the show/interviews.

I think this was a bit of a square peg in a round hole regarding the genre, as simply mentioning it was the holidays didn't really tick the requirement for me. I also think that if you were going with this old camcorder approach there simply had to be more justification for its use, as it didn't make sense and became a throwaway at the end. Your lead definitely hammed it up and this could have gone somewhere if there was a bit of motivation for the hiring of the actors. Ending definitely out of left-field but yet again had me puzzled rather than surprised in a good way.

Time travel through nipple twisting, a much better way to spend a Saturday night than having a pizza party with your flatmate right? This was wild. At times wearing its influences directly on its sleeve in relation to a certain Dan Harmon animated show (and DAYS OF FUTURE PAST), but the fact this was an accidental case of breaking the space-time continuum allowed the team to go hard with covering a heck of a lot of different periods in history, both past and future. It also had a bizarrely close parallel in plot structure with last year's Wellington finalist 'A Wine in Time' by Team! but whether the team saw that or not I don't know and a little bit irrelevant, much like their self-declared use of iphone which I honestly wouldn't have noticed if they hadn't hammed it up in the team intro given the high grade cinematography in general.

As I alluded to earlier, things got bonkers and fairly promptly, as rip focus basically crammed as many things as they could think of into the maximum allotted running time allowed. I don't think this was the best idea in terms of providing us with a clear storyline, as whilst the jokes came thick and fast from cavemen to talking through instruments via headtrip insanity and colonialists, that's just it, they were jokes and the weighting of any time travel didn't really have any impact on the characters or let the film breathe/the viewer enage. The almost break of the continuum ala Marty McFly was probably the highlight of the film as it actually felt like the inane silliness could have some repercussions.

Although I did chortle at the Maccas discussion.

Peruvian tea = the perfect remedy to settle the nerves when you're on the run from something crazy that gets hinted at more strongly as the film develops. This theatrical piece was particularly well acted by the man in the robe, espousing the wonders of his peppermint hot drinks from South America, whilst his 'friend' struggled to stay calm, understandable given he was carrying a gun and his arm was heavily bandaged.

Just about the right level of dark comedy, well measured and from a technical point of view the edit itself was on point. Plus really good lighting and clean sound.The reason this probably just missed out on the Wellington shortlist would have been a couple of minor things. Firstly, the whole story was essentially a sit around and talk on the couch affair, with just the bust in and finale to break up proceedings. This would have definitely counted against the team given the real time genre. Secondly, whilst I personally loved the script, as it's genuinely rare to see a team let their film breathe like this and world build, it was actually a tad slow placed. Just minor quibbles, though.

The tale of a an awkward 14th birthday, with a cringey mum who gets things a bit wrong (veggies at the party, providing a book about reproduction to her son bizarrely late?) and three in your face energised friends who don't seem to have come close to hitting puberty like our lead has. Finger spinners, hamburger slippers and joke books for children seem a bit out of place to say the least for presents. Well, at least until one of them confidently and aggressively asks a girl out by the river and takes her off hand in hand despite weirding her out, in a slice of action that definitely feels like its own tale.

I liked the positive energy on show here, and whilst I'm not the biggest proponent for flinging the camera around I'd advice to utilise some motion to match movement inside your framing, as this will engage the viewer by directing our focus. I would also recommend mixing up your camera angles as this is the biggest advantage a film medium can give you. For example utilisation of close ups would have driven the point home as to who was made to feel awkward (assumedly the lead) but by keeping the camera long it avoided the cringe comedy aspect and just made the action on screen as cringe. I hate to be overly critical but it seemed like having almost everything recorded through long shots meant the camera was a bit far away for recording audio, creating a slightly echoey effect to the sound. If the camera was closer it would have also allowed cleaner sound (or else an external mic will also be of huge benefit).

I did enjoy the energy and liked that you got outside to shoot! But due to the technical limitations and lack of clear storyline I've unfortunately given my low rating. Sorry :(

Whilst sinking Vs on the couch, a young couple discover a creepypasta of elevator time travel online, which the girlfriend is skeptical of despite having the whole thing explained in an awful lot of detail, such as how not to get stuck in the past by pushing buttons in a particular order. From here despite the threat of a creepy malevolent spirit also being in the mix, the young lady decides in the middle of the night it will be a good idea to put the silly urban myth to bed.

I particularly liked the sound design in this film, with eery ambiance that matched the creepy sinister vibe of the proceedings. I also thought the set design was well done because whilst being a bit grey/drab/desaturated, the team knew how to frame shots well and made sure that the background at least had something to provide contrast.

The areas that brought the film down in my estimation were definitely the start, as despite utilising multiple angles, having the characters sit down on a couch drinking sponsors product with expository dialogue for the opening 2 minutes or so of the film did reduce my engagement as a viewer. There were also a handful of minor audio pops. Also whilst I liked the camerawork for the most part, there was coverage in this film that definitely did not drive the story forward, resulting in a feeling of the film trying to aim for the 5 minutes run time rather than letting the story breathe.

Great team intro/lack of, setting the scene for a low-brow KATH AND KIM (with mum and daughter) uber scenario gone wrong when the women take someone else's ride, having just wanted to get to Hillsborough. With surreal minimalistic but well done green screen inside the ride, the down to earth dialogue and misjudgement of the driver created some decent awkward humour. What I particularly liked about the film was the well captured audio, however once the couple got out of the car the culmination of events left a little to be desired due a wee bit of a casual ho hum approach.

The stranded would be passenger WOULD have been a nice touch, had there not been a very clear and obvious boom operator in shot which caused me to double check whether this team had entered ultra and were breaking the 4th wall on purpose...

After expository youth protest news footage, we are zapped into the present future where everyone born prior to the millenium has been annihilated, or so it seems. With a concrete post apocalyptic vibe, guerilla Sami Raimi-inspired camerawork and frenetic editing, this team really presented their film with an urgency that sent the blood pumping. I particularly liked the colourful WARRIORS-inspired gang of juvenile delinquents, and some of your shots were absolutely beautifully framed.

Where I think the film could have been a little better was that due to the dialogue heavy way the story was set, it almost came across as a blink and you missed what was really happening opening to the bravura. Also whilst I liked the music that was utilised when the hunt was on, the edit was a bit jumpy in terms of the A/V match up. However I really grooved on the tone, and enjoyed the attempt at a ecological footprint PSA message. Having said that, the stabby ending is one of my personal bugbears in 48Hours so that's the reason for the 4/7.

A holiday from hell from an Instagram power couple, complete with sinister German host, horrific toilet and a menu that looks like the cook killed everything before serving it up. I liked the parody of the good old gram with the wife, and the fact that there were no complaints despite the place being an absolute shithole essentially reflected the mood of the film. Basically the couple were having their holiday and would present it to their followers in the best possible light for the likes at all costs. Literally whatever it takes for likes even if it kills them. I get the bleak ending given the whole thing was pitch black comedy, I'm just not sure it was terribly funny is all.

After lavishing a potplant with an awful lot of love, the fact that said plant appears to be moving drives our lead to paranoia and madness. Never mind that they had previously shared a bed. Whilst the plain apartment setting did hold this back a lot from being an absolute winner, it was cleanly shot and the excellent sound design combined with a terrific lead performance meant it was engaging and fun. It got thoroughly deserved audience laughs and sold a very simplistic idea very well.

Despite having grown up on the titular Brady Bunch-inspired tv show, the son of the director has had enough and so turns up on set without his costume or makeup on one day. I was going to give this a 1 or 2 star rating as the plot of him bringing a gun to set and just blowing away a cameraman to end proceedings was cold hearted and bleak as fuck. However the hilarious granny reaction to round out the film saved this from total disaster.

Like a low budget romcom version of Christopher Smith's TRIANGLE, set in a laundromat. Well I guess the budget might have been a bit higher as this team is not marked as disqualified despite having the audacity to use Lana Del Ray's megahit Young and Beautiful to drive proceedings. Um...

Very subversive take on the musical/dance genre as a theatre director outlined how the production should run, with extravagant exclamation that brought good laughs from the audience. Playing as a comedy of errors with children and musicians missing cues as the theoretical running of events was outlined, the fact that it was almost all one very steady long take was almost an afterthought. I mean that in a good way, because the unusual camera choice did provide a point of difference to most other films in the comp this year. Reagan Morris nailed his role as the flamboyant man in charge, and importantly in a film like this you had good clear audible sound. I don't take issue with the lack of any actual songs or dancing as the film itself did have a rhythmic quality and its honestly refreshing to see a different behind the scenes approach that isn't a mockumentary! Left a bit to the audience's imagination at the end, though made sense if you had been paying attention.

There was a lot going on in this one, a darkly stylish psychological examination of three men who may or may not have seen a UFO, let alone have more sinister secrets. Some seriously striking images and an excellent sonic film score drove things along nicely. I really liked the colour grade as well, which combined with the aformentioned music and the deeply focused highly contrast created a sinister vibe to proceedings, while played completely straight by the team. Also I started this review by downplaying the multiple actors, as all were given fleshed out personalities to some extent, for example the boastful tinder pro. The set design was also excellent with nice touches in the background such as showing the doctor had a degree in parapsychology (I think). A bit abstract at times would be my main complaint.

A down to earth uber driver takes a woman to see her boyfriend when she has come for a surprise weekend visit, only the one getting a surprise is not him, and the shock is not a good one for her. Whilst stuck in the 'burbs luckily he sticks around to keep driving. Only she doesn't hop back on the train she has come from, surprise surprise. The dialogue interplay between the performers was well delivered, and I liked the variety of coverage despite the LOCKE inspired inside-a-car setting. Given the charm and fact this was technically good I'm giving this positive marks, although it was a bit formulaic in terms of plot.

Lovely opening overhead shot onto a pirate family's boat, as the docked band of buccaneers have come to Wellington for their young son's 'Arrrrgh-mitzfah'. Only he's not so sure he wants to make others walk the plank, when options such as planning for the City Council seem slightly more appealing in his measured eyes than covering one of them with a patch. This threw caution to the wind with a shit ton of dad jokes and puns, and squeezed every pirate trope the team could think of into its 5 minute run time, from swashbuckling to kidnapping. Whilst I loved the camerawork to start I felt that as the film went on it lacked the energy that could have elevated it as most shots were steady with little movement. I know that's nitpicking given the film was set on a docked boat, but then that was your choice.

A rugby league mad survivalist comes to terms with his insular nature through therapy, because his paranoia leads him to believe the zombie apocalypse is coming. This was an in your face psyched up aggressive performance by our hard man lead who came onto the screen psyched up and steaming and did not let up until the end. I liked how the "just calm down, go and meet some people" approach from the shrink was measured and realistic, and setup an entertaining finale at the bus stop. Rugged film with good laughs.

Three years into a relationship and it's the perfect time for a proposal in a carpark, but a shootout and sudden gun showing reveals cracks in the relationship of our 2 leads that are more like chasms. I liked the idea of love conquers all being presented here, and playing it deadpan in terms of dialogue was probably a smart option. Reveled in ridiculousness, and whilst the team kinda said screw you to the request to be respectful with guns, it all worked within the story for me. Nollywood quality squib effects brought the house down, while whoever played the character with the blonde wig could be up for a Wellington best actor nomination in my book.

At a party, a couple recall how they met, which was over somebody's dead body and they connected in their attempts to remove it. The fact that the question of going to the police gets thrown to the side kind of showed the wavelength of black comedy this film was on. Whilst burying it and fire didn't work, somehow they thought they might have a BREAKING BAD body dissolve moment with coca cola. Hard to see how opposite the couple were given they both seemed to be quite into the body disposal idea. The coke jokes did get some laffs but also kind of dragged. I appreciate you setup and went for a large variety of gags, but I think the film would have been better had your genre been your central plot point as opposed to the dead body. Technically decent.

Given that Tasteful Side Boob + We Fight Like Girls (who had members from this team) previously regularly had gross out comedy elements in their films, this genre honestly felt absolutely made for this particular team...and they nailed it. Three news anchors come into the office, suspiciously wearing sunglasses that don't quite hide the fact that there is something lurking near their eyes. The script was cracking here, delving into the issues of screwing the crew versus what HR policies might dictate you should be doing in the office. I loved that the free spirits just went their own way here, and when it was time for 'News Zealand' you knew the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan.

Highlights included the flashback to the previous night of debauchery, the TV director losing his mind which played off ever so nicely compared to the sexually liberal presenters, and the gooey squishy vomity makeup and effects.

Basically this was a life lesson about butt stuff.

An ambitious employee invites his boss over his lunch, only to make some serious muckups in relation to his manners and food preparation. Good thing there's a time machine sitting on his bed yeah? This led to looping back in time over and over to present his boss and her lady friend with the best possible meal imaginable, and make himself look as good as possible because he wanted to get a one up on his work colleague "Jones". I liked the awkward humour on show here, it just didn't really stand out from the crowd by being a looping time travel film set inside someone's house. Your lead was high energy and sold the film, mind.

The film with the good lighting! I liked this inventive take off of HER where the supposedly charming man was actually getting all his credibility that he was selling to his date from a paid app which provided charisma and skills for the right price. When piano lessons proves to be too expensive there is always the free torrent option, of course, but who knows what you might get from an unprotected Russian site...

Starting with witty banter and moving towards a well earned desolate ending I really liked the structure and pacing to this tale. As mentioned earlier the lighting was sensational, flooding the screen in blues, pinks and purples at times. The couple could act and I liked realness of how slightly awkward her first visit to his house was. Believable world and worked hard to make the dreaded shoot in your apartment approach work.

After witnessing a man in a santa suit commit a crime, our leads decide to call the cops to let them know, followed by taking sanctuary due to crap weather where more sinister developments await. This was tonally pretty varied, and whilst I appreciated the ADR gave you crystal clear dialogue for your outside shots (thank you!), the sound mix was oddly quiet once we moved inside. I did enjoy the film overall, which relied on eery vibes more than anything reinventing the wheel in terms of plot. Not sure the ending was earned and did come across as pretty cold and predictable. Good performance by your lead actress in glasses in particular and utilising holiday-related tinder for one death at least got a good laugh out of me.

After a raging drinking party where everyone gets dressed up, our fairy costume adorned lead actress falls victim to a GROUNDHOG DAY meets FINAL DESTINATION loop of death. Some inventive kills (that fork into the microwave being the highlight) and some not quite as effective deaths when it just seemed she hit her head, she starts to realise the steps she needs to take to avoid her doom. With very little dialogue it was hard for this to stand out from the other looping time travel films this year, but it never took itself too seriously. I just think that even though you went for the farcical approach some of the set pieces needed a bit more impact to really get an audience reaction.

A group of nerds and a group of dickheads respectively go camping, accidentally in the same place. One group is prepared with tents and supplies, the other kind of wings it but when the leads go wandering in the woods we are treated with comedy when they bump into each other, all the while worrying about the rabbid dog on the loose that was pronounced over the 4 Square Radio. I enjoyed the energy this team brought to proceedings, with some unusual humour. I did notice a few continuity issues though, and lighting became an issue for your evening shots. Big laughs to finish but kind of silly and simplistic in terms of plot for mine.

An aspiring pub singer struggles with plucking up the confidence needed to perform, which ends up fitting the genre well given the audience is tiny. What was more entertaining was the side plot about how infatuated she was with the bartender with gorgeous cheekbones but again suffered from anxiety in relation to asking him out. The team was clearly working on a very low budget, but some of the jokes did have me cringing. Your lead actress was good, this was held back by technically being very raw.

Holy-one shot baby! Incredibly well done backstage piece as a troupe of actors got ready for their play to begin, we swirled through curtains and dressing rooms, past affairs and meltdowns all the while somehow being able to let a few of the characters actually develop depth and personality, all with the most steadihanded camera I can remember for a one-take film (though I think I saw a cheeky edit). The lead actress, tree number 4 and the would be vampiress all had memorable moments. Impressive stuff, and I think this is a shoe-in for a cinematography nomination at least. Close to a 7/7. Might be on repeat viewings. Sometimes I hate star ratings but what I did not hate was this film. Probable finals.

A ghost presents the generation gap very well here, as our self-help listening protagonist engages with the spook about differences in modern society versus old. Cool effects and a great period appropriate costume for the apparition, but this was mostly sitting around talking in a flat through medium to long shots, with a lot of the footage slightly muddy or grainy and fairly plain backgrounds. I did really appreciate a couple of the jokes, especially when the old ghost was making fun of modern technology, and the Harry Potter spell at the ouji board was golden.

Flatmates gather round to tell off one of the house inhabitants for their bad behaviour, though the tone suggests that they may be projecting a bit onto the recipient of the blame. They claim it is a non-confrontational dialogue which is probably in their best interests given that someone in the room knows the true version of events. This story went in very unexpected places and was all the more better for it. I liked the range that the actors portrayed, and it hit a bit close to home as I know the classic blame others when you're really to blame type all too well. Hard to portray but I got it! Just when you thought things might be put into a neat little package came the real kicker as well. Paws on the wheel almost had me streaming tears of laughter. Could well be in the finals. Technically good with some exceptional touches here and there, though the whole piece wasn't quite polished all the same way through to the same level.

I've got this marked as having really good cinematography BUT with qualifiers to that comment because so much of the same coverage got re-used. I think this looping tale of Christmas being the best day ever could have done just a little bit more with its first 2 acts from a plot perspective, as friends opening an amazing lego set again and again and again did verge ever so slightly on the repetitive side. We were definitely getting somewhere in Act 3 I'll give you. Plus the performances were good with dialogue feeling natural and nostalgic at the same time. I'm giving this a positive rating as it was technically really good, I just personally think that the narrative arc could have had more done to it, especially when many teams have gone the GROUNDHOG DAY route this year.

Big big werewolf fan here, and SkooterMan Pictures have improved yet again with a ravishing understated kiwi tale of lycanthropy. In a nutshell a trip to the doctor for monthly sleep deprivation and cramps that happens on oh around so each full moon leads to the realisation that our lead may be cursed like Michael J Fox in 1985. Mad props to the actor who shaved their impressive beard for the part! I'm also impressed that you took one of last year's main flaws (lighting) and ensured that all your footage was crisp and bright. And fuck me I looove some practical effects so I have to say the transformation hair ripping through the suits was sensational. I think this will go close to shortlist, + would have been a real contender for best incredibly strange if that was still an award, though the main thing holding it back just a teensy bit were a handful of jumpy edits here and there in the doctor's office. Nevertheless there were other technical aspects that shined from a cinematography point of view, with the pair of werewolves ambling around and howling in unison being a particular highlight.

I'm trying to piece this together and it seemed like human nature run amok? Huge stretch of the genre here, and felt like a fairly by the numbers slasher/creepy thriller until the SPLIT/US inspired ending, as people kept getting abducted after being distracted whether by their phones or the need for a bathroom break whilst studying. Honestly genre can be a tricky beast sometimes and unfortunately it kind of stumped this team who have shown huge amounts of promise and potential the last few years. I've given this an extra star for the crack up "security" credit as the film ended.

After being disowned by his family for his 'lifestyle' in a vile shunning, a queer young man is down in the dumps before his fairy cowboy godfather comes along and does his best to get the guy back on his high horse. This means encouraging him to have someone in his life, but getting out and about on the dating scene is hard for anyone who hasn't done it for a while. There was also some exploration of suppression of flamboyance which was directed with an even calm hand and very well done. Positive and well acted.

It's 2019 so it's fine for Santa to be a woman right? Of course it is! This was a farcical film because as the jolly woman herself pointed out, the person accusing her of being the wrong 'type' of santa wasn't exactly the expected 7 year old child. I quite liked the scathing criticism of consumerism however fleeting it was, when the piss was taken out of the fact that someone put diamond earrings on their Xmas wish list. Ho! Ho! Ho! joke was gold. Not a whole lot of plot in what was essentially a one room film but the script for what was here was highly entertaining. The camerawork was also fairly stand and deliver. But it worked well enough.

My notes say this had really good cinematography, and the script was good too as a tradee lets his girlfriend in to the shed of the hoarder he is working for when she offers him a picnic lunch, after said hoarder has gone out to change some locks. Given curiousity killed the cat and her art history knowledge this leads to a precarious scenario for our snoops. Given this had some revelations in it I don't want to give too much away in my review. Acting performances were strong the only thing I wasn't 100% convinced on was the ending which wasn't entirely satisfactory, though I did appreciate the motivation for the "thefts". Art should be seen not locked in dark vaults!

Man I don't have too many notes here because I put my pen down pretty quickly and just watched in awe as this beautiful film took over my retinas and brain cells. Easily the most amazing use of stock footage we've seen in the comp so far, and in conjunction with an incredibly pieced together space station given the time constraints, it genuinely felt like we were up there in outer space, running the gamut of emotions that our lead actor did due to loneliness, despite his AI friend DQ's best intentions. Imminent self destruction allowed for imminent self introspection and the most unlikely of connections. Fantastic subversion of genre. Gold use of split screen throughout, driving rather than hindering the story in any way, you finish watching immediately wondering when you can see it again. Answer = Wellington final no doubt, and probably national final too.

For those wondering, yes Tim Hamilton dropped the meta 48Hour approach and yes he absolutely delivered the goods, helped in part by a terrific lead actor and one of the most beautiful music scores I've heard composed for the competition by Liam Reid. Literally note perfect. The required 4th wall break also put a huge grin on my face even if took me out of the moment for half a second. Honestly the sort of film that I live for in this comp. So good.

Most artistic film ever made in Wellington? Yes I'm going to call it. Most artistic film ever made in the comp? Possibly, it's right up there with Brothers by ADHDMI that's for sure. The family who put on the vhs that they thought was a family birthday sure get the shock of their lives when it turns out to be a 4 part stimulating sensory overload video by the Institute of Applied Psychoanalytics. Audio, visual, reflex and dissociation were the stages to experience, and boy oh boy were they experiences all right. From waves crashing to the serene forest, fingers scraped and squeezed along metal and through bananas, this was an absolute delight. I haven't even talked about the colour palette that simply blew me away as bright yellows, purples and blue hues filled the screen cleanly yet effectively. Our instructor also put in one hell of a performance. We have a contender. Anyone for cake?

Mockumentary about 'Lockie' learning to teleport and getting himself into a handful of awkward situations. Luckily there is a limit to his ability to warp around from place to place, allowing sanctuary from those affected by his teleporting interruptions and rudeness. Talking heads are just personally something I feel strongly against in this comp and have done since the day I started reviewing in 2006. The problem is that you can describe an event and then have said event acted out on screen for comedic effect, and it's effectively a copout way to make cheap jokes. This team did that a few times. However they also had a high level of energy on show and positive vibes to most of the proceedings, with a good level of laughter from the audience. J

Wow. Stunning little animation about a giant monster rising up in Wellington harbour and discovering that they have quite the affection for planes. In fact those planes look quite tasty blowing around in the wind. This also incorporated live action elements but by keeping it focused on the monster and the plane plus his instrument of doom it gave the film clear direction. Sound design was terrific.

An eye opens in a poorly/darkly lit shack where our lead actor was sleeping, and he quickly makes his was to his car in a bit of a panic about the time. Whilst this did follow the very tired Groundhog Day formula, being forced to loop endlessly for a stupid mistake really did suit the titular karma of the film and the actor had strong screen presence. I would recommend either acquiring some lighting or if you're going to shoot in low light conditions be careful to ensure that you get coverage that doesn't result in the film looking muddy or grainy in those particular shots.

Buddy cops drive from HQ via Oriental Bay to Shelley Bay for a stakeout, with plenty of chitchat about holidays, donuts and healthy food. They're on the watch for a perp with a dog but the day just kind of dwindles by until something is spotted that fits the description. I think the plot was a little bit threadbare here but my main issue was when I think buddy I generally think friends and often a higher level of energy than sitting down and talking. But that's just me. Arguably I think this fit the secret identity genre much better than it did buddy film!

Tim. Tim. Tim...that was brilliant. Honestly shaking my head about the late hand-in. I know you had a weekend from hell but this was about as honest and raw a documentary (not mockumentary people, this joins the 2 or 3 films I've ever seen do proper doco over the course of the comp) I've ever seen in 48. And you mixed it all together in just a matter of hours. Damn man I honestly think this would have been on the shortlist.

The gist of this was that Tim Simpson, the legendary head of Nitro (who I think probably holds the record for consecutive years entered in the comp now) basically did a selfie video on Sunday afternoon with a mixture of bullet points outlining where murphy's law had applied over the weekend he looks forward to more than Christmas every year. But then it got deep and he provided some incredibly honest commentary about what the competition means to him and a lot of other people, and nothing he said could have been more truthful. Not all serious 100% mind, with a couple of hilarious jokes such as "well we might as well chuck a beautiful overhead drone shot in here too", and did, which got a huge audience laugh.

We all know you've got massive talent dude. One year you'll piece it all together and be on time and finals await. Kia kaha bruv.

Oh and for anyone else reviewing this, it was most definitely not staged or planned to play out like this, it was a weekend from hell as Tim said to me :)

Colour me impressed! Massive improvement from your previous films, and no I definitely won't be making any harsh criticisms this year, absolutely respected the meta call out in this sharp little film within a film. Whilst making a film about the shoot weekend with v cans can often be the death knell in this competition, this team gave the expected hand wringing a metaphorical middle finger before putting it in the blender with aplomb.

I have to agree with you, opposites attract is a crazy hard genre to make work, so mad props for subverting. With an introspective three act plot the team tried to come up with ideas that would work for shooting over the weekend; a massively stereotypical silly costumed Mexicans across the border piece, which they used as a send up for acknowledging what has not worked in the past, perhaps bananas emerging from the sea, or a mixture of all the ingredients they could come up with. Technically sound with a smooth hand behind the edit. Well played guys.

I've heard that public speaking is right up there in terms of things most people are the most nervous about in the world, so this was a reasonably realistic portrayal of a boy trying to skimp out from delivering his speech for school in order to avoid embarrassment. Of course plenty of other opportunities provide themselves for him to accidentally be shamed, such as his crush being an environmentalist and his own family having a composting toilet...

The actor who played the teacher was fantastic, and the cringe of his short shorts and the failed attempt at romance really ticked the cringe-inducing boxes. Simple but effective film.

I saw my fellow reviewer Tim earlier write "Ultra wipes another team out" for another team who had to deal with split screen. And whilst I disagree with him about Cinetrance, that's pretty much my thinking here and it really bums me out because Moffilaide I love you guys :(

As per usual the same frenetic pace was brought to proceedings by the comp veterans who utterly embraced Ultra (ps your 4th wall break was the best I've seen so far this year) with a comic book style approach, as cleaners in a high rise meet a couple of vigilantes from the future who are dealing with a Cyborg/terminator who is after them and are trying to make their own way home but don't have a time travel machine. VFX were really good, stunt work excellent and camera work was cool. My main issues were in the split screen itself, I think the comic book approach was a fresh way to do things, but the edit just got a bit frenetic. I think for the first time ever I was also a bit let down by this team's sound as dialogue was hard to hear at times/the fact there was action going on in different frames at the same time that wasn't always interconnected meant it became a bit hard to focus.

I guess the fact the plot was straight up THE TERMINATOR with hardly any subversion or spin was possibly actually my main issue. I enjoyed a lot of this, so sorry for the star rating it just was too chaotic for mine.

Choosing to do musical of your own accord when given generation gap and nailing it? Impressive! Well when I say nailing it I mean that the songs were incredibly well sung, and the look and feel of the film was terrific. I just have a couple of reservations of how well this really ticked the box for your given genre, though I expect the judges will probably have loved it given how much they like subversion typically. The reason I say that is because simply pondering how kids would date 40 years in future was only meeting one half of the criteria. I mean yes absolutely really well done with the John Hughes inspired cringe first date, and goddam if this doesn't get a nom for best song or score, but the payoff to actually show a gap in generations was kind of weak for mine.

A guy sinks many double browns before we are drawn into a time travel pen pal world between him in 2019 and the woman he is flirting with in 1985, as they exchange notes and personal items through an urn that traverses time and space. The dropback to the 80s was particularly well done with lycra, neon, and synth music whilst his casual "send nudes" approach unfortunately resonated with the modern world of dating and apps. Interplay between our 2 leads was strong, which was particularly impressive given they were never on screen together so the reactions and conveyance of emotion was all through the performers' own doing. I think the payoff was a little bit predictable myself but still a highly enjoyable film.

Shame about the DQ as for the 2nd year in a row I really enjoyed what Look at daddy have produced for the competition, this time stepping up their game from a technical point of view in a big way, with excellent deeply saturated cinematography, a good soundscape and top lighting, as a scientist develops an electronic necklace to make his lovable pet pooch talk with him. Some crass humour but also very well done in terms of comedic timing and delivery, and the edit was spot on. When the master gets what's coming to him was a truly rewarding watch.

Well this team certainly took the required wind element and ran with it, hard, with a very "Wellington" film. Huge audience laughs as a couple of omnipresent beings who controlled the weather worked to keep Wellington windy, much to the chagrin of metservice. Given it was a father and son duo creating the blusts this certainly met the coming of age challenge, as well as being one of the best nature run amok films in Wellington so far this year. Really low budget effects but the matte work to create the heads in the sky was at least super clean, and I loved that you got outside on the weekend and went hammer and tongs for it. The metservice jokes were the absolute gold part of the film, with the deadpan 2 days accurate record drawing some of the biggest laughs of the night. Would expect to see this on the shortlist. My main gripes would be that the comedy is probably not going to be everyone's cup of tea given just how silly it is, and the cinematography was servicable at best, although the hyper energy of the film made up for that.

Certainly unique, I could definitely see a crazed auteur behind the wheel of this one as an electric guitar beer loving bogan drove around and tried to engage with his mum in the lead up to Christmas. The car driving shots had an ethereal, oneiric quality and this presented the idea of how loneliness can be a genuinely problematic issue around the holiday period for people, as can family. Also the recording of phone conversations due to paranoia and a previous theft of the laptop fit nicely with the character arc that we were privy to witness. Genuinely takes effort to pull this aethetic off but I think you nailed it.

Two overzealous aunts dote over and warn their niece about prom as she does her best Molly Ringwald impression before heading out the door. This kind of worked as a generation gap film too with the family members spending a lot of their diatribe giving advice based on their personal histories. The opening use of split screen was well done as you could see our high school girl being stared at and talked at by said aunties, but following that it did feel a bit like the split screen was not driving the film like it could have. I like that she did not let their overbearing presence get to her, although the finale of the film felt a bit rushed and struggled to produce the coming of age moment that I was really hoping for, as dark spiral for character development isn't usually what this genre is about.

CREEPY! On a windy beachfront (Makara, I think?) a young woman walks along for an apparently nice walk only to be followed by a man who tells her she has dropped her phone. This felt like one of those moments where you feel it could have gone horribly icky and nasty given the wrong set of circumtances. Sound design was really good as the crunching of the rocks had impact and you could tell the urgency of the situation. Just a bit minimal in terms of storyline for mine.

Over the course of a year, a father tries sending monthly gifts to his son and keeps having them returned by his boy's mum, leading him to drink before some hard truths lead him to really think about what it means to be a father. This was effectively done given how much of a timespan the team covered, with barely any dialogue outside of the written letters so the performers really had to work hard to show us their development through facial and body emotions. They did just that by and large, and I liked that you really threw in some variety in terms of your coverage. I think there were a couple of times were the seasonal timing didn't quite match up with what we were seeing on screen but kind of irrelevant given most of the film was based indoors. I appreciated that the mum in particular was shown running quite a range of emotions from resentment to anger to sadness as the time passed.

Um did you guys watch the national winner from 2017? Because this was basically a replica of that story, only without the technical polish of Cool Story Bro Film. Young boy runs away from home and finds a homeless man under the bridge, who gives him advice about what things were like in his day. At least the runaway doesn't smoke yet. I would have rated this 3/7 or 4/7 but it was staggering in how much it tried to re-do the apee winner. Also my main piece of advice would be with your sound when you have a lot of background noise, such as from the motorway due to where you shot, to consider adding sound effects or dubbing over in post as the constant sound of car noise was very distracting.

Like a surreal nightmarish David Lynch vision as the team used a distorted oil canvas type visual across the whole film. A couple of people were reunited after a long time apart, though he claimed her version of events might have been a mistake. I do apologise but I found it hard to understand what the story was about. One of the trippiest 48Hours films EVER, despite this.

Short sharp little 2d animation as a young monster makes their way past a procession of elder beasts to the top of a mountain and receive their adult horns. Included all the required elements and looked nice. I enjoyed it even though it was exceptionally short, but then I absolutely love animation.

Sock puppets have a spaghetti-eating competition, only one of the contestants may not be quite who they seem to be. Is the fact that one of them is the size of a human the giveaway when all the others fit on hands and feet? Only time will tell. Absolutely farcical and surreal I was completely sold on this sock world as it felt hypnotic to me. It honestly felt fully formed from the jibberish language, to little and not so little details such as not having teeth being key to being allowed to enter the competition. Whilst the location could have had a bit more detail to it to be more engaging, the team overcame the plain background with lots of close ups and a large variety of colours on screen giving this energy and vigour.

Ohhhh man I enjoyed this black comedy until the final 30 seconds. Stab stab murder resolution really bummed me out. Sigh.

The main reason I really dug it is that your camerawork was out of this world in places, with the wrestling down the hill one of the best action shots I have seen in 48Hours in many years.

Whilst an interesting decision from an editing point of view, the canned laughter worked because you committed to it and I did notice a few laughs around the cinema. I would have liked a little bit more story from the two 'friends' as a trip through the park where one steals a bike, pushes the other over, fights them and then finishes it all was a bit dark given we didn't really establish the relationship between the 2 before the action commenced.

But yeah, camera work was golden and spectacular cinematography which is why you're getting stars.

Ooh yeah this was a gem, as a brother and sister deal with the fact that little bro has been turned into a potato, and the theoretically only way to turn him back into a human is through is a magical book in the forest. Engaging script that earnt its dues I think this will probably gain more on subsequent viewings as little touches like the establishing shots of food being chopped to start kind of went over my head at the heat, but upon reflection showed that the team had a well thought out beginning, middle and end. Sound and camerawork were good if unspectacular but didn't need to be as this was a character driven comedy that built the sibling relationship with a lot of little humane touches. Obviously bringing life to a potato was a hard sell but the voice work was all class. Absolutely stuck the ending in my book too, would expect this to be on the shortlist.

Anyone who is a fan of THE ROOM probably knows the infamous line "I definitely have breast cancer" which is dropped like a bombshell and then thrown away for the rest of the narrative. I was kind of on the same wavelength here with the incredibly sudden passing of the lead's mum, but luckily quickly moved past that as it was actually used as a plot device that drove the story forward. Some really enjoyable comic touches and following the death the team let things breathe and the characters were allowed to develop.

I also remember loving that classic children's story which clearly inspired this about a frown staying in place when the wind changes. Lead actress was terrific in selling this and I liked that we moved towards a positive resolution after the shocking death in the family.

After waking up camping on a frosty winter's morning a couple of sister's try their best to reminisce about their recently deceased mother, but things get a little awkward when the urn with her ashes it placed a bit too precariously next to the coffee. A delicate approach, with lots of handheld focus pulls of pretty nature scenery, but also reasonably slow paced for example a long time was spent focusing on the first sister waking up/getting up out of bed before anything happened, which is a killer waste of time in this competition. I get using ADR for musical, and the song you sung was genuinely lovely, but lip movements need to come close to matching for it to really work or it can take the audience out of the moment.

Verite home movie film-making on a $2 budget yes this was absolutely cringe and had an impressive amount of detail to the story as our lead showed how she grew up alone with a heavy drinking father and neglectful mother before finding the love of her life, and a blind dog randomly thrown in for good measure. Gonzo would probably be the best word to describe this, with crazy makeup for almost all cast members involved. It reminded me a bit of a warped version of TARNATION but from a plot point of view this was all over the place. I also get it, but am of 2 minds as to whether deliberately shooting this to look like a used vhs should be applauded when you've got other teams shooting on high-end cameras creating exceptional scope films, for example. But variety is the spice of life, hey, and this team did get a huge amount of laughs at the heat.

Goddamit, 2 films in the same heat with murderous stabby endings! I'm sorry for spoiling this but as a resolution in this competition that is just a shitty way to end things. And honestly it was a damn shame because up until that point I was enjoying your film a hell of a lot and you had in my opinion made a much better film than your film that got to the national final last year.

Script was really good here as a dishy in a restaurant used new sci fi technology while lying awake in bed at night to deal with the horrendous treatment from his boss. It was relatable for sure for anyone who has ever suffered under poor management or workplace bullying, with lots of laughs and guffaws in the cinema when the fantastical comebacks where pronounced. Your lead actor and his boss both had commanding screen presence, and I really liked how you were able to get such clean coverage with your camera within the small confines of the back of the restaurant. Sound and sound design was also crisp. Just so frustrating that you went with that cop out finale.

Passed the bechdel test with flying colours! THANK YOU! I thought that this was a charming film as a group of friends gathered for a potluck dinner, with our protagonist having brought along a family recipe meat dish...the only problem is that all of the other attendees are vegans. Seriously cringe at times, like the 'oh shit this is awkward' in the best possible way, which is exactly what the genre was asking for. I like that it had a relatable kiwi vibe to the proceedings, with everyone who delivered dialogue having strong natural screen presence. Scope framing was on point, showcasing the large gathering and yet utilising the screen space in just a tight enough manner to add a slightly stressful/claustrophobic effect like our lead was going for when she realised her mistake.

There were a couple of audio drop outs near the start and a couple of out of focus shots near the end of proceedings, but didn't distract from the overall experience of the film. Also the slow motion eating was gold, and added a bit of the gross out element to proceedings so I applaud you for that.

Different take on the holiday genre, where the place was used to meet requirements as the bach represenetd a special personal place for our lead who was trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world after his entirely family was killed by a virus. Also non-linear which worked given that there were some retreads over familiar subject matter. I think you had a good grasp of the family dynamic, giving genuine weighting to the boy lost in a world without other humans when we saw how close he was with his loved ones. The final act left a bit to be desired though as the idea of another human could have presented so much more opportunity than just brushing them aside and saying you can't trust anyone.

GROUNDHOG DAY but short-form with tension as each new path our lead chose still lead to a return to the start, when the sinister tone felt like it was important for her not to be. It just felt a bit like the stakes were never really raised that high, which took away from the impact of the ending. My advice would be if you're ever in a position to do a looping day or timeframe, to not use the exact same footage for your loops. Because you did it felt like the lead actress was just going through the motions, whereas different cuts or takes or angles would allow us to see how getting sent back to the start was affecting her on a more personal level.

A killer with no voice and a love for hearing others sing chloroforms and kidnaps three victims, and takes them to his lair where horrible fates await unless they please his ears. Some really dark subject matter was tackled here not just with the serial killer, but the opening song being a suicide contemplation, whilst gore levels were high. I liked that you had clear diction on your songs, I think just a little bit more melody would have really nailed the genre. But given how insane everything was - I haven't even touched on the placards the killer used to tell them what he wanted due to not having a voice - I'm willing to let the flaws slide.

So many running shots of feet. So many quick cuts. I felt like this team made their film hell bent on squashing in as much of the footage they captured over the weekend as humanly possible. It sure made the pacing frenetic, and whoever edited did a good job of stitching it all together. I'd just be aware of age-inappropriate casting, or all of a sudden busting out toy guns that are supposed to represent real guns when the film has been (mainly) grounded in reality up until that point. As it stands, this buddy drug dealer film was a high energy blast, with the car scenes hilarious when the adult arms driving the vehicle became visible. If your audio had been a bit better I would have given this higher marks. Perhaps consider ADR next time if the on camera sound turns out a bit raw?

A couple of close high school friends get more than they bargained for when lessons learned in biology about metamorphosis end up coming true, challenging their friendship to say the least. I really liked the fact you just chose a surreal plot and went for it, and bookending with the slightly animated very well drawn butterfly shots was a good idea, reminding me a little bit of THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY. I also noticed a nice touch where you only relied on diegetic sounds for the first half of the film, with music kicking in when the metamorphosis did. There were some areas that did drag the film down a bit, however, with several shots being slightly out of focus, which was a bit distracting when the bulk of them were found near the start of the film. Also sound recording was variable in terms of clarity, and whilst the plot overall worked I think your conclusion was a bit blunt and cold.

Buddy cops with afros, wayfarers and thin moustaches straight out of the 70s go on the rampage in search of their missing chapstick. Whilst their good cop bad cop interrogation tactics may not work at least they have female help they can call in. Overall farily bugnuts in style, with homemade bulletproof vests, out there camera angles and confident screen presence by our 2 leads. The bravado was genuinely impressive, as was the quickfire spiel at the end about missed weddings, exorcisms and divorces. Just very very raw.

The family that plays together slays together I guess, and I mean fair play to our lead female for working on her literal axe to grind after being talked to horribly by her father, and treated even worse by her grandfather when she is shipped off to his farm for the weekend. The dialogue was really quiet in the mix, so I'd implore you to bump that up for future films. Some of the editing decisions and plot points here were absolutely wild, such as the kung fu gym battle between grandfather and granddaughter. I'm glad that got a few laughs. I'm torn as to whether it was one evil family where coming of age is represented by murder, or just a cold blooded script. Both kind of made the ending a bit of a let down.

An OCD girl discovers that moving her rubix cube will take her through time, putting herself in some precarious situations through the process such as a western style farm shootout and a cliff edge. Most of this film was tightly framed inside its scope image, but the sound had what seemed to be an echo effect a lot of the time which I'm not sure whether it was deliberate. I was reminded an awful lot of last year's Wellington finalist "A Wine in Time" by Team but without nearly as much polish to the storytelling.

On the way to your wedding surely there is time to slip off for one last exotic dance, right? Especially if it is a passionate tango atop Wellington hills, or on the pier as waves crash nearby and metaphorically reflect your lust for dancing. The soundtrack here was utilized to aplomb with heavy string instruments playing perfectly as the 2 bodies swirled and stepped in rhythm. Really nice looking black and white with just a hint of colour, whoever was in control of tracking the movement had an incredibly steady hand and keen eye for tight v-formation framing. I respect going for the no-dialogue approach completely and artistically it was so strong that it worked. I think that this just required a dramatic story beat or 2 to elevate it further.

With achievements unlocked it was clear and obvious that the game of love was going to be treated like a video game in this film, where a nervous first time tinder 2.0 user and his date have a charming bit of banter before things get technological and goofy. The interplay of the would-be romantics was engaging and natural, while the VR screen itself was high quality in terms of production values. I liked that whoever DOP'd this knew how to utilise lighting well, presenting a couple of lush shots where neon in the background provided vibrant contrast. I think things got a bit silly when the kid brother got involved although the audience laughed, and the ending was fairly predictable in my book after the virtual world shows its problems.

Having done animation myself, I know how bloody hard it is to do in this competition and whilst you largely went with basic geometry and barely any textures, it allowed you to completely focus on your unique little story in a world of chickens. Our anti-heroes were presented with comedic grace, and some of the physical gags as they went for their heist had me giggling. Sound was largely good, but there were times when the voice acting could have had a bit more range. Good silly fun.

A group of high school boys declare how much they fucking hate school, and take a 6 hour drive for a getaway, although unfortunately Wellington is still clearly visible at the house they go on the holiday retreat to. After some card games, and house of cards buildings we are treated to a shock ending that may or may not be real. All a bit confusing and pretty potty-mouthed, with lighting or lack thereof being a big issue. I like that you had a decent sized group who were prepared to act on screen. I think that a more positive storyline will really help in future.

A handsome bookworm catches the eye of a Billie Eilish loving more modern girl at the bus stop, and the rest of the film plays out with her trying to grab his attention at said stop and the school library. With very little dialogue it would have probably been beneficial to add a few more dimensions to the characters in order to show just how opposite they were from each other, because as it stood it seemed like they were actually a kind of good match? Also whilst my previous sentence asked for more depth to the characters what you did put in was clear and obvious, and the framing within your camera worked well from a cinematic POV.

Wellington 2043 with not just one but 2 title cards to explain to the audience what was happening regarding a new drug on the street. Pretty cool dystopian cyberpunk thriller with the drone joke the absolute highlight. Makeup was nice too, reminded me a lot of tv show 'The Tribe'. I think the plot just needed a bit more clarity in terms of direction.

Very much reliant on mood and sound to convey the feeling in this film of exploring a desolate world. One person appeared to be inside in a VR-like suit whilst the other was out in the field doing the dirty work of looking for valuable reconnaissance. I feel the team was trying to convey a large message of how we're all a bit entangled in the world of electronics these days, but due to a lack of exposition or clarity about what was happening only the real literal connection hit home for me.

Also, holiday

I assume sound design is an award again this year? Definite nominee right here in my book. We followed our protagonist through a pretty drab rundown looking Kilbirnie, which seemed to have splintered off into its own little society with the Kilbirnie Post newspaper, and a whole lot of chaos such as the main sportsfield now being "KILLbirnie park". Several people were missing on flyers in this chaotic vision of the future, but our lead had strong screen presence as he made his way home after having had to crash at a friend's for a while. Nice payoff that was reliant on sound, that earned its dues because the team had good sound like I said earlier! I loved the world building, I just wish there was a bit more in terms of plot to this one.

She'll be right humour of a couple of wind turbine pokie loving dudes leads to a night of...body swapping into beautiful women??!! Yeah this was wild in terms of the secret identity aspect of the film, using the genre to drive the story and all the better for it. Lots and lots of audience laughs and not surprised it did well in audience favourite voting, but for me this was technically quite a mix. The titular girl's night was extremely well shot given that it focused on dark night clubs for the most part and yet colours and contrast popped, but the opening scene and bedroom scenes looked very plain in comparison. I also feel the story was pretty threadbare despite the wild originality. The bookending was nice and the pie joke was hilarious, mind. Poor Nugget.

Edit, fuck it I'll bump it to a 5/7 as it was very entertaining despite my reservations. The joys of star ratings! :)

You know you're onto a winner for a gross-out comedy when several "OH NO"s can be heard around the cinema within 10 seconds of the film starting. Absolutely brilliantly shot with many different tight yet effective camera angles churned out in what was an impressive amount of coverage. Everything popped too, and excellent sound! The overhead shot was great too, and honestly this was close to technically flawless as the edit was also top notch. I'm feeling generous so I'll also commend the outstanding lead actress! Who knew that the idea of being out of tampons on a heavy bleed could create so many hilarious puke-inducing jokes when our heroine just wanted to get back to the rugby with her guy mates in the lounge?

Bodily fluids, an inhaler, shower caps, a wild fantastical imagination and blood, oh so much blood...expect to see this contending in the Wellington final at least.

OK. Deep breath. This is not going to affect my star rating...but seriously this "if it plays it stays" bullshit is pissing me off a bit. Last year a team got away with having footage from INTERSTELLAR, a few years ago someone used Michael Jackon's Billie Jean (and got to the national final), and this team literally used footage from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) to start off the film. See I know this film by George Romero inside out and whilst it is available on countless public domain sites because of the coprightt fuckup back in the 1960s, this film is in no way freely available for commercial use.

Onto the film itself, which I really enjoyed! Shot with fantastic crisp black and white this felt like the 16mm look was emulated almost perfectly, with the odd scratch effect added here and there, and not oversaturating the film with black which is a common annoyance when teams use their B and W card in 48. Essentially a stoner flat revert back to their primordial animalistic selves literally after smoking some incredibly strong weed as verified by their crazed professor that they know. The devolution and descent into the animals running amok (perfect use of genre by the way) was highly entertaining, and I loved that you included variety with the ape/squid/dog as it allowed a large variety of jokes to come into the fray, with huge audience reaction. The stoners seemed very believable, as did the more highly strung flatmate. Oh and the gas mask subtitles were hilarious.

A trio of high school girls ponder their lives with exams and cellphones, and compare themselves to the older generation with their craft beer and artisan chocolate. We're also told through exposition that a lot of younger people have been 'crossing over' to the older side when they forget who they are as their younger selves. Bit of a creepy vibe as this isn't just metaphorical but results in completely disappearing from the young universe ala a Thanos snap when you forget your youthful self, or at least this was my take.

I appreciated the attempt at subversion however it did have an air of standing around and talking for most of it. I think it would have been a much stronger film if the older generation had not just been talked about but instead properly integrated. I mean I get that the cross over was the integration, but the lack of explanation as to why the cross over was happening despite all the talking meant it was a hard sell in my book. The camera was also very static and for more dynamism I would have suggested not filming most of the film through long shots.

Out of the box timeless take on time travel, as the old monitor and vcr + unidentifiable setting for watching meant this could have been any place, any time. I was pretty impressed by how well the team replicated the look of a composite analogue tape, the only thing missing would have been some colour bleed haha. The person giving the self-help seminar on the video about sending pick me up/encouraging post it notes ("past-it notes") to the past was outstanding with not a single moment where he did not completely sell his performance. The pacing was tidy and I loved the originality. I think the lo-fi aesthetic worked really well and I liked that you kept it simplistic in scope, though I do wonder if the notes to historical figures could have had slightly more impact. The ending was also a tad abrupt when I had really grooved on the film up until that point.

Incredible score, really top notch as expected by Connor Cameron, and my goodness me that operatic first song by 'Granny' in the woods was simply divine. This was also an eye catchingly beautiful film, shot deep in the woods with gorgeous contrast and colourplay, plus medieval costumes that worked very well for the fairytale concept of a girl having to leave her gran and try to make her way home from deep in the forest. This had a really strong opening act, and utterly amazing conclusion resplendent with drug tripping mushrooms and a nice afterlife touch, but the middle part of the film lost its way a little bit when the girl was literally lost. Having said that it was held together with some really nice editing touches such as how they showed she had gone around in circles by duplicating the actress multiple times in the same shot.

Wait this was coming of age? That makes a lot of sense! I forgot to write down the genre when taking my notes so had assumed sci-fi for this alien giving his first anal probe. The posters around Wellington asking for volunteers to get probed really set the scene nicely, and the fact it was just all yeah ok sweet I'm here for the probe and played straight made the film even stronger. Whilst not exactly a bildungsroman I appreciated that this did explore personal growth, and was a clear metaphor for losing virginity in my mind. The fact that it may not have actually been a first time probe played off really nicely with some charming dialogue interplay between our two leads. Several notes for the genre were hit, I think what could have made it slightly stronger would have been some personal introspection for the alien prior to the probe, to know that the probe was such a huge deal for their development. Costumes, set design and props were wall handled and the camerawork was solid though static.

A book a bach has some very basic but specific instructions for our holiday goer to take care of a plant. Of course he can eat all the food he wants in the fridge if he wants, if only there was any. With the stage set this played out as a wonderfully paced game of cat and mouse as attempts to take the plant surreptitiously led the guy who was supposed to be relaxing into a state of paranoia. The use of Ultra split screen was exceedingly well done, replicating a kind of human security camera that put the audience in the shoes of the guy. I loved how things really escalated, with the cult-like triangle conclusion being a particular highlight. Editing was top notch here. Definite finals.

An intimate evening in the bath gets spoiled by a series of interruptions and revelations, all while the audience is a little bit worried about the doggo on the treadmill with a heart condition. This was a well paced film with good dialogue and lots of cringe comedy, working on a murphy's law concept that created a snowball effect, but with a warm tone throughout. Lighting was also on point which was crucial given the intimacy of events in a largely one room setting. Some topical humour with an incorrect Uber Eats order didn't go amiss either. I think that the onslaught of invaders to the bathroom made the whole thing borderline between surreal and farcical. Props to the team for actually making shooting inside their house work. The key element holding this back from top marks was that the story was a bit uneven at times.

Amazing opening shot, like the sort of thing that makes your jaw drop with how impressively done it was. In fact despite no clear and apparent 'tricks' being done with the split screen I think you absolutely fucking nailed Ultra this year, as I could tell you got a ridiculous amount of coverage meaning there was never a dull moment. I liked how we as an audience were always drawn to our protagonist whether she was speaking, or because of her reactions as information came to light about her father and his secret superhero past. Beautiful looking film too. In terms of issues someone said to me there were missing vfx shots in the final cut? Also I noticed 3-4 absolutely minor audio pops, and the dialogue mix did seem markedly different from one shot to the next at times. Back to positivity; loved the boom mic drop for the 4th wall break requirement!. I'd like to see it again given so much was going on, and expect I will at the finals.

Very nice looking short with a couple of actors who had strong screen presence, with one being an office work junkie and the other being a chilled farm worker happy enough to live in the wopwops 30km away from civilisation. Most of the film was a 1 on 1 diatribe as the big city worker decided he had enough of the man, and came calling to the next door farm of his close friend. Will the animals agree with the city slicker and let him become Old MacDonald? Only time will tell. I guess my biggest issue with the film is that the strongest part of it is just a stand and talk scene that takes up the majority of the middle of the film. Yes there were bookends that made it all add up but to me it was in the good not great category because of this.

We all have to leave the nest some time, but for Leviticus it seems like his parents are going to be taking care of their baby bird forever, even if that means driving down from Tirau to make sure his flat viewing goes smoothly. Unbeknownst to them the existing flatmates consist of Green Party supporters and a sexually liberal gay man. The dinosaur costumed flatmate was bizarrely random which I assume you were going for. I liked that this had a clear beginning, middle and end but audio was a bit muddied and camera shots were largely long shots pointing and shooting, when I could tell this team was bursting with energy and could have benefited from some more dynamic camerawork/editing.

Interesting use of dance as a form of personal self-expression here. Perhaps the team were inspired by last year's Wellington runner up Compress? Seemed to have a lovely bent as a a couple who were clearly made for each other ran parallel lives, with interspersed action of them being together. A lot of feeling and I understand not using any proper dialogue I'm just not sure the non-linear approach strengthened the film.

Beautifully animated film as a couple of Maori fought a taniwha, followed by a hangi with a cut to Sky City. It's pretty rare that I miss the message in 48Hours but I'm genuinely a bit baffled how it fit into sci-fi.

Edit: right, it was post-apocalyptic. I missed that as thought time had passed before we panned to Sky City. My bad. I'm not going to bump any more stars up though. Needed more meat to the story.

A couple of siblings reunite over their father's urn of ashes, and subsequent trip to a beautiful park to scatter them. An intimate and serious tale, with notes of laughter sprinkled throughout that hit close to home having lost loved ones myself in the past. I could feel the rawness of the terrific lead actor as he stood up for his father with some stirring speeches. Also very nice use of the required wind element.

Having said that, sound was an issue. I once got absolutely ripped to shreds for saying a team had bad audio, and that was not the case here but this was definitely a case of where the film could be in an oh so much stronger position had the dialogue mix in particular been clearer, as I was genuinely struggling to make out what was being said at multiple times throughout the film.

HOMEWARD BOUND through the lens of a stick family car sticker boy and his beloved pet cat who fall off the back of the station wagon. I really loved the animation here and how it mixed with real life through water splashes, sewers and moving leaves. Clean sound, charming wholesome feel to the whole thing. I was personally impressed I'm just not sure if the story had enough legs to progress further given how many other's footprints it was following (MILO AND OTIS also) but we'll see.

I hope the actress who broke her leg has a smooth recovery!!! Nice interplay between a cop and thief, with a wall separating the two of them only for bits and pieces to come together over the course of the film. I think my biggest issue with this one was genre as the flashbacks didn't really present opposites, and perhaps we lacked one story beat or 2 to make us really care about the characters due to how they fell out? But by working towards opposites at the end of the relationship rather than opposites working towards a relationship I guess that's subversive. Camerawork was steady although static and performances were good.

Like LIMITLESS but with faeces instead of drugs, and the lead is a motivational speaker instead of a struggling writer. Grossed me out! Very strong performance by the lead actor who was fearless in the face of gobbling poop to be more like Tony Robbins. Script was good, and mostly well shot but some of the camerawork was a bit unsteady and the theaters theoretically being full of audience members unfortunately did have the vibe of empty school halls. I'm giving this a pretty good rating as the final act with the Himalayan vomit and man in goat suit was a sight to behold.

The title says it all, and whilst bleak in approach this was a well handled examination of trauma, support and coping with loss. I noticed the slight desaturation on the colour grade and thought this was a nice touch for the proceedings, as well as some strong focus shifts which seemed to me like they presented the protagonist's struggling mental state with some finesse. For some the ending would have been the surreal pick me up you intended it to be, but for mine it was quite a strong tonal shift. Also I know the weather was shitty on the shoot weekend in Wellington but I'd implore you to get out of your apartment for your next shoot.

Heyyy Kumara Films, wow! You had the audience at your mercy with this stomach churning gross out. Hats off to you. Especially hats off to the actor who played the chef, hellbent on making meat stew for a naive couple at his restaurant the only way he knew how with chicken legs, livers, and OH MY FUCKING GOD IS THAT A PIG'S HEAD GETTING CUT IN HALF. Star rating might seem a little low but technically this was pretty raw. However I loved it. More please.

Oh man there was some absolutely outstanding first person camerawork in here, exploring the psyche of the girl on the run from a crazed pscyho on a farm who wanted her cellphone...unfortunately that was a miniscule amount of the film as most of it was long shots. Not that I minded too much as his attempts to manouevre and catch her quickly gave this an element of uneasiness and creepy sleaze due to his persistence and it feeling like he would want more than her cellphone if he caught her. Sinister stuff! Plot was threadbare but I'm giving this positive marks as I genuinely enjoyed the tone. Also alpacas.

A group of colonizers struggle with having to constantly eat some orange soup-like food that they literally call gobbledigook (not sure on the spelling). Many discussions ensue about alternative sources, and there is some foraging for additional food. I like that you had some sci-fi tropes in particular your soundtrack and sound effects, but what could have been developed more was a tighter edit as often multiple characters had turns talking within the same frame, delivering expository dialogue. I'd also recommend if you are going to commit to shooting a large portion of your film inside to spruce up the set especially when gifted something like sci-fi. Just my 2c!

Wonderful use of wind through your fog shots, I was impressed by how you took what seemed to be a little bit of a generic post apocalyptic tale of a masked band of marauders into something a bit more mind-bending with the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE nods through veggie tales and a headscratching ending. I don't know if I'll ever look at broccoli the same way again.

What if your uncle magically came back to life as a vacuum cleaner? Well that's where this team's headspace was for the weekend and I liked their 100% commitment to selling the idea. Some decent character development and links to family as our lead was shown to be a non-listener/person who kept to their headphones, until their smart-ass wisecracking uncle shows them how to stand up for themselves both against bullies and when it comes to women. Million dollar idea on a miniscule budget but a couple of fantastic jokes.

Dungeons and Dragons loving lead meets...a satanist convention?? Yes most definitely wrong place, wrong time to bump into this coven in the Newlands College boiler room. But not the wrong time for a hip hop musical! Solid beats, decent flows and one hell of a dolly zoom were highlights in this funky effort. Outside of the music however there were a couple of audio issues I noticed, and the diction on the songs could have been slightly clearer at times however I'm letting those slide when I look at my notes and remember the huge laughs I got out of your "Get rekt n00b" joke. Dark dark payoff and gonzo camerawork too.

High energy buddy film as a couple of Xbox and sword loving lads fall head over heels for a girl they bump into on a school day. Just one problem, she has a boyfriend and these guys are clumsy to the max. Some ludicrous Monty Python-inspired humour combined with Weekend at Bernies, and a vengeful boyfriend to make an enjoyable short despite the theoretically grim subject matter. Super fast paced and self aware of priorities of many teenage boys. My advice would be to focus on sound and continuity as this had a couple of instances of things changing between shots that I noticed.

Animals are running wild in Wellington we are told over the radio to start this short, which attempted to build some lore through taxidermia and a post-apocalyptic vibe. Eventually turning into a battle between two determined females and one remaining dog, I felt the team attempted to subvert the genre by playing on the aftermath of said nature as per their genre already having run amok. Whilst I like double personalities as much as anyone, and thinking back this had parallels with POSSESSION, I think the edit could have been tighter. The tight focus pulls were impressive but much of the coverage did not push the story forward. Also I felt the back stories of both the animals being wild, and the 2 characters were a bit unclear.

Fantastic looking short here as a very young lead stumbled across an adult magazine at the beach, and wondered what sex was after feasting his pre-pubescent eyes on a scantily clad lady. Unfortunately the sage advice he is after is a little shortcoming from his brother, mum and grandad despite their best intentions with condoms, books and dolls (don't ask). I felt the cinematography on this was top notch, and a cracking start to the heats with some deeply saturated deeply focused shots, all in well framed scope.I also liked the attention to detail for your production values with the house kept tidy, but interesting through attention grabbing stylish backgrounds. The payoff so to speak was a bit predictable in this day and age but the actors were committed to selling it. Well done.

Great script delivered at machine gun pace, great gags. That fish, that song. So catchy!

Very entertaining film. Genuinely surprised it was up for best editing at the nationals though as felt that was the area of the film that held it back from potentially challenging for the top gong. Just my 2c.

Whilst I've seen this video game fighter story done previously (in this comp, a few years ago, by Alpaca Punch) this was a reasonably fresh take on the most tired setting outside of apartments in 48Hours - the dreaded office where coworkers don't get along. Superb production design however, well deserved award there but the plot for mine was a bit threadbare.

So very very good. Be careful what you wish for indeed...

I know that George Miller was a clear and obvious inspiration but boy oh boy did this deliver. Honestly the closest comparison I could think of was the writing of Gregoire Solotareff because this was most definitely its own morality tale and an absolute beast of a film, pun intended. Framing was captivating, pacing like a leisurely journey across an ocean paradise and an ability to emotionally resonate like few 48Hours films ever have. The only minor minute squibble I had was the voiceover not quite being technically perfect sound-wise however the performance was so great in terms of guiding us lucky viewers that this is most definitely still getting full marks from me.

Oh and that music using strings to pull on my heart strings? YESSS.

Poor little Utka...

ps Robbed of top 3 at nationals.

So....the elephant in the room of this film's director having for the 2nd time in 4 years written a suicide-centered film that placed at the national finals? Yeah I'm assuming most are going to not care given it just took out the Apee (congrats by the way). For me personally this has got to be the most divisive winner the comp has ever seen. Yes challenging and technically brilliant plus perfectly performed it just didn't tick the boxes for me personally in terms of engagement and it's really hard to put my finger on it.

Will come back to edit this review once I've pondered a bit more and re-watched.

So I couldn't help but look at the reviews for this film before the grand final and it STILL got to me. FUCK....

Big fan of GINGER SNAPS here so let me tell you this film was right up my alley! Simple but clean and polished animation well aware of exactly how important the eyes are to any romantic situation and to bring out an impressive level of emotions to the characters was no mean feat. I thought the script was particularly grounded in the lycanthropian world, reflecting the awkwardness and messy excitement of a first date with aplomb. Whilst chillwave jazz is not normally my cup of tea I also found that the score brought an ambience to proceedings that sat well with the full moon human feast and efforts to impressive each other by the female werewolves through attitude and effort.

Sound was clear and concise add editing let the film breath (thank you) despite the short run time so not much to fault from a technical pov. Script was solid too with a couple of strong jokes. My only minor complaint is that it was slightly hard to differentiate the two characters the first time I watched the film with no names being given and being drawn in such a similar way, although this was less of a weakness on subsequent viewings. Top work and appreciate Liam putting his money where his mouth is and delivering the goods! :)

Bit of a surreal vibe to this one as a man whose death caused a lot of grief wakes up and forms a bond with his fellow grave neighbour, 6 feet under. Interesting approach in that we just came into the film with the supernatural resurrection unexplained, which is a choice that I don't really have any problems with. Open-ended, it felt like whilst we were shown the recently deceased in their graves this was essentially a conversation between their souls.

By and large the framing was great, presenting a believable surround of being buried in a cemetery, and most of the editing was on point although I noticed a couple of cuts at the start that were a tad jumpy. The script was engaging, and made you think what you would do in the same sort of situation yourself, which I think is what the team was trying to achieve, other than the obvious message of making sure you live each day as though it is your last - pop culture being referenced in a humorous way but working as a bit of a sad point in terms of things that actually matter was the highlight to the script.

Probably a rare example in 48hours where I felt this one was missing a 3rd act.

Really slick effort this one with nary a frame not looking great and crystal clear quality sound and music, this took a lot of beats from cult classic horror film THE BEAST WITHIN but played for laughs, and unfortunately (as I've been a huge fan of Alan Morrison's work in this comp over the years and see he wrote this) I didn't really buy it as as radio DJ went through a monster transformation all the while staying actively engaged with social media. I get that this was meant to play as a meta commentary on instagram/facebook etc but the payoff genuinely came too late in the piece for my liking. I also think that texts as an on-screen graphic have been a tad overdone in this comp especially when Chess Club did their drop the mic film in this area a couple of years ago.

However I'm pretty inspired by what you guys pulled off from a technical pov. The camerawork in some of this was absolutely exquisite from the fish eye lenses examining the man's soul and body transformation through to the dramatic VAMP-like neon lighting. The makeup was freaking marvelous for a 48hours film too!

A couple of "little shits" in the words of their mum conspire to steal chocolate protein bars from under mum's nose whilst she deals with a plumbing issue. Hoo boy as a dad with 2 and 3 year olds this felt scarily close to home in a been there, done that kind of way. Very relatable. I liked the pulsating start to the film as the energetic siblings were framed well for the upcoming heist, reflective of how moods can genuinely change for little children with the click of fingers or the loss of a chocolate treat. I also found the use of the shadow/silhouette for the plans well-executed and met the element requirement well. Kids held their own on screen well and sound was pretty good.

The couple of things that I wasn't completely sold on was the pacing of the film. The chapter titles were unusual for a short film but unnecessary in my book, I felt the second one in particular kind of cut into the action just as I was getting fully engaged with the action unfolding. I also appreciate how grounded the film was in reality. Like, really, this was close to home, but I think that some interesting locations or even just more interesting backdrops given it was shot in a house could have given the film more of an impact.

What's this doing not in the Auckland final? Must be a banner year! Short, sweet, sick tale of family acceptance no matter how alien a child's traits may (literally) be as a newborn really seemed to come from another world, complete with glass-piercing growls, accordion bookends and seemingly problematic fire vomit . Huge Lee Hardcastle vibes but with emotional warmth and the comforting tone of a well-told children's story book. I loved the measured clear diction of the storyteller's voice over and the unwavering approach to the vocals strengthened the metaphor in my book to be unconditional in your love for your family.

The vibrancy in the colour palette also helped this stand out from the crowd a lot. Animation where present was great this would have got full marks from me with just a smidgeon more movement to the film. Awesome work though!

Not sure why I noted the team name as 'Exit Sign'? but that's by the by. This was an engaging and very enjoyable film to watch close out the Wellington heats for 2018 as a guy obsessed with asking a girl out simply will not take the hint that she is not interested, no matter how many times she rejects him. Yes this ranges from mid-exam through lady's bathroom and on to her house. So creepy and stalkerish but done in a really lighthearted way showing that you can make good comedy out of any situation. The back yard barrel rolls deservedly got some loud laughs and your lead actor really had something highly watchable about him, nailing every line that came out of his mouth. The payoff was fantastic it was just a bit rough around the edges from a technical pov.

With waterguns at the hilt, a group of students swags their way down to the school office to steal some test papers for an upcoming exam. I liked the confidence that a lot of this film portrayed, although the echoey sound at times was a distraction and I feel that the camera shots could have been more dynamic as almost the entire film was ultra wide takes with very few close ups of the lively crew. It was enjoyable and I think tonally you were onto something when the characters freaked out because this started to produce some tension, an essential element for the 'heist' genre. The script could have also been tidied up as a "shut up!" screamed rebuttal was not at the same level as your impressive quip by the lead guy about wanting to marry a super hot bad ass chick. I would also be careful if using on camera sound to try and make sure that you don't have a different actor cover up the performer who is speaking whilst on screen in terms of blocking.

So this film is pretty goddam great with its only real downfall being a loooooong opening shot of a guy in bed before manically waking up and realising they have overslept and then running like mad to get to class. Played to the connotations of being late to school so expertly that when a new character comes into the scene their equal desperation puts us as a viewer in a 'been there, copy that' scenario. Only this film isn't that. It's electrifyingly paced to the point that you almost feel the lead's heart pumping out of their chest, and geographically it actually makes sense, utilising Newtown and hills near the zoo rather than haphazardly piecing Wellington together like I've seen so many teams do over the years.

I love the fact that this year there wasn't a required line of dialogue. In the past it's felt extremely shoehorned but this year it's allowed a lot of teams to focus on their scripts in other ways, such as visual storytelling. That is the case here with no dialogue but absolutely kinetic movement and a sure hand behind the camera that amazes me it was from a high school team. Oh and the sound on this was awesome. The brekky spew, not so much.

Bit of a GROUNDHOG DAY/TIMECRIMES loop here but exploring some close to home issues, as being stuck on his fated path with seemingly no way to change put our lead into the very real nightmare of having to endure the sounds of his parents fighting when he got home every time. From memory this got 4 loops and it probably looped one time too many as barely anything got mixed up in the sequence of repetition. Good self-awareness in the minimal script and I liked the open-ended ending but do feel more could have been done with the time looping. Technically sound.

Basically a piss-take slasher version of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, complete with hilarious deliberately bad dubbing for the burnout, jock and nerd stuck in detention having to write an essay. Got z-grade pretty quickly although the homage to dated one-liners had its moments such as "eat my shorts". The burnout bully was believable however moving to a cold-blooded masked serial killer with a knife so quickly was a bit of a tonal jolt, and the film kind of lost the positive atmosphere it had garnered initially when it went stabby murderous with no clear explanation that I remember.

After playing a game all night, two close knit friends talk about how things might change if one of them comes out of the closet to their parents. This had some excellent sound design as the lead actor dealt with the inner demons in his head, which were given actual demonic sounds to truly represent the personal torture that he was going through. Raw and admirable this broke down a lot of walls with a simple story well told. Would have got even higher marks from me if there were not stretches where the audio needed work; it was audible as the boys walked past all the cars but the car noise did make the dialogue lose some of its impact. Just so much unbridled love from friends and family in this story made my heart swell, this was a delight to get to watch in a cinema. Thank you.

SOLO ENTRY and eff me that must have been a billion times harder than duo: setting your own camera and essentially ruling out tracking shots, zooms etc, but the brains behind this one made some really smart film-making decisions by giving it movement and energy through lights, colour, flowing water, car travel, and screen footage (though not sure they had the rights to show what was on the screen briefly at the Photon Lux bar for commercial use for the comp - might have been Matthew Mcconaughey but I could have this wrong and I apologise if I do). Given the difficulty in setting your own camera I'm also forgiving of the fact that numerous shots of the actress were out of focus.

Actually more forgiving than the technical difficulties they may have faced is the fact that the story was bloody strong, intriguing, dreamlike and wholly original. There were elements of LOST IN TRANSALATION with hints of THE NEON DEMON and BLUE VELVET and yet it had a beautiful mis-en-scene throughout that made it feel like a recurring dream. The story was seemingly simple though interesting, as a dream bookended an ambitious 48 hours road trip, yet more complex than that with high concept examinations of behaviour and control versus fate. The editing was top notch and the use of contrast throughout the film was excellent. Just a shame about the focus and I do hope what was on screen at the bar didn't break the rules. Well done on making the shortlist :)

EDIT - yep, my beady eye is correct there was pre-existing footage of a film with Matthew Mcconaughey used approximately 1m32 to 1m36 at Photon Lux (I've just re-watched in the screening room). Should have unfortunately been DQ on this technicality much like Purple Dragons in 2016. Poor from the judges to miss it. Positive comments still stand, this was very very impressive for a solo 16 year old!

Having heard that there is a ghost in the basement of the building they hang out in that grants wishes, a group of young people make their way down what seems like a set of everlasting corridors and stairs to try and make their dreams come true. This played fairly loosely, but enjoyably with some down to earth humour and really great lighting effects at times. To give an example of the tone one of the happy go lucky characters only wanted some KFC as their wish, which was backed up by another! The sound design was fairly good although there was a technical hiccup when audio from a subsequent scene came in too early to the existing footage we were watching. I also noted some shaky camera work but from memory this was when tight spots were being covered, so not really a mark down. With the utilisation of angles the scope of the building really did feel like an infinite maze at teams, giving the film a dream-like quality. I liked that it played like a quest but do think that the final act of the film could have been a lot more satisfying.

In a world where everyone has been completely consumed by their cellphones, those who have not yet been consumed by virtual reality are few and far between. Very 1984-ish in concept but put the onus on the user rather than any overbearing overwatching government. The dinner with mum and the lead's sisters was audaciously robotic and sinister, feeling as though it was saying cellphones literally take our souls and wills. To eat or to live, it's the same idea. A cinema full of lit up screens was a very meta moment, as we in the cinema audience saw a film watching a cinema audience. I respected the big ideas, I just would have liked to have seen more of a storyline rather than concept developed.

Oh man did I think long and hard about this one and still not sure how I feel, to be honest. Like, at first this seemed like the bravest sell in the comp with a lump in the throat approach as a teacher picked up a student's belongings through narration that they sometimes have to deal with tragedy. But how it played out? Like was that supposed to be comedy? Kind of a taboo/kosher area really and a bit iffy about leading the audience down the suicide path but then having a massive sidestep punchline. The first half of the film had me on the edge of my seat despite the flat camera work. Personally I think committing would have knocked everyone out, but then again it really is your film and it's such a delicate subject it's absolutely not my place to tell anyone else how to handle it because I don't know where anyone else comes from about this, and I would never ever want to say something upsetting on this subject. As it is that conclusion almost killed this for me from a film pov. Positive marks because that first half was sooo engaging.

A high school MacBeth audition is quickly thrown into disarray when the name of the Shakespearean play is spoken, an act that brings a vengeful spirit to life and leaves the eclectic cast running for their lives whilst spouting delightful dialogue at the same time. The film started with some tech issues with screen tearing/glitches and the editing was very choppy at times but it developed nicely and poured life into its characters after the slow beginning. The running jokes whilst not garnering much of audience response gave the film its own unique little universe, and the commitment to Scottish jokes set the tone. Overall this had an organic feel to it and I can forgive the technical shortcomings because whoever the actor was with the googly glasses had simply incredible screen presence.

Ps. breaking the 4th wall was great!

A shooting star inspires a wannabe rapper to pursue his hip hop dream like never before. Took the piss with self-aware lyrics acknowledging what they were singing was muddled, and was one of the rare entries this year to keep the wish genre grounded in reality. I liked the fact the team showed that wishes don't really come true without hard work, as the self-proclaimed superstar to be practiced his music for a clearly good amount of time. Honest examination of the fact that your own perception of talent may not always match others. I would have given this positive marks, and understand that it was to do with the 'gangster' story but the "make you my b***h" lines were not cool at all. I appreciate musical's a tough genre so whilst the song's were ok at best, I did like the gonzo camerawork and free spirited nature to the whole thing.

Interesting dive into the world of androids, and what a suitable use is for them covering office work through personal relationships. I liked how the film sold the idea of this future, with the girl who played the android really commanding the screen. It was quite eery how the almost drone or zombified robotic approach to work is how a lot of people actually feel when typing away at an office. I think some of the big ideas here could have been explored a bit further, because going into THE BIG SICK sort of territory of thinking a partner might not wake up and what repercussions there might be if a replacement is brought into the mix, android or not, was really deep at least to me.

The ingenuity on show here was very positive, and whilst the story was a bit unclear I liked the ambition. In a way the lack of clarity and so many thought provoking concepts being raised actually helped rather than hindered the film. Main thing that would have improved the film would have been a tighter edit as it some of the cuts were a bit rushed, whilst other shots were held probably too long.

Non-linear exposition on life and death set across 2 weeks or so with unexplained loose-ends making it come across like a giallo fever dream. This film had some really lovely opening shots as a body was dragged across a beach and buried, but was followed by being out of focus the first time we saw the face of a character. It really did walk a fine line between a memorable dream and hard to comprehend storytelling as a woman followed instructions under threat from a sinister unnamed figure through to resurrection and confusion. Despite the unclear structure and hit and miss audio, this was entertaining with a crazy script and black comedy that I can't give negative marks to.

Serious in tone and played with believable authenticity this established a sparse barely inhabited Wellington through quality drone camera work where I honestly don't remember any giveaways like lights being on as well as impressive costuming and set design. With the world set this was well acted mainly in a bunker as a couple of survivalists shared their tales of getting through, and opened up knowing it was unlikely they'd see another person ever again. The radio announcement that the world was coming to an end was a nice touch but could have been made a bit clearer because it was hard to make out all the details. I noted "captivating" on my pad I base these reviews on, and I'll stick to that. Lighting here was out of this world good. Cool vfx to conclude, I do however wish the team had added a bit more originality to their story.

2 months after the death of their intermediate classmate, a group of kids try their best to get on with their lives although the trauma of the death still gets to them with the wrong homework done and distractions abounding. This was quite a brave subject matter to tackle, going for a haunting approach to how things played out whilst still trying to keep dialogue very much in the moment. Probably deserves a reframing second watch when it's in the screening room. Unfortunately the camera work whilst almost all in focus did come across a little flat; just a little bit of a bump in contrast would have helped things immensely although I do appreciate this was a very young team. The audio did also have some spikes, but the quality script was well delivered. One thing I did notice which slightly brought me out of the moment was mention of it being October and yet the school disco was announced as coming up very shortly (seemingly days away) with a 25 May date on its poster. Just something to watch out for in future. Overall positive marks for the bravery.

This team really worked with what it had to create a diverse gang of criminals where the leader was up for trial for heinous crimes, with the majority of the story told in a hazy coloured flashback. A particularly detailed script outlined events here and everything was played with a completely straight face despite the bombastic nature of the dialogue. With a colourful cast including a wheelchair tech wizardly conman, wig-wearing 'wife' and sunglasses-clad Mr. Big type I really enjoyed the verbal interplay between the crooks that showed some strong character development.

The heist itself was a bit amateurish [being clearly set at the high school] and sound levels were a mixed bag in this film, being particularly low during the first act. Having said that, the brutal yet low budget gunshots and accompanying bloof vfx were highly entertaining moments. Ambitiously detailed this pushed the dirty humour and was one to remember.

Alternate universe farce where facial hair is championed and smooth faces for men are mocked and ridiculed, with the titular nazi leader having an enormous effect on the proceedings. Spanning across 85 years for all intensive purposes through low budget time travel, well covered up by black and white footage to hide any budget constraints, this highlighted modern high school life well where the pressure to show your true feelings is indeed immense, and rejection is soul crushing.

I liked the message here to never give up even in the face of denial, and the beard jokes came thick and fast. "Dad" was a particular highlight, as was the dramatic mo trimming and good use of sound effects in the film. Some of the camerawork was noticeably shaky and motivations for characters were a bit questionable at times but I do enjoy a good farce and this got great laughs from the audience including myself.

A grumpy (but hilarious) dad and a forced restlessly early night for a group of boys at a pizza party sleepover means that it's time for horror stories and some classic kiwi bad taste splatstick ingenuity. This was kinetic in approach with lively performances and a nice buy in to the urban legend which pursued the young men with great vigour. The jokes were funny, the film screamed by in terms of pacing and I love that the team threw everything at their gore they possibly could. You really can get a lot out of sausages, fake blood and horse heads if you're committed. Getting out and about was impressive as well with the waterfall being a really strong final location.

I noticed a colleague giving you some sound advice about not leaving the sound until last for your film, and I agree. It was cracking good fun but there were also quite literally some crackles on the audio, some muffled dialogue and several distorted peaks. Huge potential here though and for what I assumed was an ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT reference to round out proceedings I take my hat off to you.

Utterly embracing of Ultra and manic in the best possible way as an infantile overlord monitors his army in a post-apocalyptic bunker following the natural aging process on earth being stopped. This was militaristic bonkers film-making that danced to its own beat with an infectious drumbeat driving proceedings. Dubbing was well done too given the very young child

When I say bonkers I refer more to the concept rather than the film-making which was steady and assured, with a gourmet of visual information for the viewer spread across up to 6 screen panels at a time. I really felt immersed in the world as well as hugely entertained, with some solid one-liners and a fast snappy pace. Oh and before I forget...the machine gun firing robot that looked like a Dalek brought joy to my heart. The interplay between the 2 lovers to be was also nicely done, although came into the piece just a tad late in my opinion.

I feel that this team showed that a few seconds of clear expository dialogue is really all you need to set the tone and build a world, especially when the film is only around 3 minutes long. Torn whether slightly more to the plot and say roadblocks to the lovers would have added to the film or not. Big barrel of fun as it stands, though.

Technically slick harrowing examination of inner turmoil that had me feeling very uneasy through bloody well-used handheld camerawork and an aurally sinister soundtrack. The lead actress sold the material with immense value showing terrific emotion through her eyes regarding the relationship that she thought was the one most pursuing, with the film being incredibly subversive. Wide open in scope utilising the rolling hills of Canterbury yet intimate in subject matter with a mature hand for framing both the action on screen and development of this slice of life/death.

I loved that the film came in late to proceedings and piqued my curiousity with a refusal to reveal the other party's identity, making the conclusion all the more satisfying. Depth of field was on point with literally only a couple of moments where the camera could have been improved. My only minor gripes with the film were that perhaps it was legitmately too subversive of the genre; it had a strong script and the star-crossing of the two was certainly a unique take but the 'lovers' point point could have been argued plus the audio peaked a couple of times. Overall very well done!

Oof. Ever lost a loved one? Yeah it bloody hurts and this effort conveyed that with immense gravity as two tightly knit sisters came to terms with having lost both of their parents in a tragic accident. Nice little touches like calling her sibling 'little bean' and it meaning something showed a good awareness for building character development, and the escapist but minimalist BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA fantasy pulled the wool over the audience' eyes very nicely when the required wish came into play. The audio could have done with some work here as some of the dialogue was hard to discern but very much appreciate going for the jugular with mature themes and a serious tone. That enormous puddle might have been the biggest I saw in the Wellington heats!

Be still my beating heart this was achingly beautiful and a rare example of mature, well-handled queer cinema in this competition. There's some adult teams who could absolutely take a leaf or 10 out of this team's book because they put a lot of teams to genuine shame this year simply by making a touching love story between 2 young thespians.

With an affinity for the bard himself and keeping physically active through running, the two young men studying Shakespeare catch each other's eye but the delicate propositioning always had something beyond their control getting in the way of their path. This was a well-thought out gentle yet charming film with a few technical bumps such as the opening couple of shots being out of focus and wind on the audio track for several outside shots, plus a couple of areas where the edit could have been tightened such as the overly long establishment that one character loved tea, however I'm giving high marks because it was a raw open window into young love that struck a chord. Whilst I may seem negative about the issues behind the scenes, I should note that the camera work was very solid and tidy in terms of framing and drawing the audience in.

Bullied art-student with mild verbal dyslexia blended right in to the alien invasion here which presented a very strong metaphor for being the odd one out....albeit through grotesque head explosions and ray guns. I thought that the vfx in this film were really well done and would not be surprised to see a nomination in the Wellington final if only that bloody award hadn't been combined with animation this year. The comic timing here made one of the best splatstick films in Wellington this year, and yes I'm aware that the team got 'Fish out of Water' as their genre. Generally engaging framing and very impressive editing, plus excellent use of whatever stock soundtrack the team had acquired. I think this team can hold their head very high and proud as it quickly reached the top echelon of high school films all time in Wellington for me.

A campaign to stop bulllying that misfires in the worst possible way produced a pretty remarkable tale of pathos via Sergei Eisenstein and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Questions of how to stop persecution based on difference were raised but the reality of society and the system was brought to the forefront in a shuddering jolt. A towering showing by the lead actress I noted this taking a bit too long to get going and the sound being a bit flat, although it was clean. Kind of hate the rating system sometimes as genuinely can't decide between a 5 and a 6 out of 7. Consider my rating unofficially a 5.5

Well well well this was kind of bloody amazing, terrifying in a WOLF CREEK/HOUNDS OF LOVE kind of way with a "holy shit!" dolly zoom moment as New Zealand backroads were highlighted with a punch to the gut. Absolutely perfect example of short film making, taking a slice of the tale and that was all it needed to send shivers down my spine. Running desperation, a woman trying to scream and a maniacally sinister driver. Goddam.

Mockumentary about a would-be romantic and his quest for love...and I kind of liked it! (Shock, horror to all the steelpotato haters and my history of mocko roasting haha). We see that our young gentleman has been saving his best music for a special lady, and the way that he thinks a full blown serenade that comes as close to a marriage proposal as possible without actually being one the first time he sees his special lady in person. Just wow. Really committed performance here let down by some slightly hissy audio.

An amazing phone message gives a stoic hitwoman her next target, but the blind positivity of her Greenpeace leader target means that what should be a straightforward kill turns into a barrel of deadpan laughs romcom. Kind of worked better in my mind as an anti-romcom! The camerawork needed some focus and contrast to it plus was mostly static when some variety would have helped, and there was audible distortion on the soundtrack, but this team committed to an idea and ran with it which made it a highlight in the heat. Playing the material dead straight meant that being a 'yes woman' was highly believable as she had a job to do, and whether that took 1 second or 10 years it would get done even if it meant putting up with getting married or having a baby. A lot of promise here.

Entertaining escapade of a second chance to stop a young woman from being taken out and killed by a flying fox at the park. Songs were absolutely fantastic with wall-breaking lyrics that were both humorous and important to the plot of the film. Like FINAL DESTINATION but if death's target was anyone who wears headphones of doom. You know how it's actually kind of rare for every day things like going to the toilet (well, maybe not for 48hours) or blowing your nose being shown on screen? Well that was the sort of low budget cheekiness used to propel the story. Good reaction from the audience and I get the song framing device it did just need to be tightened up a bit.

Three Hawaiian shirt-wearing crims on a getaway struggle to deal with the fact that one of them has been shot and really needs a doctor. Camera was decent, script was working well and performances were engaging. But that the flattening of a balloon in all its cold mean spirited cliched predictability. Ruined the film for me.

Super low budget romcom time travel, or so we think. With a cardboard box, a circuit board and some wiring a whole lot of passengers are sent on their time travels to Moscow, Berlin and New York. Shaky camera shots at times, sound with issues, and a slow pace to the film were almost saved by a decent ending but the damage had been done. I just couldn't help but think of Chillybox's national winner from 2016 about a time travel centre and this being the complete z-grade antithesis to that.

A canned laughter tv show where the 'normal' office worker is blissfully unaware that his flatmate is a murderous cultist. Tar black comedy with a lot of puns, the cultist held the striking intensity for his role particularly well and the makeup and gore in the film was of high quality. The Hamilton joke got a massive guffaw although there were some significant technical issues in particular shots having completely different lighting from one cut to the next (in the same scene). I think given the one-joke nature of the film a lot more could have been brought to the table from a storytelling point of view as whilst the start of a friendship developed, it felt fleeting.

Given 48hours to kill her target by a vary watchful boss, a professional killer instead falls head over heels for her laundromat manager target. Knowing each other's name be damned this showed awareness of its tropes so well I'd arguably call it a parody. Really quite charming with a down to earth heart. Gave life to ordinary places and situations with deadpan comedic delivery of the script and a very very memorable boss; that creepy check up at her house was hilarious. Owed a lot to Romeo and Juliet and just a bit too static for my liking but slayed the crowd and was highly enjoyable overall.

24 hour body swap company that turns into quite the conundrum and raised ethical issues when addiction comes into play. Tonally wild flexing from obnoxious comedy to soul searching this had a fantastic concept that I feel could have been fleshed out a bit more, but was a good parallel for how a lot of people use virtual reality to escape the mundane. If you had come in late without the long setup that certainly would have helped, because as things were this really had a mix between dragging and then rushing. The camera work being in focus 100% would have been of great benefit as well.

A somber elderly woman bookended this film about an aspiring commerce student who was focused on study while her besty was out to party. Showed the inner pressure those who study hard do feel from peer pressure. The sound mix was unfortunately quite variable in quality but the lead actress knew how to hold the camera and present her emotions well.

I wasn't quite sure whether the final shot was a burn on Bachelors of Arts as it seemed like the elderly woman was disappointed to end up with that, when she had been studying commerce. If this was a burn on different fields of study to commerce then this went down a whole lot in my estimation but I'm assuming it was just a continuity error.

Raw morning after intimacy of 2 people who do not actually know each other that was sensationally scripted and very nicely shot. That alarm was so well done this could be a nominee for best sound design. I really liked the grade here and the framing was eye-catching, a rare example of making shooting inside somebody's house actually work in this competition as strewn drunk bottles in the forefront worked as a lovely literal through the looking glass metaphor. Maturity clearly helmed this film with some deep life lessons explored it felt incredibly real. The only thing that I kind of questioned was why add the film print flicker/specks etc? Quite impactful I think this stands a good chance to make the Wellington final.

To mine this was treading a damn fine line on the Ultra requirements. I've heard the explanation that the whole film was from the child's POV making them the lead, but films entirely from someone's POV are something I watch out for and there were multiple shots of the mum and dad outside the possible scope of the view of the car that for mine clearly made them also lead characters not supporting. Subversion is bloody great but was this given a bit of a free pass? Nobody who is not a judge that I've spoken to disagreed that the parents were also lead characters rather than just supports.

I don't think I've ever given a negative review to the films made by the people in this team whether Moffilaide or Simmo and Simmo and I'm not going to start now in terms of the film itself (very fun and slick as hell), I simply have gripes about Ultra and felt I had to bring it up because nobody else has. Appreciate this is technically a new team of course, and sorry for whining - I love what your team does and brings to the comp almost every year without fail! Others at the cinema described it as whimsical and I can go with that; close to the best 'heist' film in this year's comp from Wellington while at the same time being a very subversive fish out of water; a kid taken by mum and dad for their latest hit/gunfight is most definitely wrong place, wrong time shouldn't be there if you wanted a shining example. Stunt work was great and edit was on point. Huge audience laughs and kept everyone on the edge of their seat.

I'm not a judge this year and they are ok with saying the adults are supporting characters, so good luck at the finals!

After a 6 week preparation the woodfire pizza bbq of the century is ready to go for a colourful collection of animal food connoisseurs ranging from walruses to earthworms. Absolutely classic backyard humour the jokes came motoring in with really solid crystal clear voice acting. Appropriate behaviour at one of these events is examined such as whether a side dish actually works and just how bad coriander is as a topping, all the while completely celebrating the Ultra animal requirement with intimate zoology punchlines.

The main event itself now that was something to truly behold. The animals were salivating and given this was a 'Monster' genre film I can assure you the payoff was well worth the wait for both eager hungry animals on screen and film fans knowledgeable of what Squint Eastwood is capable of. So good. Really made me want Hell Pizza afterwords.

Headphones for time travel in post apocalyptic Wellington 2367 worked as a terrific time travel plot point in this musical that had some simply amazing highs along Oriental Parade. Exploring difficulty of solitude versus how your life can change when others accept you this film left me crushed. Utilisation of a large number of people willing and eager to party was well implemented, and going full blown classical Hollwood musical as you confidently breezed down O. Bay was something I’ll cherish watching for a long time.

Sensitive leisurely touching film about a young girl inheriting a very special family guitar. Special as it had been in the family for generations. The film played with a genuine delicate rhythm that felt personal and honest as a massive scope of examples of where the instrument had been used were portrayed on screen taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster in a really good way. From sad cringe at aunties and uncles getting high and using it to strum a fun tune all the way through to a tangi. Full of arohanui I take my hat off to you.

GOOD sound design for the most part here as a possibly crazy lead escaped from the probably infected streets to have a good night of xbox and weed with his mates. The move to the dingy apartment following the zombified opening did create a slight lull however the kinetic chemistry the friends all held quickly pulled the film back up

A couple of stoner friends (one particularly homophobic) discuss the prophecy of Youngeesie Dingdang with an unnecessary talking head shot attemping to break the 4th wall at least once on my notes. Bugnuts in tone seems like the team had a “let’s get fucking weird!” weekend and that showed on screen. A lot of the jokes fell flat though, more wtf than haha…and lose the bloody homophobia jokes next time ffs.

A potty mouthed f-bomb spraying old man demands special K, which will clear our lead’s debt if delivered successfully. Queue low-brow besties conspiring to grab what they’ve been asked to and make a clean getaway. The team attempted a sleight of hand here and it got a couple of good chortles from the audience. The heist itself was solid but the setup and finale could have used some tightening up particularly in the edit.

Used the 48Hours platform to present a darkly comic call to get rid of plastic bags, through bumbling kidnappers and a startling can-do alternate universe female Prime Minister. Held mostly high production values and the jokes were well timed. Fairly decent sound with clear dialogue for the strong script. Probably a bit of a smokey stabbey dark horse for the shortlist.

Loneliess and envy of couples well conveyed here by a strong lead performance, who through a eureka moment sculpted his own destiny in more ways than one, played for slapstick laughs throughout. I enjoyed the positive atmosphere in this film and quirky ideas. Some dim lighting was a bit of a block, so to speak but the ice queen was some number 8 wire magnificent ingenuity.

Black and white minimalist animation that showed a wonderful friendship develop between a recently dumped girl and her new best friend unicorn. With charming picnics and shared sensibilities for pottery, the crisp clean animation was handled with aplomb. I particularly loved the subtitle touches such as the selection of equestrian netflix shows for our horned friend. Of course a bond over a breakup is one that is to be protected and so the defence of the friendship was a particular highlight. Makes me wish I had gone as clean and simple with my own animated film!

Awesome stuff here NITRO. A touching, beautifully acted little gem as a survivalist girl yearns with longing for the ability to go back and do things differently in her life. Framing was on point and the happy diner memories with her best friend provided a depth to the lead actress that most other films could only dream of. The friendship was conveyed so strongly that it was a bit heartbreaking knowing that we were witnessing the last day on earth. I really liked how the reality of truth or dare was portrayed as well, because in all honesty when young people play that deeply personal revealer they are not always ready. Moved me.

Yes I said "geeze that's homophobic" at the end of your film quite loudly in the cinema. Come on guys, it's 2018. Sheesh.

Do I really want to provide a full review about a film where the mail order bride turns out to be a gay guy, and the lead actor gets so freaked and scared he quickly murders the poor man? No, not really.

EDIT - I'm not a judge in 2018. Appreciate the film's defenders. Cheers.

Brave filmmaking here with some gobsmacking cinematography and clearly high-end equipment. Technically just really on point with A-grade editing and sound to top things off. That party was absolutely pumping without seeming staged. That's not to mention the virtuoso naturalistic performances in particular by the lead who conveyed a wide array of emotions from happy go lucky through party animal and desperate fuckup.

Fair cop for giving this one a warning as class A drugs are not something you see very often in this comp, but whilst the repercussions were harrowing there was never a hint of exploitation or intention to shock from the filmmakers. Personally those rooftop scenes and contemplation of life were even harder to watch but that's because they looked almost identical to the site of a personal tragedy. Coming back to the wizardy behind the scenes can I also just add that the I noted the lighting was great? And ooh yes this is subversive of its genre in a good way. Foreboding plot, impactful results.

Edgar Wright would be proud as you smashed, crashed and zoom cut your way around that kitchen like pros. The film seemed to go nowhere other than escalating the OCD components of our lead's daily morning ritual before pulling the wool over our eyes. Kind of a PSA really and the sort of film that does make you question the previous events usually, although due to the one actor and the pills it might seem more obvious to some.

At his first real day on the job as a genie(?) an office worker sucks up one too many times about wishing the day would always go so well when spoken to by his boss. The audio levels for the disgruntled customer were painfully loud, a rarity but I actually had to cover my ears because of that and the rest of the audio as taken off camera seemed to have a bit of static throughout. I would suggest looking to put some more dramatic content into the film next time as things just happened to our lead without me ever becoming fully engaged with him. Loop structure was almost there but the film could have easily chopped at least half its superfluous runtime.

Sorry to hear about the tech issues for your sound, as the story was original and I liked your surreal touches with the puppet animation. Lead performer seemed very lively in terms of their physical presence and when one of the team chimed in to dub audio real time it was a treat for the audience. Interesting reversal to have a cis person trapped in a trans world. It wouldn't be fair for me to give this a negative rating as I understand the sound issues were not the team's fault.

That was a truly great script and showed some genuine Jurassic-love as a multitude of dinosaurs were at high school trying to work together to stop an oncoming asteroid. I'm feeling like a goose for not really knowing the scientific names of the highlighted dinosaurs, however from what I do remember the scavenger was existential and genius whilst the T-Rex made a surprisingly touching model to remind everyone that love holds no prejudice. Minimal actual animation but high quality drawings and voice work. Oh yeah the free market jokes were out of this world good!

Basically a no budget version of A QUIET PLACE, with the monsters being conveyed as being everywhere through text messages shown on screen. Unfortunately a complete lack of originality here and no show of the monster was disappointing. The 'threat' became a laugh when a safety barricaded door supposedly opened from a monster relatively wide had nothing come through and was closed by a character without urgency. If sound design had been more immersive it may have sold the film more.

On the advice of his PC message from work, a cardboard suit cosplaying knight goes after a ghost in the Brooklyn bunker. Great work giving the singing a go but the diction could have used a lot more polish as I could barely understand what was being sung about for most of the film. Failed pizza joke through the mouthpiece was the best joke in this film. Questions of reframing the film almost came to mind due to the slightly surreal ending but then the filmmakers actually provided some clarity. Still not sure what really happened here, plotwise.

Rapper 'Lil Time' is documented and describes himself as being timeless, backed up by his producer, with an intercut concert performance mixing up proceedings. Rip Van Winkle would be proud of that sleeping and whilst this boastful film had a team behind it that knew how to utilise a camera the story was a bit simplistic and the extreme timeframe kind of came out of nowhere.

So, car dead in the middle of nowhere....yeah pretty subversive of the genre I'll give you that, although the fact I had to have a judge who had seen the film multiple times explain it to me means it kind of missed the genre mark quite badly, for mine. The reason is that yes the dead car drove the story by allowing some pretty raw self-examination and it coming back may have allowed the story to conclude but its RETURN from the dead never drove the story. This is probably just me though I'm fine if people disagree.
Script was really good, there were some moments that truly hit close to home and the editing was smooth allowing a well-paced story to develop about a couple heading to a wedding, where one of the parties was having doubts about their own relationship. The nice pacing allowed the film to breathe unlike a lot of other teams in this competition. I mean shit doesn't everyone worry about the future and doubt themselves at some point in their lives, in particular to big moments and decisions?? That was refreshing.
Other than my nagging about the genre I did note a couple of out of focus shots, and shaky camera inside the car when focused on the female lead. But those were minor technical gripes as you genuinely went out to the middle of nowhere where it was clearly windy and still managed to have pretty good audio.
Probably best to just ignore my star rating and focus on my positive comments; I'm just a stickler for genre and if the judges are on your side you're highly likely to make the Wellington final.

Sanctuary-set ensemble coming to terms with the apocalypse in a church, with some minor questions raised about faith compared to the world outside. I get a less is more approach but the nondescript church backgrounds with the characters standing around talking about the outside doom without any visualation created a bland film. Churches can be glorious so getting plain wooden boards behind characters for most of this was a bit of a bummer. I also appreciate the brave endeavour to try and utilise 5 or 6 actors and actresses but without a central protagonist the film simply lacked a clear narrative arc that would have helped proceedings immensely. A lot of the film was at least framed well, but there were a couple of shots out of focus and audio peak levels were variable.

A wild ride by Blue on Fish as a woman with only $7.57 in her bank account sets her eyes on a red honda accord through any means necessary, while the would be seller is only to happy to flirt along. The team did their best to subvert at every opportunity and also took the piss out of petrolheads which was entertaining in its own right. Technically well composed with just 1 or 2 lines out of synch towards the start of the film, the film was entertaining the audience well until the unfortunate cold blunt conclusion. Shame.

Set to a pulsing rhythm an expert thief plans his heist with meticulous detail when he learns that the royal jewels are going to be on display in a Wellington museum. Finely crafted with some top notch framing and precision, the intricate level of thought and detail put into the film were truly impressive. I really liked a lot of the ambiance in the film but yearned for more consistency of lighting as the shots that were heavily grainy took me out of the moment a little bit. The snapshots were also a bit low budget but played to good comedic effect. Also nice work on the end location! Lasers were gold.

Some really cool lighting on this film as a guy in a lab worked furiously to try and be able to reconnect with his long-lost photographer love any way he could. Wind on the soundtrack towards the beginning of the film was distracting, and the refrain from using dialogue and instead attempt to tell a detailed story through visual prompts did not really hit the mark for mine. We've seen quite a few time travel films where the concept is about making a past wrong right, and whilst it can hit deep if done right the editing here was a bit messy to the point that the message about what was happening became quite unclear.

A team with multiple former finalists among its members, good reviews so far and did well in audience voting but I must have watched a completely different film as when the credits rolled I had a "what happened here?" type reaction. The script simply did not make any sense to me. Summarised plot was a call centre worker had her apps come to sentient life with the parodies like dinkedin and skinder making her life more and more convulated at work, at home, and in her bed. I'm not sure if the team was trying their best to show stress for the lead to represent the thriller aspect of their genre, or to do their best to pay homage to BLACK MIRROR through black comedy, but to me it just came across as a bit frustrating. Generally well shot, and the lead actress did well with the material. The terms and conditions joke was good this just was not my cup of tea. Sorry.

Seemingly charming domestic house cat turns out to be fairly damn crass when given a voice by their loving owner inadvertently. Treaded the line between gross and introspective, almost a personal film at times, a couple of the jokes hit but I think I kind of missed the message here. As was said at the launch I'd encourage you to get out of your house for the shoot weekend!

A group who all badly miss their grandma think that a necromancer type with access to bringing souls back from other realms through a pentagon type seance is a good idea. Things of course don't go according to plan and so we get a hair metal bogan trying to adjust to modern life. Couple of nice touches of physical humour and a good grade to the film plus a nice comment on the frivolity of personal asset greed. However the story just never really became engaging due to unclear direction. Worked better as a back from the dead film than fish out of water (the actual genre) by a mile.

Yeah really good camerawork here involving a wide variety of shots that created tension and mood for the studying student struggling to focus but being stalked, unbeknownst to him. Really satisfying given how well the scholar was projected as a dickhead who didn't care much for library rules. Sound design was on point and editing was crisp. Short and sweet with a final shot that made me envious at your skills which is always a great sign. I noted a couple of camera shots early on that were slightly shaky but everything else was rock solid. Less is more in the best possible way.

So every single year there's a team that takes one of the required elements (rock, rope, insomnia in the past) and uses that as a mockumentary base for their storytelling. This year Kinda Fast But More Furious went with the 'Door Slamming' mockumentary approach. Funny at first as a previous door to door salesman explained clear motivation for wanting to catch illegal door slamming vigilantes, but the one-joke approach really did spread thin quite quickly leaving the second half of the film to drag. The out of focus shots were a downer for me although captured one of the best silhouettes in the whole competition through a glorious sunset shot. I'd say it was a nominee for that category if only the shot had added something to the film.

I get that the team did a full blown come back around arc approach but the story simply needed more depth given it was supposed to be 10 years+ and kind of just tickboxed that requirement.

So many talking heads as both the titular ghost and his uni hall colleagues were interviewed about how they felt re: a poltergeist living with them. The soundtrack had a lot of fluctuations and unfortunately was hindered by a clearly audible buzzing. Very talky with just a couple of physical humour jokes that the ghost angle could have played to a whole lot more. If you're going with the mockumentary angle I implore you to make sure your sound is on point and at least give the film some dynamism because the sit down talk approach gets old, fast.

Oh my I assumed this was time travel! Foreboding tone as a family man on a mission tried his hardest to make sure he got the formula right to not bump into himself in order to prevent impending doom. Nice glitch effects and well sold by the lead actor, though it did play a bit predictable. Sound was also watery for the first minute or so.

Someone hates tea! Hard sell of a Uni Tea Drinkers Anonymous group who all struggled to come to terms to their addiction to Early Grey and Dilmah, which was apparently the scourge of the earth and creating a reign of terror. Editing was a bit hit and miss here as significant passages of time passing were just represented with changes of clothes and whiteboard markings, although coming across both static and rushed at the same time. After most of the film was a sit down discussion of how bad tea was the anti-romcom element brought in at the last minute was probably the highlight of the film though a bit sad and harsh in tone. Ending was great, though.

Comedic exploration of addiction to pills through a heist angle with weird mix between staunch bodies in an industrial/warehouse backdrop and a dark turn done for laughs. The squeeky cleaning of the car provided entertainment although the story development was muddled. Casual in approach with surreal touches I think the addiction angle could have been pressed more as came across a bit throwaway despite being the main plot point. Editing could have also chopped a good deal out to focus on the storytelling.

A cleaner with a demanding boss and strict set of rules to abide decides he wants to do what he wants, with earth-shattering time travelling results. The device of choice for travel through time and space was an interesting choice with good payoff, the film felt like a good eff you to all the bad bosses out there. Variety of locations was impressive and most of the camera work was tight although I noticed some issues with movement early in the film and the contrast seemed overblown at times. Going big for scale gets point for me and the ancient warrior actually provided a haunting few moments of suspense. A clearer plot is what would have pushed this film higher. Spew was GROSS.

Impressive duo entry paying homage to late night b-grade horror sold on a fantastic film title or vhs cover. In this case we actually got a film within a film as the tape started and our tale of therianthropy unfolded. Curiousity was piqued throughout at each beat of the story, from bloody handed cereal eating, through terrible musician flatmate jokes right up to and including some wonderful z-grade transformation effects. A passionate lead performance with the 'fingers' shot getting a huge audience reaction. Didn't muck around and went for the jugular with what they had and I admire that. Sound was tinny, possibly deliberately.

Murphy's law for would-be romantics who try their absolute hardest to make things work despite dinner issues related to both fire and allergies, dropping coffee on important notes and being prone to danger of all kinds. This one had heart with the SAY ANYTHING joke a particular highlight, nervermind the shadow spoon choking (possible contender for best shadow?) and the leads had decent chemistry. I think the editing did need to be a bit tighter here as fell more into an anti-romcom for the most part, and the sound levels were at the point of hardly being able to hear dialogue.

After failing to check the back seat of a stolen car, a group of "hardened" criminals get more than they bargained for in the form of a clever young boy joining their gang. A decent script here playing well to the odd one out requirements of the genre, with a lowbrow homegrown attitude that was largely charming. Solid examination of tough external personas as well though perhaps could have played that angle a little more for more dramatic impact. Good use of the warehouse interior and ticked the ultra box by having the child as the clear lead. Sound however was a tad flat for me and whilst I really appreciated the subversion the majority of the film being sitting and talking or standing around (not all, mind) was what held it back a bit.

A girl who badly needs a friend in her life meets a monster, and from there examined the friendship through a pop ballad, hip hop number and jazz sax number. Unfortunately all the songs in the film had issues for mine and the tone was not enough to distract. The pop ballad whilst seemingly well sung was inaudible due to crackling, the hip hop song was hard to discern because whilst delivered with good flow it lacked diction, and then the jazz number seemed like the team were simply ensuring that they hit their predetermined goal of 3 distinctly different songs.

Please don't hate me there was some nice style to the film; the hip hop section in particular was colourful, fun and fast-paced.

However technically this film was on the backfoot from the getgo with the opening 30 seconds or so being particularly blurry, grainy or not well lit where it probably needed to be to establish the mood.

Looking to spice things up a bit in their sex life a couple call in help from what seemed to be a professional gigalo who looks like he is still stuck in a different time zone with white pants, completely unbuttoned shirt etc. Sex-mad and freaky horny he appears to be just the ticket they need to get things back on track despite hesitancy for help in the first place. I mean it was mum's idea after all! With a mixture of chocolate sauce and gooey fruit I thought this team were going for the subversion route of 'splatting' being just the messiness. Boy oh boy I was wrong. One of the most graphic films to grace the screens in Wellington's 48hours at least this got a massive audience reaction of groans and disgust. 2 things though that dragged this for me a little 1. Despite the huge audience reaction I cannot recall a single actual laugh when the blood came in and 2. the sound had issues in the whole first half of the film with significant discrepancies in audio levels and some hissing/buzzing on the track.

EDIT - forgot about the safeword joke. Bumped up a star. First half sound still a significant issue.

A heavily pregnant woman with dreams and aspirations for her unborn child to be strong, powerful and handsome decides to take a chance on a pamphlet found in a puddle that claims a witch can make her dreams come true. Pride can be a horrible sin though and if witches were real well deceptive traps would probably be there gateway I'm guessing. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about this one again as it was seriously chilling. Good sound, even better performances and oh my gosh that unrelentless jangling chanting soundtrack sounded like it came straight out of THE VVITCH. This would have been a shoe in for the Wellington final and nominations for best use of puddle and best use of prop, if not more. Real shame about the dq it was close to flawless.

Genuine contender for the overall top Wellington prize, as our lead came to grips with being dumped in an absolutely bravado dazzling display of emotional intensity, conveyed almost exclusively through movement and dance juxtaposed with a damaged soul, with music video quality shots cut in rendering feelings raw where required. The eyeball shots of crying in the rain for example. Just wow.

Also a shining example of making sure every single shot was tightly set up and played with just such absolute passion that I was in awe. Sound was perfect, with minimal dialogue other than the dumping and some very wise words of wisdom by people that matter the most in a young person's life. Even included actual high school footage where whoever was on art department duty had actually made an effort. I truly believed these adult actors were in their teens simply on the performances. Camera work on show was absolutely top notch there's very little negative I can think of to say about this film at all. Coming of age nailed? You betcha.

NCEA Level 3 Life Skills exam goes absolutely ballistic, in a balls to the wall display of craziness by this veteran team and it was all the better for it. Many scratch your head or blink your eye did I really just see that moments, as the exam produced some staggeringly ridiculous questions for the students to ponder. Almost all hilarious this film moved like a locomotive and when a question comes out that is worth 100 credits you know there's going to be effort made to obtain excellence! Really covered a lot of ground from spelling to toast to illuminati, and got quite dark and violent while still trying to keep some of the tender friendship elements in there that represent school. Largely raw technically with sound being haphazard but made up for by its energy.

A budget cereal eater struggling with his life takes a church pamphlet through no choice of his own, and then realises things are shit at the religious retreat he has been enticed to. The idea of a monster was only really suggested or hinted at with the wise old sage and the promise of a BLAIR WITCH potential creature on the horizon before a hilarious meta ether level burn for the actor who left halfway through the weekend, called out directly by this team as a meta joke ending. Taking the piss out of the elements was hilarious and I hope you enjoyed the massive laugh you got at the cinema, because you deserve it for that stunt. Sorry to hear about your actor quitting though!

A spokeswoman for Giggles with God provided the chorus to the fire story that proceeded on screen about a quest to make an amazing fire song. The need to ignite and not blow smoke by a would-be rapper was portrayed throughout the film, pushing the fire element and associated puns constantly. The second half of the film was where things came alive, as we got some solid hip hop beats and even better choreography and cinematography with the male hip hop afficionado not saying a word and yet signifying a change in direction for the film with a laid back vibe. The chorus element did give the film a bizarre appeal, and the spit puddle of blood got some strong audience reactions. My main gripe with the film was the unclear plotline.

At the Aro St video store an employee shows a penchant for being able to deal with tricky customers in some quite interesting ways, and this calm persona serves her well for friendships although not unfortunately for her health. Spanning across the change from vhs to dvd to blu-ray this played like the filmmakers wanted to show their love for the heart of Wellington home video (no issues for me, I'll always be a massive fan of Aro Video). The opening and closing acts of the film were strong, but a felt that the storyline got a little bit muddled in the middle and sound had a lot of issues, although having said that the conclusion was raw and touching.

What would you do if you could plead your case for a second chance at life? This went deep and as a father hit my touchy feely nerves in a big way. Impeccably framed throughout as a taxi driver picked up a passenger and took them for the probably final ride of their life. Nobody needed any baggage where they were going. It seemed like the route this was headed in was obvious 60 seconds into the film, but believe you me there was clearly a skilled hand behind this to pull the strings like it did. Just little touches here and there like keeping things interesting with framing inside the car, and creating dramatic mood with cuts to a look in the rearviewmirror that doubled as a look back onto the passenger and yet at the same time exploring predetermined destiny, this is a sure fire thing for the finals and a very good chance for nationals.

Oh man that opening shot of the record playing was majestic. Deeply crisply saturated black and white art just oozing out of the frame...only for the film to unfortunately fall really flat for me in terms of the actual plot. Murderous and cold dinner party with a heavily bound and gagged woman being talked at about God's will and armageddon, this explored a slice of the SE7EN concept but without really offering much new other than a much more questionable explanation for murder than John Doe ever did.

I'm pretty over violence against women in this competition :(

Ever seen the film IN MY SKIN? Well a papercut here and we're away laughing, or shuddering, or being transfixed to be honest as a couple quickly realise a joint fetish for flesh and bones, literally. A full on assault of smash cuts and biting but played with subtle precision by the leads despite what they had gotten themselves into. Gross at times but reflective on abusive relationships and a metaphor for knowing when to get out which was most impressive. Punchline absolutely killer, excuse the pun. Would have had higher marks with a bit more technical polish.

Scorned by his sisters that he will never win an Oscar that he dreams of and talks about to himself in the mirror, our young lead decides to get an Oscar any way he can. Now where's Peter Jackon's awards room when you need him? Quick witted and good ingenuity to sell the LOTR director himself as an angry hobbit, this subverted its genre well. Acting was particularly good by the young lead, and the ambitious plan made for a good heist fit. Fun and classic kiwi humour, but I think the film would have benefitted from just a tad more tension when the plan itself was put into action.

Spooked loudmouth armchair film critics show that paranoia and what they show you in the movies can escalate things very quickly when you find a hockey stick in an alleyway. The interplay between the 2 lead actors was really terrific, with a solid script and immersive character creation. Bit of a shame to go for the unexpected violence against a woman trope which has plagued the competition for years, although the timing of the comedy here was edited very soundly. As a comedy of errors this really was top notch as the splats kept on splatting, but giving the audience enough time to recover from their last bout of laughs before producing another unexpected gag. Good work on utilising both the CBD and the beach as distant locations can be a tall order. I just WISH you hadn't gone with the guitar beat from Elvis Costello Pump It Up/Rogue Trader Voodoo Child for your pivotal scene. Loses a whole point for that.

Struggling to come to terms with the passing of his girlfriend, a man thinks that there may be a link to the afterlife through his computer and some scientific wizardy that he has conducted. But his friends all think he's lost the plot and just needs a bit of comfort. Queue moodily lit graphics on screen, some decent fx and a slightly unexpected turn. I felt that this film needed to trim quite a bit of fat as there were extraneous shots before the film really started to get going, and a couple of lines of dialogue were out of synch. Overall enjoyable mood and tone though and a solid lead performance.

I might need to retrospectively go through films on this review site because the number of teams strongly influenced by HER is quite staggering this year (and ELECTRIC DREAMS but that's another story)

A family of genies and their company were documented dealing with a lack of wishes for people in the world in 2018. This played mostly as a one joke film with the team throwing every possible boner reference into the mix that they could think of. A lot hit the mark although when material became exhausted the film did hit a bit of a lull. The chicken jokes and development of genuine sympathy for the family did give the film a second act although the editing during the first half of the film was of a lot higher standard as the ending felt rushed and predictable. Having said that the first half of the film did have a few too many talking heads moments for my liking.

EDIT updated star rating to correct (for me) 3 stars. Sorry had the wrong (and probably appeared to be mean) 2 stars in here until I corrected myself.

Playing within their own absurdist rules, a bus stop kidnapping goes terribly awry and we got a whole lot of weird here. When I see awry I mean bonkers as someone who wanted to play house took things way too literally with human 'patients' and Sylvainin family toys although the film teetered on the brink of reality throughout. The sewn mouth provided a feeling of whatthefuckery but motivations for the collection of people was unclear and the third act whilst producing understandable escape desperation did not satisfactorily end proceedings.

An aspiring always-late student driver signs up for lessons with ulterior motives, but being unable to even go around the cone obstacle course means that his plans get a bit scuppered. A charm offensive and quick trip to the countryside though and he's away laughing. "Go big or go home" was the order of the day for this team, and whilst I massively appreciate the sprawling drone shots the jarring camera shifts did take me a little bit out of the moment. I also unfortunately got lost in the plot and what the revelatory trip to the countryside represented. Flashback to an event that had happened around 30 seconds prior in the film was also perhaps unnecessary and sound was up and down. My tip would be to focus on clearer storytelling as there was promise with a couple of good laughs.

What a good boy that dog was! Percival I think I saw on the credits? Managed to keep a very calm demeanour as all hell was breaking loose for his masters due an unexpected nasty terrorising the neighbourhood. Direction on this was really top notch and the team showed their experience in building suspense in such a short space of time, with money shots that celebrated the genre in the best possible way. Aware of tropes and yet subversive as domesticated bliss came under attack like an old sea monster film.

EDIT - Winnie! Not

Metaphorical self-examination that went pretty dark and deep about personal demons, through a mixture of poetry, singing, mushrooms, puppets and alcohol. I liked the strong arc for the lead who had solid screen presence. The film was well edited and shot although I'm not sure what happened with the windowboxing for the framing? Irrelevant though as was quickly drawn in. Really appreciated the big ideas and I know musical is tough, so thank you for the effort, the film would have rated much higher if the songs were better, for mine.

A former acting star who rode the coat tails of one catchphrase early in her career all the way to Hollywood returns to Raumati South for an interview to give back to her roots. The banana republic/fatigue/split joke was on point but a lot of the film was a sit-down interview that repeated information in different ways. I'm giving this one positive marks because of good camera work and your male interviewer was simply superb.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I genuinely don't think I have EVER laughed as much at a film in this competition. So so so very very good.

In this hypothetical future Dr. Huxtable himself may have died but that doesn't stop justice-seeking scientists from ensuring that his clones serve out his remaining sentence now does it? The blockheads were absolutely frigging genius, the generator/clone machine was mind boggling and the pacing was frenetic. I don't know if everyone will love this as much as I do because of not being quite technically perfect (the opening couple of shots were wobbly) but honestly fuck being technically perfect - if a film is this funny it doesn't matter and this film brought tears to me eyes from laughter! :D

Hilarious black comedy escapades in a survivalist's bunker who had hunkered down as soon as the Christchurch earthquakes hit. From the get go Outcasts established a strong impending tone of doom as the group almost walked into deadly nightshade, before having to weight up whether their apocalypse ready friend had lost her marbles or not. Said survivalist was delightfully manic and carried the film strongly, and to get a sense of the film the fact that Sharknadoes off the coast were believable to the group probably hits the nail on the head. Sure fire nominee for best use of puddle. Yuck.

When given the opportunity to break his curse through acquisition of a magic chalice from a dark lord, a muscle-bound warrior with legs the size of tree trunks laughs at the face of danger and heads off on his quest. Really strong acting performances by both leads, GOOD sound (thank you!!!) and some absolutely strikingly beautiful imagery this was a slice of sword and sorcery fantasy at its finest. This team had really fine control of their camera, giving the tavern where the quest was set an air of authenticity simply through tight framing and whilst vfx were minmal they were effective. The cave shot with the frozen figures and the fog was one of the best I've ever seen in 48Hours. Not wholly original but Albert Pyun would be proud. Shame about the dq!

After chore completion a mother and son bond over and inside a family photo book. Yep you heard right, and it was glorious! The comedic exaggeration of the mundane concept of cleaning was wonderfully done, and the bonding of mum and her child over several family memories was absolutely lovely. Strong acting performances and surreal when the keynote to the film took us on a literal trip. Jokes came thick and fast and hit for the most part, with just some minor audio levels being a bit out. Overall fresh, fun, colourful and highly imaginative.

Excellent voice acting for this ANIMAL FARM-inspired group who shared their nightmarish thoughts about what humans do to them, whilst the team threw in some high quality drone shots. Of course hearsay and rumour can be ghastly things especially when someone gives a barbaric recollection and another gives a version of events that is much more towards lighthearted family fun. The attitude conveyed by the vocal performance for the llamas was admirable, while the horse with the Scottish twang also had some high quality moments in the film. I like that this was not an ultra team and yet clearly inspired to work with animals anyway! The 'demon' dancing was haunting and the synching was fairly amazingly done all thing considered I just felt the story could have done with more of a dramatic arc.

Furious scribbling in the dark here because this was theoretically the only ever screening the public will ever get to see of this film, the 3rd masterpiece in 3 years by Tim Hamilton. Confident, self-aware, introspective but genius, comedic and engaging I am seriously in awe of this man's talent every year he enters the competition. So so sorry to hear about the dq.

Moving away from the meta make a film in 48 hours structure to a loving ode to his mother, DQ Tim went wild into the bush, far away from even the wop-wops and allowed the audience to share in his journey. The drone shots were simply staggering and gave the film a sense of scope that was far more than 1 man trying to make it back to civilization for mother's day after having 1 corona or 12 too many the night before. As the dire situation sunk in the required puddle this year was put to fantastic use to allow Tim/Tim to discuss himself and his mum in a way that was raw but charming and wholly unique; a message of love for yourself and your family that simply made my day. The river and plunge was glorious too. Thank you!

Technically amazing as always, this went quite deep on concepts of immortality and human nature vs technology with an open-ended approach that had the audience captivated. Serious nods to THE MATRIX but without any homage and a genuine attempt to do something different, with a dreamy yet sinister vibe to the whole proceedings. Those tunnel shots were truly something. Visual effects were also subtle but terrific and the script whilst minimalist kept an air of intrigue as to who the Morpheus-like overlord was and what he meant to our protagonist.
I'm expecting this in the Wellington final because the film as described above is very strong, but as an 'Ultra' film I'm seriously disappointed. Yes there's children and yes the events of the film kind of skirt/subvert that regarding the adult protagonist. I'll wait until others have seen the film to say any more.

EDIT = Film would have been a 6/7 if not for the Ultra shortcomings.

A hyper-sensitive to sound uni student learns to be careful what he wishes for, when his frustration with the world around him leads to his ears losing hearing for a day. Rather than seek any advice or help of course he just meanders around Wellington like Monsieu Hulot completely unaware of any danger that might be coming his way. The smash cuts you used were nicely done and there was a fast pace to proceedings however the plot was a bit thin for mine, and whilst it conveyed the idea of the film decently the audio mix was quite variable in quality. I'd also recommend to avoid potential copyright areas like "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (even though it was a cover and only 5-10 seconds of the song) or footage of BBC's Planet Earth...

Pot-bellied chain smoking 35 year old goes back to high school to become the champion of the school he always dreamed of being, with backing from his mother and a desperate principal. As though 21 JUMP STREET was starring a loser who lived at home and had such poor iq that being picked for the 1st xv was a non-issue for investigatory boards. I noticed quite a few technical issues here with the whole party being shot a bit out of focus, disruptive wind on the soundtrack more than once and some camera shots even cutting characters' heads. Handful of good laughs for the audience but what brought this down for me personally was the talking heads component of the film.

Safety protocols and high-vis vests will never be the same following this high quality incredibly strange monster movie by Daniel Cook's team where things quickly went awry for the new team put through their paces. The smug benefactor boss was played with aplomb, and your tongue-like slug monster effects really hit the mark for me. Lo-fi as fuck but very well shot and cut with a snappy ferocity to the proceedings. Jokes really hit the mark and me even mentioning the cat footage as questionable probably means you succeeded in what you set out to achieve. Disturbing and hilarious in my book.

A girl desperate to escape from "The Buzzing" that fills her head with painfully high-pitched sounds sings here about her inner struggle and provided good exposition for the end of the world events. The team worked around their budget with some nice shots to establish a sparse world at the brink. Your lead actress also had a really nice voice and props for giving it a go. The high-pitched sounds were mixed to the point I had to hold my ears and not sure whether that was intentional, but if I was feeling what the girl was feeling then that's pretty meta. It seemed this team was a good size so I'd encourage you to use more people to act next time.

Made the case that what we do as a child affects us as an adult, where young Call of Duty fan Taylor ended up in the military. However also introverted the expectation of dealing with battling parents when push came to shove which was a nice touch. Breaking the 4th wall was a nice touch also and your young lead carried the film well. I do wish that the cuts between footage that had music to the different time zone with only camera sound had been a bit smoother as it took me out of the moment.

Challenging expose of a doomsday worker and his introspective analysis of the afterlife. The script crammed a lot into this one with jokes about superannuation, HR and collective agreements, with weird segue-ways thrown in at random moments. Production design also went all out here with well-produced pamphlets and a genuine attempt to show a fully fleshed out world. However most of the film was static sitting and talking in an office, there were several instances of framing missing the 50/50 line, sound peaking varied considerably and whilst the concepts were ambitious the storyline was unclear.

Following a plague striking almost everyone off the face of the earth this film followed the somber journey of 2 best friend scavengers one of whom badly needed medicine to stay alive. Desaturated and muted in feeling this was an intimate affair and held the audience's attention strongly. The coughing of blood was impressive and the film was well paced with a good camera eye for framing, although lighting at times was hit and miss.

At first I thought the description of the outside concrete cityscape of buildings as 'beautiful' was a rookie mistake but with a quick rabbit hole approach the dark comedy here was well acted as 2 lovers argued about everything imaginable.
Decently shot with the bland sterile apartment utilised as a strong plot device, this team went with a kitchen sink approach to subvert everything they could possible think of regarding romcoms. A few lines were dubbed out of synch and whilst there was a clear beginning to end structure some of the tonal shifts whilst funny were a bit jarring.

Lo-fi FRANKENSTEIN in reverse where our lead was prone to dismemberment and re-attachment of missing limbs was at the top of his list in life, at any cost. Very much embodied the BAD TASTE guerilla approach that inspired the genre with a commanding performance by the man with missing limbs. Exceedingly poor though to show your computer screen having "EZTV Torrents" links, but I'll forgive you for the entertainment and also having fucking amazing songs. Can only wonder what would have happened if you got musical!

Ambitious concept of smartphone technology both controlling our lives more than we realise, but also exploring the concept that it can serve a not-so-positive purpose. Debonair businessman was the perfect folley for this setup and we saw the effects on his professional and personal life. I liked the ideas but the storyline got a bit muddled when the antagonist was introduced.

Ok so I'm literally one of the biggest fans of 'Streets of Rage' that you'll ever meet so when that logo came up I was hooked from the get go. The beat em' up guy who wishes he no longer has to clean up the streets, well wishes are meant to be granted in this genre right but before you know it this has gone on a massive left turn, right turn and then slapped you in the face when it comes to your expectations. Retro aesthetic was clean and simple but perfect for your switch fighter. Hilarious. Voice acting soooo good!!!

Like if everyone in the world got stopped by CLOCKSTOPPERS but the one person not frozen is incredibly clueless. This idea had potential but the sound mix had a lot of issues and several shots were out of focus, whilst the general premise did not really progress further than making us question if we were supposed to feel sympathy for the lead that they were the last person alive. Punching an alarm clock at least got a good laugh out of me.

Mostly shot as vertical cinema from a phone POV/found footage approach as freshly turned 18 year old lads venture into town for the first time on the prowl. Very naturalistic in approach it seemed like the script came from a very familiar place. Sure looked like real vomit here too...Champagne popping, uber driving and courtenay place. Well done day-after repercussions that almost reframed the previous events but the verite approach once the drinking started simply felt too much like a low budget Project X in my opinion.

BODY HORROR! Thank you! Leisurely Sunday drives have never been more creepy especially when they include alluring mystical horrifying boxes at riverbeds and perhaps the creepiest creature I've seen in 48Hours. Shudder. Big audience reaction and deservedly so. Fine example of less is more.

Talk-singing angel pursued the woman of his dreams after coming to earth and proclaiming his story was his musical. A couple of nice burns by the female lead it was a shame about the tech issues with the warp stabilizing needs fixing messages in the first half of the film. Musical can be tough but I appreciate that you went all in with what you had.

Yeah I'm not going to be down on this one as was infectious in its positivity despite some technical holdups in terms of editing and sound where unfortunately wind was on a lot of the track. A fashion retreat in the woods allowed 3 epic micro fashionista biopics that had big ideas about country vs city and, fashion as a deep concept and finding individual identity.

Last call for alcohol in the land of the dead where drinks are on the house at the bar for the recently deceased. Forelorn in nature and contemplative although also had some fairly dark comedy. Gains a star for hugely entertaining meta credits.

Genuinely batshit insane. I saw the title and was expecting something inspired by the old Tim Curry sci fi show from the 90s and instead got a hilarious romp through the last day on earth in Wainui. Boy oh boy this team was out to entertain. A lot of jokes missed but several of them hit such as the meteor spotted out the window with a "nope!" response. The fight to be the last survivor on the last rocketship anyone would realistically want to stake their life on was mind boggling stuff, from the blunt gun death through to jenken. But the Prince of Wainui....just wow - not sure if incredibly strange or best worst is still a thing but you guys are up for my award this year at least. Sound was unfortunately very raw.

With Y2K fast approaching, love comes in the most unlikely of places, a party in 1999 where our lead falls for Sally...a laptop. Slow motion puddle in this was fantastic and the actor was so good it was a borderline genuine romcom for mine. But then the premise is so ridiculous that is certainly fits outside the box as required. Solidly framed throughout with just minor lighting blemishes and a couple of bad misses on the 50/50 line. I was there on the waterfront when the millenium came around and this honestly captured the mood extremely well, right down to the laptop and (separate) keyboard actually being from the era. Loved the understanding grandmother and some high quality shots of Wellington. Wouldn't be surprised if this makes the shortlist.

A pizza delivery goes very very wrong as the delivery person and HQ get their wires quite seriously mixed up. This has nice interplay between the 2 leads, a good sense of anticipation due to nice editing and initial dialogue but I felt the ending was quite abrupt. I also feel like the film effectively got Acts 1 and 2 of a short heist film but failed to deliver Act 3 by going for the quick comedic payoff that played a little predictable.

A time travelling guide explained the mechanations of time travel in particular the idea of challenging tragedy. The set design was of particularly high quality and the lead actor who played 'Cronos' had watchable creepy screen presence. The negative marks for mine were an over-reliance on exposition because there was definitely some promise to explore the doors of time. Nice ending, mind.

Unfortunately disqualified as this got a lot of laffs however for mine whilst a completely different genre that was tonally an incredibly similar film to Typhoids film last year. I'll also continue to call out talking heads as a lazy filmmaking technique as I have for 12 years in this competition. But I'm gasbagging; the film's title basically told you everything you needed to know about what would follow for 5 minutes as 3 contestants showed their best murderous skills to become NZ's next top slasher. A sinister clown, morbid poison expert and incredibly loose "Gary from Gore" being the entrants. Psychopathic judges played the material well with deadpan delivery (the rabid Hannibal Lecter inspired judge the absolute highlight of the film) but I wish Carter Nixon acted every year because his presence was sorely missed.

Dreams are a powerful force and this hazy rumination on love through what happens when we sleep explored to mine the idea of souls quite well. My main issue with the film is that it never clearly seemed that the star-crossed protagonists were ever lovers to begin with, and if my interpretation of the film is correct then I would have really liked to have seen that explored more. Some beautiful shots but the overambition created some confusion.

Now here we go, genuine contender this one as our lead struggled to make his way to his party destination in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.

Of course he also happens to be alone in his car with only an Alexa-type phone for company...

Seriously awesome sound design in this film, barely an ounce of fat to it, sublime camerawork and a lead performance by Jordan Rivers that is going to take some beating to stop him taking out the top Wellington award. Hints of CHRISTINE, IN FEAR, 2001 and KNIGHT RIDER but absolutely it's own beast and all the better for it. I mean jeepers creepers this was a thriller and it actually gave me goosebumps at a certain key dramatic point! I've been impressed by Stock Standard's continuing maturity in this competition and this is their most sublime effort yet. Just shy of 7 stars but that may change after the Wellington final.

Drinking goon must mean you're wishing for something better in life, right? Clever concept and very kiwi in its audience side splitting humour, the genie in particular had very strong screen presence in this one. Solid subversion of the whole concept of genies and wishes with the idea of what if the genie didn't always get the wish right? Vegas joke was hilarious and the film had an electric pace to it. Churr bro in tone but with a sinister underlying, a significant improvement for Skooterman Pictures. Well done.

So many fish puns and a great comedic use of a puddle - I hope the guy who took the fall got some just reward! Basically an out of town tech-savvy cousin came and struggled to fit in with his athletic relations. Some tightening of the story and use of more dynamic camera angles (almost everything was wide to super wide) would have been of immense benefit however the tennis court ball barrage was gold. Also I saw in the credits a mention that the version of the Happy Days theme song you used was royalty/commercial free and I think you've missed the mark there.

The lifeless life of a very unshaven NCEA candidate is given meaning when they get a camera. I think I could see what the team were trying to do by stripping backgrounds of imagery to represent the drab world of school, but the visual storytelling to show the journey of the lead and his life improving through photography lacked impact. I think if dialogue had been utilised some of the concepts the team were trying to convey may have come across more soundly because the film's narrative arc did fall a bit flat.

I assume that this team has never seen 'Gunther and Me' by Prime Rib but I'll let that slide as addressing lonerism with a best friend monster in the closet metaphor is a solid storyline concept though highly unorginal. Having said that this team were all in on having a friendly Seasame Street vibe with playground adventures and bonding. Payoff was gold too and drew a big smile for utilising the $2 budget they had for a monster paw as an asset rather than any sort of hindrance.

Domestic more like domestic hiss here as kitchen and career frustrations bore brunt to multiple deaths for and returns to the land of the living for a video game industry bum. Lighthearted with several well used puns although a couple of punchlines fell slightly awkwardly with the audience. Death by vacuum was probably the highlight. The reason for coming back from the dead did seem a bit unclear and I was not quite sure if the team were trying to blur the idea of fantasy vs reality. Kind of a moot point though as keeping the mystery for why someone comes 'back from the dead' has its value. Entertaining, but clear cohesion on the story was not quite there for mine.

Comparisons to Love.exe by Bork! are going to be close to instantaneous to anyone with a knowledge of this competition, but they would be unfair. What Empty Cup have done through simple geometric CG animation, and I say that like it's nothing when it's most definitely not, is to create a fully fleshed out world within the confines of robot prison defined solely by bot-shape, and progressed through incredibly subtle movements for emotion and exceptionally strong sound elements.

I'll need to watch this again but not often has so much been done with so little in 48Hours. Is there an afterlife or ethereal limbo for robots? Are these even robots or is there a soul component? Why are they in prison? What is the puddle at the start? Left me wanting more in the best possible way and probably a strong contender for the best Wellington solo/duo award, at least.

"Davey's Dump! Davey's Dump! Davey's Dump!".....aaarrrghhh! EFF YOU couch kumaras for making one of the catchiest 48hours songs of all time! I kid of course, in all honesty this operatic eco warrior love train splatters you in all the best possible ways. I was thinking to myself earlier tonight that I wished you had done more than one song, but then I gave it a second thought and nah there's enough layered melodies, breakdown verses and bravado professional level singing here to put most other teams in the competition to shame. What I particularly liked about the film was the sense of urgency, coming in late to a fully fleshed out centre for rubbish, and giving the audience just what they needed in the alloted 5 minutes. Some purile jokes and very cleverly disguised lyrics meant that the anti-romcom component was well covered. See you at the finals. Again :)

Frigging heck Blowfish make amazing films. Did not check my watch but this must have barely clocked in over 60 seconds. The only problem is that this creates an almost blink and you miss it approach, most definitely leaving me wanting more. Will the beautiful utopian/dystopian sci film covering vast cityscapes and barren wastelands but for arguably moments be seen the same way by the judges or is there enough here to progress further? Only time will tell.

[DQ] Not sure of the name of the film here but the adventures of the murderous Hattie Hatpin from Toyhead Collective continued again this year. Animation was a lot better than previously and I adored the fact that you basically went big or went home (very sorry to hear you were late), with world domination on the agenda starting with a DESPCIBLE ME style fraternity of evil. Given it's the last day on earth it would be time for a Monty Pythong inspired shark submarine, wouldn't it? I would have given this one higher marks if the last day on earth aspect had been more to the forefront of the film, but really do admire the improvements made by the team, and while murderous the satyrical destruction of the oppressive male patriarchy made me grin.

A Baywatch-loving Chinese exchange student in New Zealand uses his Kiwi friend/former penpal to try and win the girl of his dreams/obsessions. Energetic lead performance conveying the confidence we'd expect from the underdog in a romcom, creating a strong setup for the "anti" part here. The audience definitely liked this one however I'd just be careful about using things that are probably not ok copyright-wise (karaoke videos in the background and the song from F.R.I.E.N.D.S even in another language probably not ok)

The story of sperm on their voyage to the egg re-framed into a world of surreal chaos where all swimmers had articulate personalities and traits necessary to help with the 'heist'. All the genre tropes were covered with plans laid out and unexpected obstacles doing their utmost to prevent a pregnancy. The double step-back on FANTASTIC VOYAGE was pretty choice if you ask me. Diction/audio mix was not always great but I thought this was overall original and fresh.

Seemed like a Groundhog Day concept of stopping a flatmate getting murdered with greater opportunity at every wakeup, but the team then made a valiant effort to try and splice up the seemingly straightforward loop like TRIANGLE did so effectively all those years ago. I hate to be a spoiler but the main problem is that what I've described effectively is almost the whole film. You had some great angles and sound effects were timed very nicely but at other times the lighting was terribly grainy or non-existent which took me out of my suspension of disbelief. I just wish there was more meat to the story.

Topical splatire about the Wellington renters markets; tenants desperate to get a house at any means necessary, then go even further to get the rent price to go down when they remember they're not millionaires. Silly as anything bringing to mind a Three Stooges sensibility (only 2 actors here though) I liked the commitment to corniness and the payoff put my heart in a blender, so to say. Good laughs but the audio was poor in large stretches.

New relationship energy is a very real thing. It's exciting to meet somebody new and this team captured that really well with infectious positive attitude despite the tough genre. Star-crossed? Yeah sure, although the roadblock of the whinging girlfriend here was more like a road cone ready to be stolen on a drunken bender. Nevertheless big laughs in the heat and a whole lot of promise. Better audio next time and a tighter storyline that mixes up tropes will have you going places.

By the way so remember how we said don't shoot in your apartment/have shots of people making food? Well yeah the Cheerios bowl the size of a human head and comedic payoff here was well worth these guys saying whatever and running with it.

Following a very recent family death, a birthday cake complete with candle is presented. "Make a wish" and the rest is history. Although of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and so oneiric J-Horror makeup and backyard burials become the order of the day much to the chagrin of our protagonist. Strong screen presence from the lead actress given very little dialogue, and engaging audio ambiance this was very much a foreboding folktale that I imagine would affect anyone who has lost somebody close to them. The only thing is that I swear I've read this exact folk-tale/ghost story previously.

Holy fuck guys that editing was SIIIICK. Drug-addled shroom-tripping via MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE. Meta commentary on the fungus among us? Just a scribbled note I had. But yeah visually a masterpiece for most of the film, cult in tone as the spoils of a forbidden treasure of shrooms were enjoyed by a select few. Nightmarish, glorious, neon but ghostly my mouth was agape at the literal trip back through the door post-pill ingestion. Also noted that it was a comment that what goes around comes around. It's rare to be taken on such a voyage in this comp. Slightly more of a story and you'd get full marks from me.

EDIT - hey as Wellington finalists you should probably take this down from the screening room in case you get in the grand final :)

So very verite, permutations and observations on high school life abounding. Played like a trip down memory lane and the comments and concepts of youthful love were quite touching ideals, replicating the high school experience well. However technically held back in a few areas with a muddy sound-mix making observations quite difficult, and focus being lost on the shaky black and white imagery regularly. Solid use of shadow puppets as well but a focus on storytelling with some sort of dramatic arc would have helped this film I feel.

Glad to see another fan of A QUIET PLACE. Eery and with solid sound-design this team worked around their budget limitations to make a terse yet tense low budget high school escape from a monster tale. Props for the commitment to selling the monster on growls and shaking, though for mine it is a hard sell of the genre without any creature visualisation.

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Pretty much perfect. Goosebumps on the skin and not a moment of fat to the storytelling. Incredible sound mix, foreboding and gripping unique original vision. Touche.

My apologies for the late review but the calling out of judges not appreciating subversion by a bunch of 7 star reviews for this film did not go unnoticed.

Over half the film was spent on speed dating where attempts at insightful comical humour were made however to me the self depreciation of the average kiwi male did feel rather cliched. I'm a huge fan of Takashi Miike's fan AUDITION (in other words I'm a huge fan of slow burning horror) and so whilst dating has been massively overdone in 48 I still did like the ability to hold the frame during the dates.

Building to a cold drab murderous mean spirited factory/warehouse conclusion was not unexpected unfortunately. There was a fine musical score in the 2nd half of the film however the plot development in terms of any story was for me a massive problem. Acting fine, technically fine in particular camerawork. Shit even editing was fine but at the end of the day there was a story that to me personally was simply not engaging.

What I liked about this film: excellent audio, steady camerawork and the moments where the 'lovers' were genuinely on the run (well into the 2nd half of the film) such as the car chase vs the gang of EYES WIDE SHUT masked assailants featured really strong cinematography.
I did find that the script felt a bit stilted however and whilst I would never expect or want people to replicate BADLANDS/BONNIE & CYLDE/WILD AT HEART etc I was surprised with the narrative arc taken. I liked the subversion attempt but struggled because I personally felt there was only really one lover on the run - the pet to me didn't really count (and yes I did see it noted in the film that pets provide love and companionship - it still didn't make her dog her lover in this film)

Heavily saturated subtitled peacocking kung fu love quest. Acknowledged the sappy but kept the film wuxia where they could. Populist humour produced the best laughs here eg pop culture references and bad dubbing, as the send ups/nods to HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS and ZU WARRIORS OF MAGIC MOUNTAIN were quirky but for mine a bit ambitious. Certainly memorable but pacing a slight concern as did follow largely the same angle throughout.

A genuine race against the clock to save a perfect first date when a bathroom break doesn't go quite as planned. My goodness me this was an urgent film, never boring for a second with flash cuts, split screens, blockbuster camera movement and a pulse-pounding score. Really threw all the editing tricks in the book at the screen and stood out for the better because of it. Comedic timing was bang on and to me an absolutely charming film with terrific acting performances but at the end of the day your enjoyment of the film will hinge on how much you enjoy toilet humour.

With a strong dystopian foundation laid out (animation was a massive advantage to be able to show a decrepit Wellington) this morbid and charming effort by Lovely Bongo Drums brought a smile to my face from ear to ear. Felt like what Tex Avery would have done if he had access to flash software back in the day. Also reminded me of Courage the Cowardly Dog but instead of terrified protagonist the lone survivor eternal optimist welcomed their new friend, even if said new friend is a death-bringing leper/ghost type creature. Oh and I can't forget the fan-service to your own 48hours films - love it! ps those long lasting cans = puuuuke hahaha.

Incredibly strange MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE piss-take that had me chortling from laughter at its over the top melodrama. I also noted an absolutely stupidly good rack focus here; shame there's actually no award for that requirement in 2016. The deliberate dim-wittedness and clever winks to the Wellington coast line made this an enjoyable short. Loved the ridiculous subversion and know that short films are your guys' 'thing' but a little more substance would have made it even more awesome.

From a camera's POV; Film within a film for 60 seconds before coming off the tripod at running/car speed leading to the titular punchline. I can see some potentially giving a pass card to the camerawork given the plot development and there was a great use of the wool prop but I personally struggled to stay engaged; the car seat lost it for me.

Is our destination really the stars, a road trip with some bros or a quick stop at the dairy for a meat pie (no potato top of course)? ICW asks the hard questions with an existential effort that is simplistic on the outside but earth core deep on the inside. Subtitles for general grunts have worked well in the past in this competition with a famous former winner coming to mind, but here the translations play a bit differently than feral instinct. The irony and self-awareness to explore masculinity in such a simplistic yet fascinating manner that 'Bro' does has already got me coming back to re-watch multiple times and it definitely works very well on repeat viewings.

Also technically hard to fault; car-based films can be tricky for keeping momentum but that was managed with aplomb, camera angles were engaging and sound crisp...and Gavin Rutherford steals the whole fucking movie - whew!

'Interdimensional Wool Courier' says it all doesn't it? especially when that story is told in psychedelic hues of blue, purple and yellow with such artistic brilliance that any frame could be a painting.

My understanding of this film was that Arlo Edwards simply said "I'm going to have a lot of fun and throw a shitload of effects at the film" on the 48Hours weekend. Mission not just completed but the trippiest film the competition has ever seen may well have been created. Sometimes films are just about feeling and this one hit me with all sorts of warm fuzziness. Yet whilst you could just sit back and be gobsmacked in the eyeballs the film works on many levels. Yes it speaks of the futile nature of human existence being on only one dimension. Yes it gives the impression that forced harvesting for whatever reason is distressing to the animals...I may be reaching on that one. Surreal, oneiric, futuristic absurd cartoonish sci-fi that quite literally pulsates with a plot that to me seemed very open to interpretation. Very special, thank you.

Weekend at Bernies 3: Bad Taste. Hard to be more succinct than that as a group of home-owning friends ignore their recently deceased friend (I'm assuming this team are a fan of WORLD's GREATEST DAD) to present their lovely home to a potential buyer and real estate agent. Well, not ignore but string up as a human puppet for a series of physical humour jokes. Black comedy can be very hit and miss especially in 48Hours however using visual gags not just dialogue can well be to your advantage. I noted very very few shots in the film and whilst it created a madcap THREE STOOGES tone to some of the film as the corpse had to be quickly moved around I personally felt it made the film quite disjointed.

Stoner crook punks joke about LG and grab what they can leading to an awkward heist of an urn. Solid interplay between the two lead actors but to me they came across as slackers more than anything.
Technically solid directing with some unusual but interesting camera choices however sound could have been more clean.

Moments of artistic genius when the rhythm of the film matched the synthetic EDM playing in the second half of the film. However I personally found this incredibly frustrating to watch as the whole film plays out through heavy duty strobing with 3 or 4 images/videos showing at nearly all times throughout the film. Appeared to be quite a few memes and inside jokes but I found the plot indecipherable and I have watched 4 times now. Definitely a team with talent but would have been a stronger film if had held back a bit to allow the plot to come through.

Like the best horror films, creates its own lore with a sinister Painter comparable in many ways to Fulci's book of Eibon in THE BEYOND (but could not be more different than that masterpiece by Italy's Godfather of Gore). Seemingly simplistic vfx but really not given made over a single weekend those eyes will haunt me whenever I look back at the film.

Possession? Haunting? Curse? Hard to say but a bloody fun time - pun intended as Nova Waretini-Hewison gives another star turn aided by a Linda Blair-like demonic voice. Shocking stabbings, a shrillseeking fantastic music score and the catchiest little song you will hear this year round off this little outside the box beauty.

"A L I V E - so good to be!"

See now this is how you subvert dystopian but still keep well within your genre. After a start that felt like a Captain Exposition joke (but carried by the oh so most wonderful bubby electronic score) covering the resistance movement against the government machine the film settled into a classic kiwi comedic look at taking down the system armed with a 2 person rising and a very thoughtful getaway driver. Strong mis-en-scene throughout I felt the team here played to their strengths of good actors, solid camerawork/editing and particularly good music.

Suicide cult/pact gone wrong that honestly played more like a comedy of errors (arguably even one location as almost exclusively set in a car) than a cat and mouse film however there were some points to the film that I particularly liked. For one I'm a big fan of taking films off the beaten track as abandoned roads and morbid plotlines are often a fascinating mix. Decent black comedy in particular the lines with anti-freeze were humorous however I feel the team swayed quite far away from the genre to the point where I am struggling a little to id the cat and mouse elements. Loved the intro!

Not just good lighting - absolutely EXCEPTIONAL lighting in this film; I'd be genuinely interested in what tips and tricks were used to keep every image crystal clear in an old abandoned ghosthouse. Thank goodness someone in Wellington went bechdel and passed the test with flying colours!

Centred on an exceptional turn by Iris Henderson the team turned nancy drew on her head with a film heavy on dark spooky atmosphere but with a fun bent. Ouji boards and Stranger Things are indeed a little overdone at the moment but who can ignore a dead cat with something to say? Some great one-liners and whilst your lead actress stood out the rest of the crew also had solid screen presence. I did note a couple of audio spikes in the mix however it did not detract from the overall enjoyable film at all.

Genuinely chilling minimalist but still incredibly tight film set in the back of a van. The steadiness of film-making prowess behind the film is very impressive as a planned heist/holdup wears its influences firmly on its sleeve (most obvious to me being Michael Mann and QT a given because of the suits) driven by a yes dialogue heavy but very high quality script.

Also keeps it very real in terms of character motivation, essentially asking the question of whether you could dance with the devil in the pale moonlight with a powerful resolution. One of the key reasons I particularly loved this film was the restraint and pacing being so spot on. I made a grave error publicly saying this team had poor sound which I apologise for - the sound issues that I personally had were what I found to be a very quiet mix for the dialogue. Some of the actual sound design (boot slamming, rain folley etc) was exceptional.

Genuinely jawdropping 3d animation the likes of which I have never seen before in 48Hours, this absolutely fucking amazing film plays like something you would showreel to Pixar and get hired for on the spot. However it was done I don't really care it instantly reached the absolute upper all time echelon of this competition, and did so without a word being spoken by the characters. Move aside Charlotte by the Linemen (2009 National Champion); there is a new best animated 48hours film for all to marvel over.

Effectively inspired by WALL-E, WALKABOUT and the video game JOURNEY the film represents the quest for love that is in all of us; big or small, short or tall, robot or tumbleweed. It could have also fit into dystopian given the vast abandoned desert which may seem some instantly lumping it with Andrew Stanton's film. However the film-making rhythms and beats are so pitch perfect across the less than 4 minute run time that you realise this really is about the search for embrace rather than just for friendship. Beautiful, quirky, charming, melancholic and touching with a spine tingling score that seems to go from Clint Mansell sonics to Thomas Newman delicacy in the blink of an eye. Nevermind the incredible sound design!

This might be a huge call but this is possibly the best 48Hours film I have ever seen.

MARRIAGE GROUNDHOG DAY where our hard drinking lead is in a ferocious battle with his mother in law, and to be fair, his own comedic mistakes. Whilst the would be mother of the bride does not approve of the leisure centre manager he discovers an ability to turn back time to the aftermath of his bachelor party through a simple phrase. Excellent star turn by the lead actor and a real vibrancy to the proceedings however a bit rough around the edges at times and final payoff not quite as rewarding as had hoped.

Oh come one everyone this was not a 1 or 2 star film you mean pricks!

Sian Reynolds as a socially awkward girl falls for a socially awkward boy the only problem is that their connection is through the puppets that live on their hands and he still struggles to see her. This explored the concept of being an introvert very well, and I thought the inclusion of the puppets to allow the characters to be someone who they were actually not was a clever idea as well, because extreme introverts often look to their outward appearance for more bravery. I feel the ending of this film was a bit heavy handed and mean spirited however also felt that camerawork was very solid. The sound design had moments where it was unclear who was talking due to not using separated channels for the puppets but there was definitely promise in this film that was just slightly unfulfilled.

I really really love the way that you presented the bedroom scene here; honest, raw, believable and most of all showing that the characters in the three-way genuinely cared about consent and what the other people in the bedroom liked. If more people could present sex like this society would be better as a whole. The converging storyline with the drumming lesson down below gave the film its heartbeat and whilst low key was endearing. I do think the dramatic arcs could potentially have come together but on the other hand this was a 5 minute slice and that plot would be better suited for a longer film so was not needed. Great performances and definitely a film that stays with you.

Anarchist cyberpunks who believe only a true state of anarchy is achieved when removed from the system set out to rage against the (library fine) machine. The D.I.C.K.S are presented with a hellbent determination to take down anyone deemed a fascist or conformist and Puppyguts produced a really good looking short film here. Really went with the idea of punk ideology of being anti-rules and ran with it, with a particularly strong performance by the woman with the nose piercing as she showed vitriol and spitfire like a true punk. I do think the story could have been a bit more streamlined as we moved from live gig to group formation to multiple botched kidnappings to a techno thriller. Also was a key plot point not that a certain action needed to be done by 4pm and completed in an office that showed dark night time through the windows? If I have that wrong I apologise. Overall really presented a punk ethos well and was very well made. Points also for Reagan's disguise!

Darkly comic or a malignant bent? It was hard to tell but did have some fantastic moments as a young couple trekked through a hospital to find dad for what they think will be a strong comic punchline. The receptionist misdirection set the scene and the cameo was hilarious. This team has been guilty of average sound in the past but was crystal clear here which was pleasing with fine craft displayed behind the scenes, paying close attention to minor details such as using real hospital bandages. I really liked how open ended this was with unclear motivation - financial, revenge and just wanting to meet the guy all occurred to me as possibilities. If I could give a 5.5 out of 7 I would.

As a fellow DnD player in a past lifetime I think I get what you were trying to achieve which was the fact that the game is about being taken off to other worlds whilst being located within one room. However the playing party each making different choices about what to do such as an intelligence test or search for traps missed the mark a bit by failing to produce any clear narrative arc. The montage at the end showed promise that it might lead onto something more engaging but then the film ended without having really got started. Whilst this was a difficult genre it was also supposed to be mapped up with any one of the other 14 genres and had you done so I think you would have had a better starting point.

I was pretty sad to see no Cinema in Decline entry for 2016 but was thrilled to see Alex Greig turn up on screen, in this star turn as a detective for a team that I was very much rooting for given the backstory. To mine you handed in a really good film so well done Petra!

Onto the film which was an investigation into a slain star-crossed lover. I understand going for the hard-boiled look via shooting in black and white but as the contrast was not really strong or shadows/lighting utilised this could just as easily have retained colour. The stitching together of the clues was well done, and the collection of Greeks named C/Kostas were particularly entertaining. Whilst a tad predictable the touches of melodrama were nice and this film probably had my favourite use of the required line so far in the competition "KISS ME AGAIN!..."

Easily Nutbar's best 48Hours film I was impressed by the significant improvements made by the team to produce this 2016 entry. Relaying the dark thoughts of meandering office existence that I am sure many people have thought, a magical toy troll sets the scene for a frantic explosive low budget gore finale. Practical effects were worked well and the wild (but very well handled) camerawork was reminiscent of early Sam Raimi. Playful and funny but still disturbing at times nothing was left on the table - the spaghetti brains made it to the microwave!

Fucking amazing meta puppet film. Made me giddy.

3 October - as a judge I am so so so sad this was DQ and hence not in finals despite the almost unanimously deserved 7/7s. Sigh :(

A tricky one for me as the story arc felt very much like a utopia that became unsettled but I would have found it hard to classify the film as dystopian in terms of genre. After getting that out of the way, I found this a playful film that quite literally speaks for the inner child in all of us. I mean, I know for sure that I pitched a blanket fort in my lounge every weekend. The wide ranging ensemble of characters allowed for some great humour especially the mum jokes. Well edited like always by this team and utilised a soundtrack that strongly evoked Tangerine Dream for the better. It's just my 2c but I wish a genuine dystopian tent had been explored here.

EDIT - initial review up there by me missed the mark. Obviously escaping from a dystopian reality into this fort. Bumped a star to reflect.

Absolutely GORGEOUS film, with my friend sitting next to me commenting that a couple of shots could be framed as photos. Spot on camerawork as well. I will be re-watching this as have been told by the team that sound at the Paramount was overblown resulting in dialogue not being as clear as it should have been. Essentially a dark retelling of the Goldilocks/3 Bears story with an ambitious attempt to look at the psychology of the girl. I feel that this was a film directed with a very sure hand behind the scenes, but was slightly thrown by the very young actress smoking a cigarette. Minor as I understand it was showing her being from the bad side of the tracks. The deeply saturated black and white photography of the film provided a classic Sam Fuller look to the film and to me worked well as a metaphor contrasting the reality of the goldilocks story and the fairy tale. Due to the reliance on narration it did make it a little hard to follow at the heat with score being much louder than dialogue hence I will re-watch but most definitely enjoyed.

Wrong place wrong time and the chase is on in Naenae. Clever camerawork including a good drone shot to highlight the comedy of a scooter and a bike respectively chasing a runner. The quick wit of Charlie Flowers was a good way of utilising the thoughtful element of the character, the jandal throw was hilarious and that was some seriously slick rhyming and flow that you dropped at the end of the film although the sound outside of the musical sequence could have done with some more polish. Nice work.

Bro puns galore like I have never come close to seeing before. The first few minutes of the screening did come across a little awkward with the audience not buying the humour but I did note some good laughs towards the end so well done on sticking to your guns and running with the idea like nobody ever has. Essentially a tale of a lonely obsessive who has had his vernacular developed to the point of only being able to speak in said puns and how he deals with rejection. The story itself was stock standard and from a technical pov quite flat but memorable for 5 minutes of non stop inclusion of the word bro into every word/sentence imaginable. The Leo joke was pretty good.

Boy oh boy this started with a hiss and a roar with a pulsating beat and pumping flexing glutes before calming down to examine the real reasons that people pay for professional exercise. Of course given the vast discrepancy between the toned lead and his students it was important to make sure they were eating, drinking and cleaning themselves correctly and this was done through some sort of time travel device. Your energetic lead was brimming with confidence and very entertaining. My biggest suggestion for this team would be to work on utilising camera angles that are more engaging; whilst the William Friedkin rule to not move the camera unless your actors do generally is a great one, I also feel that a gym class based film could have used more movement as the whole thing was a bit static other than your lead.

Quirky romcom centred on a shy scooter-armed florist questing for love. This was particularly endearing and relatable as romantic advice was sought from a colleague/co-worker, and a sense of genuine interest and chemistry was provided between the lead and object of his affection. Slightly formulaic tendencies but some standout jokes that broke the mould such as the killer 'fanny' line and an excellent payoff.

Waking up with little recollection of the previous night tightly bound in a straightjacket and ballgagged to be greeted by a lamb, immobilised Charlie Flowers needs to work out what the fuck is going on before his mother and law and wife arrive at his house. This played more like a comedy of errors than a real time film but that is not necessarily a bad thing more of an observation on my end. The fast jazz drum soundtrack worked to provide a sense of urgency throughout and the lead actor really stood out which was impressive given his bondage limitations. I feel that with slightly more plot development this would have been a really strong film.

Interviews can be a ridiculously stressful situation but an apparent parallel storyline resulted in something quite different to what I expected based on the initial character interactions. Very striking visual imagery and a strong incorporation of the puppet element rather than seeing it as a technical restriction like most teams. Kind of loved the sinister way the film ended up going however there was a 30 second stretch that badly let the film down when all 3 puppets were arguing at once which came across as annoying rather than clever. Overall though a solid film.

Set in the parked car of a group of crooks with a focus on the restricted license getaway driver, this mainly narrated film took a light comedy approach. Covering the thoughts and actions of the waiting driver when they had a particularly long amount of time to kill allowed for some quality comedic scenarios such as ordering fast food and playing around with weapons - the deflated tire being a particularly memorable highlight. Said driver carried the film well but I was a little thrown by accents that appeared to change throughout the course of the film and what appeared to be a KKK joke which has resulted in me dropping my rating by 1 star.

Genuinely sick local buddy detective film dealing with the aftermath of a suicide. With knowledgeable capital humour and a propensity to really go to dark places this produced a mix of laughs and sighs of disgust from the audience. The titular Dazza and Bazza produced a farcical array of dad jokes whilst investigating grisly crimes, with the bizarre tint kept going through air horn and auto erotic machinations. Double browns rightfully earned their place in the spotlight and whilst the tar black comedy was not everyone's cup of tea I frigging loved this.

Offbeat humorous take on a the plights and perils off master and apprentice in a tv knitting show where hard work behind the scenes goes uncredited. With over the top green screen, delectable camera angles and a western swag because the bar is not big enough for the 2 of them, this built momentum throughout the film. Excellent use of literal sleight of hand as well however the film felt a little disjointed to me personally with tonal jumps from shock revelation to silliness.

Barely animated surrealistic cartoon by the inimitable Simon Insoll delivers all the trademarks of a quality Gurgler Production. Cops talking shit, a bevy of anthropomorphic animal miscreants and a whole lot of don't give a fuck attitude. I was promised some quality trash dialogue before the weekend, and it was delivered in spades - perhaps at such a rapid rate that some of the audience missed the z-grade black comedy gold they were being treated to. The bait and switch of the office accountant was an excellent way to adhere to the 'mistaken identity' genre giving it all the lip service that it needed. Personally I had the British Bulldog picked all the way as the likely culprit but I guess I was wrong! The only thing holding back a 7/7 is I would have wanted to see the mouths actually move when the characters were talking ;)

***For anyone trying to objectively read this review please note this film was by my best friend***

Farm romance runs awry after a hit and run or two. A very kiwi sense of humour and I liked the fact that clearly no animals were actually harmed in the making of the film (the dead sheep just being a pile of wool for example). A tough genre but the actress playing Charlie Flowers had a solid on screen presence.

Threw out all the stops to provide several vfx shots and whilst none were perfect I definitely commend you for the effort. Odd creepy little film had a book of the dead or something of a similar note summon fairytale demons and lull victims into a false sense of security. The tiny axe of the woodsman provided a good laugh and the tears of blood were a nice touch that added a nightmarish feel to events. I feel that a key element of horror is caring about the characters that are under threat so if the main girl being attacked by riding hood had been fleshed out a little bit more this film would have been stronger.

[DQ] Oh man I feel for you guys as this was the best high school entry I have seen in years in Wellington but understand was late due to rendering issues. Sigh...

Moving on to this brilliant film; a couple of survivalists raid wherever they can in the search for supplies in particular food and medicine. The medicinal aspect of the film was a very important one as with one party in very poor health it meant reliance on the other where scavengers shoot on sight ala THE ROAD was everything. Yet genuine love and friendship was provided eg, through the literal warmth of a campfire story tale. This took a less is more approach in terms of lore but still presented danger and dystopia to nail the genre. Rock solid acting, absolutely exceptional cinematography (whoever was your DoP needs to pursue film as a career if they don't already) and a gorgeous musical score tied this together beautifully. Never saccharine either as you always believed the characters would do whatever they had to do.

EDIT - I am a Judge and Judge's comment removed re: Desikiwi by me - I had nothing to do with this film. Play nice :)

Murder cover up that appeared to justify self-defence and was really well shot with strong contrast and evening shots in particular popping off the screen. Chemistry between the two friends looking to cover up the murder was palpable and the fake blood was visceral and believable. Went over some dark concepts such as stalking and locking yourself away from the world. I would have loved rather than liked the film if the conclusion had not been foregone and perhaps tried something different such as subversion of expectations.

Used the 2015 trait of a thoughtless character to provide a cannonball comedy of events that fit will within their required genre. After attempting to become besties with a bunch of burglars while being robbed our lead shows a genuine ineptness at everything he does even for simple tasks such as returning a found wallet. This contained one of the best comedic uses of wool so far seen in the 2016 competition. Good audience response although it seemed half loved the screeching voice and half kept quiet throughout the film.

Played the one step ahead angle of this genre rather well when it got to the chase, which was based around an independent young woman telling her mother not to worry about her on a dark and gloomy night in a large seemingly abandoned building. The camerawork was generally solid and some of the editing was absolutely on fire in this film however the narrative arc could have used some more development as cat and mouse is expected to be a two way street. I did like the film though as it seemed very believable.

A solid idea in terms of subversion as a woman tries to join the bro club/council but first she needs to learn the rules such as no pyjamas. The film had a golden moment where it seemed to be breaking the fourth wall and with the earlier subversion I was hoping that they might be audacious enough to cover that angle but instead went with a standard quest scenario. I understand that it may well have been through no fault of your own but the windowboxing and interlacing of the film were jarring to me from a technical point of view.

Utilised the pouring rain well into the sound mix at the start of the film and set the scene really well for a dark and gloomy night adventure, however quickly turned into cheesy VR time travel. Whilst I appreciate that VR is no doubt the way of the future I felt that the first person JOHNNY MNEMONIC style adventure that showcased the little old lady could have used a bit more clarity. The script had some nice moments and as advised the team was definitely technically strong so I think those are areas that you should focus on promoting going forward.

Even the most outwardly confident use online dating as explored by this film, which depicted a swag skux in the high school hallway struggling for friends and turning to Mashley Addison to find the woman of this dreams. Put through the ringer to see if he matches the criteria of one of his likes, Baaadgirl69 presents a series of challenges that have the audience wondering catfish. I felt this was a solid simple story with a couple of pieces of comedy gold however production values could have used some improvements. I appreciate the time constraints but stronger contrast, use of lighting and potentially even a grade are elements that will make your film pop in future and I would recommend this as the look of the film was flat. The camera work was also fun at times but slightly jarring at others.

GREAT team logo. Haha. Nice effort with special effects as talking toast battled the lead character who was determined to get his breakfast perfect for the first time ever. The barrage of puns was good cheesy fun and I liked your commitment to verbal sparring however would have liked to have seen more explored than the kitchen battle between man and his food.

One of the darkest 48Hours films I have ever seen in terms of subject matter as an abusive domestic relationship was shown through the abuser treating his partner as a puppet. Phone calls and access to friends are stopped and emotional abuse is hurled at the victim. This presented a really tough subject matter and subverted its genre however whilst a strong story the actors did feel a little bit like they were reading lines other than the friend who was concerned about the abuse, and stood out.

Juvenile Delinquent opposite of CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE as a young girl struggled with the choice between her conservative family upbringing and the freedom of a runaway punk cult. I liked the fact that you showed that joining the punk movement can be a part of joining a collective and belonging just as much as rebelling. I think the scope of the story however was one that needed more than 5 minutes to comfortably fit as ideas felt rushed towards the second half of the running time.

Tense boardroom thriller focusing on a group of directors contemplating a button that could present them doomsday or paradise. Played like a minimalistic take on the 'what the hell does this do?' concept of both CUBE and THE BOX I was impressed by your ensemble of actors and strong ability to focus your shots so that attention was brought to the key elements of every one of your shots. Framing was also excellent and represented the claustrophobia and paranoia of the situation well especially when a full understanding of the filmic situation had been developed. My only two minor negative points were that the art direction could have done with slightly more work and I felt like a couple of the actors delivered their lines the same way throughout whereas giving more emotion towards the end of the film would have had more impact.

After a night on the vodka the search is on to find out which friend/flatmate ruined the bread in a tense post-hangover house. This got some fantastic laughs from visual sight gags such as sweat pouring like a waterfall and the bizarre eyewear. The didactic house leader had a very strong screen presence and the humour had tinges of both John Cleese and Chris Farley albeit a bit rough around the edges.

[DQ] Perhaps the most F-bombs ever rattled off in a 48Hours film. No mean feat when previous years have had 7 minutes to do so. Ignoring the lines of cocaine...actually no I can't; this film tried its best to outdo the grotesque parts of MEET THE FEEBLES. The main problem was that it felt like a film of two halves. The first half focusing on the couch of f-bombs as two puppet performers cursed the world and their manager, whilst the second followed their previous history as devious puppet criminals. The second half of the film was significantly better than the first and I think if the team had committed to a storyline of criminal puppets it may have been better for it, as the 2-3 minutes listening to repetitive f-bombs felt like it could have been trimmed.

OK so this is the sort of genre subversion I was hoping to see when "Punk" was announced as a genre in 2016. It's really all here; the look, the music, the attitude and with some bloody good unspoken (obviously) chemistry between the two leads. Fast paced and snappy, this moved from one joke concept to the next with just the right necessary urgency. I love heaping praise where it is deserved and so I will continue; what I liked most about this film was that it was genuinely believable. Many of us have been there and done that; moshing or fight dancing with a new best friend or potential romantic interest, but I cannot remember it being told this way. Sure there was THE TRIBE but the subtitles are necessary here [the different colour schemes again another great choice] and after watching I just felt like thrashing my head around with someone I love.

Reminded me of the Fred Savage film LITTLE MONSTERS but rather than having a friendly horned chum our lead was best friends with a terrifying closet dweller that looked like it was straight out of INSIDIOUS. Played straight for some quality black comedy in my book this explored the theme of obsession and jealously rather well only with a very skewed angle. Fred Pokai has delivered some quality performances in 48Hours over the years and stepped up again here although the knitting demon was also an excellent on screen presence + the girlfriend actress also played her part well. Seemed like some audience members found the whole throat stabbing the stuff of nightmares but to me the crowd reaction showed that they had bought into your film completely. Well done.

What if Austin Powers was a buddy movie? And what if those buddies were Sherlock Holmes serious types? Well mix that together with a penchant for quaint 1963 romance that carried through from time travelling that falls desperately out of kilt with tinder in 2016 and you kind of have this film. As always this team have delivered a very slick film with only a couple of minor issues; the film genuinely takes about 2 minutes to hit its stride, massively subverts the "mystery" genre and with most of the film narrated some may not like that approach. Personally I can overlook the narration and the slow start as we actually get inside the characters and are rewarded with a huge payoff.

Previous best worst "winners" Confusers are at it again with a mockumentary (no talking heads - hurray!) about the newly discovered Placeholdersaurus, delightfully narrated by someone giving their best Richard Attenborough impersonation. Now this might have been an entertaining short in another team without an incredibly strange bent, but in the hands of bizarro masters Confusers we got paper mache Dinosaur head weird all for the glorious better. Who is really at the top of the food chain - humans, dinosaurs or felines? I guess it doesn't matter when you have a green screen and not just one but two paper mache Dinosaur heads. Got some seriously huge laughs at the heat but could have cut down by perhaps 1 or 2 jokes for pacing.

You made my head hurt a bit which is both good and bad, because the best parts of this gave me chills which is bloody rare for a 48Hours film. I loved the disjointed evil fragmentation with a strong attempt at producing your own lore - some of those shots were textbook Obayashi by way of Mario Bava as I could see a sure strong hand was behind this film. However both my notes and memory are struggling to discern a clear plotline for the film but it seemed like the evil was wanting to shape its own reality? Had the plot been a bit clearer you could have had a contender.

This optimistic lone survivalist adventure could have been hampered by the rain, but instead they utilised the poor weekend weather to their advantage with a focal goal for the motivated character of getting to a certain place. The trek of course being off the beaten path leads to potential perils and I have to hand it to the lead for the very believable performance they provided when it looked like they were facing genuine adversity. To me covering your genre bases by providing exposition of viruses and plagues is all well and good, but after thinking about this film I was wondering where the "dystopia" was? This is a different genre altogether from End of the World which is what I found the team to interpret it as.

Beautifully shot with nary an issue with the deeply saturated strongly contrasted film from a technical point of view, and every last cent was rung out of the amazing old house this team had access to. Plus they had a beautiful orchestral score. The film itself investigated a murder with several suspects from a tightly knit family. But unfortunately to mine the plot was disappointingly flat and some 48Hours tropes that have been a bugbear of mine for many years reared their ugly head (in particular violence towards women in crime/horror films especially any promiscuous women).

Took the 'Comedy of Errors' genre quite literally with a film about a theatrical audition and a Shakespearian focus. This presented a strong setup to showcase the required elements of the genre but being a film centred around an audition it meant the whole thing relied on verbal humour. Because the film was so static (I can't remember any camera movement) it meant that to deliver on a comedy of errors the look and sound needed to be on point, but in my opinion the cinematography was a tad flat, and the sound mix was variable to the point where I think I missed a couple of punch lines. I think some foley for the sound would have helped immensely because the cavernous audition hall did create an echoey feel due to using live sound.

[DQ] I really liked the camerawork on show here and combined with the sawmill tingling violin score I felt a genuine sense of unease throughout, however I was also a bit confused. To explain, the fencing in Island Bay had me enthralled as the characters parried away with their foils only for one to be apparently bee stung. Or was it that being struck during the match took them on a flashback? But either way the action moved away from Cat and Mouse parry-riposte action to a singular character forest exploring Blair Watch inspired creep out. Whilst I personally loved the tone of the film I felt a slightly stronger structure given the genre would have been to the film's advantage.

My first piece of advice to this team is to not allocate valuable time of your 48Hours short to characters waking up and doing housekeeping before committing to the storyline, unless it serves an absolutely critical function for your short (which I cannot think of for any 48Hours films ever). My second piece of advice is to pay close attention to your 50/50 line especially for conversations between characters based in the same room - I was thrown by the lounge scene that had this technical flaw.

I do apologise for starting with negative comments because I could see a real commitment to genre, and the two leads gelled nicely on screen. Injuries and disabilities have been played for laughs many times but you instead showed a strong sense of friendship and support through the quest for the long time mates to get to the Roses N' Guns concert. I think you had a couple of really nice outside shots and would have loved to have seen more exploration outside the apartment as staying inside created a reliance on exposition.

Blowfish's animations always have a wicked sense of wit like the kind of sneaky prank you might play on a grandparent. 'Strange Pursuit' continued this vein for the better and produced a fast paced cat and mouse forest game of deer versus hunter with a timelord in the middle. It also may have been the shortest 48Hours film ever? I haven't checked but it felt barely over 60 seconds and whilst I get that shorts are a slice and not features there could have been just a little bit more to the film than the one joke payoff.

Charming tale of a widower who had the perfect wife on a quest to find/buy love one more time. A Russian mail-order bride from a less than reputable company (found through searching on 'googol') leads to a LARS AND THE REAL GIRL inspired payoff. Made great use of setup and payoff through several repeated comedy vignettes. Also pleasingly made use of the small gaps in the weather on the weekend of rain that Wellington had to showcase the waterfront. I felt that the lack of dialogue worked for what the team was trying to achieve but that it was slightly let down by a few flat shots.

Had me worried for a second when I realised the film was set in the deathknell of most 48Hours films, an apartment...but my worries were completely unfounded as a fridge to another dimension offered perhaps the best special fx shots I've ever seen in this competition, yes right up there with Sinistral's Auckland-winning effort from a few years ago.
Not only that, but all the required technical elements were used well and what I particularly liked about this effort from the previous competition winners is that they let the film breathe with a beautifully developed story arc. Built a little slowly with inside fridge shots but the payoff was more than worth it as the 'other dimension' came to effect in a blaze of eye popping baseball-bat swinging glory. Central characters were kept to a minimal but memorable 3; the gross out flatmate, annoying nitpicker who doesn't want her food stolen, and everyman willing to battle alien fiends from a parallel universe with whatever utensils are available.
Not only were the fx shots jaw dropping (I literally let out a non-deliberate 'holy shit!' at the money shot and hope to experience this again at the Embassy) but the film was technically sound generally with a solid colour grade although a handful of shots seemed ever so slightly compressed.
Just overall a great short and genuine contender.

PC master race film that ironically was technically pretty rough. Basically a virtual reality short film game that looked to blur the line between the game and reality, carrying itself on traditional WASD/Mouse movement and character command jokes. Not getting into PC vs console wars on here, I hope you enjoyed making the film as the story was lacking.

I really liked the tone on this film. Forelorn and sardonic with a sense of acceptance regarding mass organised killing to appease a minister's call for societal reduction. Bleak and dark it reminded me of an incredibly low budget version of a book that Evelyn Waugh never wrote. Like there was really not much to the film, just a darkly comic acceptance of those accepted to die that they will, but sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Work on the technical side of things a bit guys and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in future.

Ok so I give in, this year they finally officially have let teams make mockumentaries through the 'rockumentary' option. However I STILL have a massive issue with an over-reliance on talking heads that do nothing to develop a story arc, and the film makers felt like they took the safest route possible on this one about the third most popular band in Newtown in the 80s(?) looking to recreate a new generation version band through their kids.
Some nice comedic touches through the use of the old mulleted and moustached photographs, but did nothing to stand out from the crowd.

A student very suddenly is apparently presented as the last person on earth, with the main link to this discovery other than a body in a shopping trolley being found footage on a camera that she watches in her uni dorm. I perhaps missed jotting down exactly what the broadcast at the start of the film was saying, as I believe the population was being culled.
I felt that the film really had the opportunity for redemption through our sole survivor, rather than the other girls simply getting their comeuppance by not being the last person left alive...

Unfortunately I've got to say that this is a genre that doesn't need a great deal of work to be believable given we have massively isolated areas within minutes of the city, so to use fully powered university dorms and have shots of the 'abandoned' city showing plenty of lights did make me cringe. I liked the found footage element to be honest, I just thought that there could have been a sense of resolution for our lead, and more of a sense of desolation to showcase her scenario when everyone else was gone. It just had no real dramatic punch.

Very impressive sound design indeed, and a creepy as hell sound track had the audience genuinely squirming in their seats which is everything you'd want from a horror film that bravely played it straight and did not go for laughs.
Reliance on mood and tension had my attention as a cursed loaf of bread caused our lead actress some high levels of grief whilst she tried to keep her daily life in order. The main things letting the film down were a lack of a polish from a cinematography point of view, and the curse afflicting hobo was a bit off in his performance tone. However I was able to overlook that and found that your strong lead actress and disturbing nightmarish soundtrack really knocked me over. Well done.

Age-inappropriate casting as a mother gets put under extreme duress from a kidnapping threat following a picnic trip to a war dugout with the young gang. It seems like there was a good deal of activity thrown into the film to try and keep it interesting, but I felt you over-thought the plot a bit too much and in the end this resulted in a predictable film.
Don't get me wrong, swearing can be great for punch lines (I'm a huuuuge fan of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT) but this film showed an over-reliance on the cursing and fell flat after the fifth or sixth eff this/eff that discussion. Unfortunately my suspension of disbelief was ruined by said age inappropriate casting and it felt more like a weirdly two toned thriller than a mystery given the obvious comedic payoff.

A 'Rainbow' style puppet kids show host loses the plot when his role is taken over by a cardboard cutout of himself. Good use of the required prop and perhaps a better unintentional black comedy than several films that got that genre. My main grip with the film was the lack of a strong story arc and any sort of dynamic film making. Short films in particular can work with simple camera work, even static as the case may be and this can even translate well to feature length cinema (Ceylan, Tarr, Tarkovsky etc) but for a simplistic film such as was presented I would have preferred a dramatic arc that gave us a clearer beginning, middle and end. The way the film presented suffered from the randomness of evens presented. Your lead clearly gave it his all which I commend.

A bit torn on this one as it was actually a genre I personally suggested a few weeks ago so was absolutely thrilled when it got announced at launch. Some really energetic camerawork abounded as our lead obsessed over a pretty girl bumped into when getting a coffee to go, only a girlfriend to go doesn't come about quite so easily.

I guess my main concern with the film is that it made an excellent chase film, an excellent slapstick film and a decent romcom, but this high concept genre is one that is seeming to be quite difficult to subvert or even nail in a standard manner given the time constraints of the competition. I hate to single teams out but I personally thought that the unintentionally outwitting of our chaser was borderline note really meeting the genre requirements. I wouldn't mind a second watch but whilst solid film making and entertaining I was scratching my head a little bit. Your lead actor had great physical screen presence it must be said.

Ok guys, so we get it, you were pretty excited to see yourselves on the big screen and I appreciate you actually have some skill with a camera and your general comedic timing....but boy oh boy were you incredibly rude and obnoxious cunts to have three quarters of the team disappear after your short, talk to yourselves (yes, I could hear you - being in the front row didn't mean you were not viewable or audible) whilst other films were still screening or flash your cellphones around as though you were having a pyjama party in your own fucking living room.

In terms of your film I genuinely liked your subversion of the Science Gone Mad genre. It made me appreciate why Ant Timpson had selected this carefully worded phrasing as opposed to "Mad Scientist" that got used back in 2004 [it would probably pay to do some research on this competition and realise you have severely broken the number one rule that is all we really care about at the end of the day - DON'T BE A DICKHEAD].

The short was a nicely framed video diary descent into madness set in a mental institution with some dynamite comedic performances and gonzo camera work, which was necessary given the set design was relatively bland. Your lead actor was fantastic and with some better audio you could really have made a film I really enjoyed. As it stands you can either ship up next year or ship the fuck out.

Great start, and the film built steam in Act 2 as a time traveller used his future knowledge to fob off a lotto win for his younger self. Face paced dialogue throughout but camera work and cinematography was not great, with a very weak third act to the film that felt like a predictable anti climax. Doctor Harrison was uproariously funny though.

Best actor nominee? Whoever he was, he was terrific! And your use of the line was also fantastic. Pretty low budget and gonzo and I'm really not a fan of films set in apartments...but you pulled this off. A bread pun spectacular as a mother sent her son to infiltrate a flat on a secret mission to uncover a mystery. His weirdness provided a spectacle where my eyes were glued to the screen - txting mummy versus down to earth herbal ciggies anyone?

I've seen a few romantic stalker films set in the Botanical Gardens over the years in 48 Hours, but I'm not complaining. Your lead actress was excellent and solely through body language conveyed the concept of someone genuinely in search of love. Over the top and desperate for love, but it was still well conveyed. Very slapstick in nature I felt you needed a bit of a stronger story arc.

Demon-hunting men of the cloth struggle to come to terms with the fact that the so called evil spirits they identify are nothing more than bums and pregnant women, so turn to their own alcoholic spirits for guidance. Some really great comedic beats such as the fingers coming together, but the sound was let down in a few places. I also understand that you may have deemed hunters to fit your genre bill, but the whole concept of Cat and Mouse is that it is a push and pull/2 way concept and to me the Demons just never gave the idea of being ahead in the chase. Basically you made a good buddy film but not a great Cat and Mouse film.

Got science gone mad, made a horror movie and a woman being tortured at that. Very effective at least as the audience squirmed and gasped due to your realistic wound makeup. Honestly just lacking anything scientific, with the threat of a syringe by a 'scientist' being able to be interchanged with any weapon you could think of and the film would have still had the same effect.

More awkward acquaintances than buddies, this also seemed to be more of a revenge film than anything as a couple of hockey players eyed up an opportunity to get someone back whilst grabbing a sandwich on the way. Quite mean spirited and reasonably short without much depth, let down by awful sound. I would have highly encouraged trying to make a more positive film given your genre and wiped any sound that had wind on the take.

Shot in black and white, from what I gather to give the impression that everything we do is 50/50 in terms of our choices? Seemed to have an alien sent down to present doors to dimensions that showed everything we do is just a big gamble and linked to the cinematography being a metaphorical allegory of this. I might have it all wrong but the rest of my team was also confused by the whole short.

Never a dull moment in this one as a couple of dodgy detectives investigated and interrogated a brutal surgically precise murder. Overall I guess you could have called the tone manic bad taste, which is good enough for me in terms of being black comedy. Cynicism, sarcasm, and cancer jokes, nothing was taboo and the film benefited from it. The epilogue was a bit unnecessary, and cinematography definitely the weak part of the film as lighting was lacking. However for parodying David Caruso/CSI you have my respect.

Pretty sure even the team intros need to not infringe copyrighted material (the team used the 'Friends' "I'll Be There For You" jingle just with different lyrics)...Onto the film this was clearly a team that probably dreaded getting musical but kudos for giving it your all and actually singing when alternate options were provided this year. Played it a little safe being an inquisition into which flatmate stole a sandwich, and the songs were quite pitchy but the sunglass wearing jacketed flatmate was comedy gold.

One of the better uses of Harper Harrison as thoughtless so far, although verging on dim-witted for mine. An engaging short as a supernatural notebook conversed with our simpleton jogging lead entirely through the written word. Played the hot blooded male card for a decent resolution. Editing was solid, cinematography had some great shots but could have used some areas of polish and to me it felt like the required genre was a little bit tacked on. Props for trying something different.

A space beam gone wrong allowed for some good old fashioned Trek-style fights with mutants in the bush and very entertaining Klingon-type gibberish (made all the more hilarious with a lack of subtitles). The bad makeup and deliberately ham fisted acting brought a smile to my face, this was short and sweet.

Slick cursed-typewriter type film within a film that had some nice comedic touches and an excellently acted hobo prepared to do anything for food. I liked how smooth some of your transitions were and the dialogue was good. I also commend that the genre was subverted, but unfortunately to me this was done at the expense of a coherent story.

Technically superb with a tremendous sense of dramatic development this nailed the buddy film genre but also subverted it In such a way that I could see it being a serious contender. Two best friends are shown to go through their daily routine in a way that unmistakably only buddies do; all the tropes of young men you could relate to are there such as bacon, sports and driving fast all moved along with just the right sense of urgency to let the film breathe within its time frame but not overstay its welcome. The comedic timing was good, the performances very strong, script even better and score which appeared to be original also perfect for the mood.

Pun-filled bread fighting low budget fx love triangle buffoonery. The kitchen sink and its bakery replacement were thrown at the screen here as two buddies bickered and argued about their bakery and the woman they loved. The jokes ranged from absolutely awful to absolutely brilliant, and the final showdown with bunchucks vs a French bread sword stick was great. I would recommend working on your camera work given this was largely very static medium to long shots throughout, and is something that can also be used as a great film making device to tell a story, whereas the reliance on dialogue exposition did become a little tedious. Very fun though.

Boastfully made in 7 hours and presented in a handful of shots, a patient was tormented by a sinister doctor through a POV shot for most of the film. Very low fi and commendable to get the film in but the lack of time showed in the lack of polish regarding the story. I was impressed by the single longest tracking shot of computer wires I think I've ever seen.

Really really strong opening that felt like a grindhouse version of PARENTS via THE FUCCON FAMILY as a reporter stumbled across a strange suburban couple but this veered slightly too much towards the horror genre to really nail black comedy completely. Having said that I was left feeling uneasy throughout the entire film much like the first time you watch John Waters, and the jokes were cruel/sinister and would definitely fit under the definition of black comedy. The performances solid, technically sound in particular the just personally didn't generate any real laughs through comedic timing.

Lovey dovey harmonising was the name of the game here as a girl and a baker came to realise their true feelings for one another.. Really positive approach to the genre that covered all the required technical elements well. I actually would have loved to have seen a little bit more, for example one more song or even a scene without singing to break up the action and give it a dramatic flow, but I can't deny this left a smile on my face. Nice songwriting, simple to follow story and technically sound.

Nice comic timing and quality simplistic special effects kept this topical comedy entertaining and got some good laughs from the crowd as a teenage boy unwittingly gets granted superpowers and uses them for mischief. Puke, pony tails...and poofter jokes. Yes you absolutely lost me with a single word. I've made a stand against homophobic jokes in this competition for years and will continue to do so as long as I'm part of it. Good script, performances and editing from a technical point of view, though.

A pretty poor standup (George Clooney or nipple jokes, anyone?) gets the last laugh on earth, only it's really not that funny...This actually had quite a beautiful tone of love and despair. Simplistic in its approach to being the last person on earth with a search for a call and response, the film pulled at the heart strings due to a strong performance by the lead actor. I almost lost my suspension of disbelief due to keeping him camping about 15 minutes walk from the city, but overall this was nicely done.

There were some beautiful clean shots in this film, but not consistently throughout. Icky tone of panic and confusion homaging a rather obvious Christopher Nolan film with Guy Pearce but to me the narrative structure whilst clear and obvious did not fall strictly into the mystery genre. I mean to me if you had added more of your own twist to Memento than playing the Caligari madness/reality card it would have been better. The Doctor was a scene-stealer and I probably would have preferred to have seen the film centred more around him

Classic love triangle that was well carried by a very enthusiastic yoga instructing Harper Harrison. Shooting in an apartment is always a risk in terms of originality for this competition but the team had good energy, dialogue that did not feel forced and some lovely changes of pace such as the dream sequence. The match dissolve was also decent and I'm hoping the Hutt River doesn't turn up in my dreams tonight. Use of bread was very forced but not undone given how over the top it was.

A talky interrogation piece that seemed like the team was more keen on Cyber Thriller or Science Gone Mad than the genre they got. In my book you were way off the mark with Cat & Mouse given the whole concept of the genre is staying one step ahead of the chase; something you can't really have if the chaser is sitting down. The sound was no all clear and some shots were out of focus which also detracted however the film gradually built steam and there was no denying the blinking eyes/sexual revelations got a huge rise from the audience. Just not a Cat and Mouse film.

[DQ] Clearly throwing everything they had at the big screen I salute you for your meticulous guerrilla (very) lo fi production values. Some gonzo camera work as well as a couple of young kids tried to get to their grandfather's lab in relation to a Skynet-type takeover that was detailed through narrative exposition. I was never bored given you went to so much effort, my main point of advice would be to get some decent sound equipment and try and come up with a more original story idea next time.

[DQ] To the sound of what very much sounded like an Eagles guitar line, our lead sings that he is prepared to try anything to get to sleep. This works as a framework for others to give him advise/tips such as working out or seeing a shrink. The Daft Punk style dance-off was definitely the highlight as unfortunately the team did not have any great singers; good choice going with who you did as he was the best of the bunch.

As a family drinks at a bar to mark the passing of a member, the attractive young daughter catches the attention of the waiter serving them. I'm not sure what the mother did or represented to stand in his way, as this developed into more of a horror film than a reunion film. Some of the script was quite good, but the showdown on the roof that led to strangulation lacked any tension.

Those two minutes of uninterrupted dancing at the start of the film were the longest two minutes of the heats. Surely could have been trimmed, and didn't really add much to the plot at all. Once it got going the jibberish dialogue was pretty ridiculous, although the use of the line in audible English made me laugh out loud. Developed nicely into a tale of parents getting upset at their daughter choosing a much older man. Silly but completely random and couldn't stop watching.

I know that it is obviously your team's style, but shooting 9:16 just seems bizarre on the cinema screen. The reason that Hollywood has historical shown more image wider than taller is that most audiences don't care about the lower half of actors, but I don't need to lecture, I'm sure you had your reasons for doing it this way.

It was a fun little film about an English Language teacher being absolutely adored by his class. All lessons try and steer clear of the subject of sleep for obvious reasons, but once his condition is found out it allows the obsession levels to ramp up...Just writing that now I realised that you kind of got the character trait wrong as he was constantly sleeping, wasn't he? Given my own film had a dream with a girl with an umbrella I'm willing to cut your some slack.

Good team intro, good script and a good performance by the lead actress. Due to the fact that a serial killer had been giving calling cards to their victims before death, our lead follows each instruction she receives to the letter in a race against the clock (time limits are given on each card). My only real problem was the massive geographical errors in relation to Wellington which happened throughout the film; 10 minutes to run from Oriental Bay to the Botanical Rose Gardens??

A shame that you had lots of video artefacts/errors turn up in your screening. I was surprised that a few more teams didn't put Immoblised and Insomniac together to get Sleeping Beauty like you guys. You managed to show the streets without activity from others quite well, definitely had an eery feeling. Just needed more of a stronger storyline to tie everything together.

Who remembers the film Clockstoppers from 11 or 12 years ago? Um, I do, and it was a little bit ironic in my view for adults to rip off what was a children/family film. Bit more of a sinister dark vibe, given that the usage of stopping time was for criminal gain by our protagonist as opposed to stopping it in the original film. I thought the leads had good chemistry, but was disappointed that the team had not done something a bit more original.

The last couple of years the team has been pushing the boundaries, and this year drew the dreaded musical genre which had a much harder time being pigeonholed into their cinema verite/Harmony Korineish drug haze style. I must admit the harmonised opening song made me think that the team might at least give it a fairly decent go, but I was mistaken as it descended into sordid drug taking (I can understand others getting upset about the realistic class A use given there were kids in the audience and surprisingly no warning before the film played) and a surreal mess with scattered camerawork and no discernible plot. There was the potential I thought for this to be an original crazy take on sexual discussion, but I was unfortunately proven wrong.

How to deal with an odd flatmate who is keeping you awake at night because they cannot sleep themselves? Join them on a crazy adventure across Wellington, of course. I think this had the best use of the line in the heats so far; cheap but perfect with its timing. Full of bongs, pig masks, dramatic music and mayonnaise. Oh so much mayonnaise...

A foreman who can't sleep collides with a woman who has trouble finding love, and goes on a series of dates that we get to see the comedic result of. Played more like a Public Safety Announcement than anything, I thought if you edited it down it could have been a TV add regarding getting behind the wheel on a lack of sleep. The actress who was looking for love did a great job.

A postie/cyclist (sorry, wasn't clear which they were) tries to move on with his life after getting rejected by a receptionist. Of course, being given a map that should lead to The Heart of Bwindi treasure won't hurt if he manages to find it. Looked like you guys were having a good time making your film, and obviously went for the Indiana Jones route. Just all a bit low budget [eg, terrible sound] and cheesy [fight scenes were not good to be blunt], and it took me a long time to piece together the plotline that I have summarised here; trust me, it is not as clear as I have described.

Just because you included a computer and a digital camera in your film, does not cover your bases for the TECHNO thriller requirement. Also, the uncleared use of a few seconds of Bad Moon Rising by CCR in the background of one shot was a big no-no. Those were the negatives; the positives were that you made a great looking creepy film about a clown mime who is a little bit too comfortable with children. Despite being technically pretty good, the storyline needed development. There's a point where you can leave things up to the audience, but here I found it frustrating. Good work getting a big audience gasp, though.

This felt like a zero budget version of the 80s horror film 'Superstition' with a bit of Paranormal Activity thrown in (I'm guessing that was the much likelier source of inspiration) as flatmates dealt with an unseen menace that attacked quite suddenly, and would not let up. Your POV shot was excellent, but the film was lacking in scares. The watch not being kept was quite funny.

WTF. Yes, you get the honour of being the first team this year to have me actually use that acronym. Sock puppets trash talk rapped (if what they did could be considered so) on the middle of the road. Felt like you had a decent Act 1 if the song was clearer, and just needed an actual story to follow.

Whilst the shot of Wellington Airport with a subtitle of "London, England" may have been the hardest I laughed in all the heat films, there were a number of unfunny homophobic jokes. A jock basically waited around getting frustrated that the girl he never told he loved doesn't come back from England when she said she would. Also sounded like there was piano ripped out of Ben Folds' song 'Not The Same'. The girl who went to England (supposedly) was ok, but yeah the gay jokes were not cool.

Name of Short: "Insomniarama" (Genre: Non Dialogue)

We watched Vic Meyer entertain himself with tedious tasks in his apartment after being unable to sleep, before finally venturing outside. This was tedious and needed a dramatic arc; the streaking out of nowhere was funny but you also had some windy sound ruining a number of takes. At least the line was well used at the end.

At the Ministry of Android affairs, a bunch of new models are tested to make sure they are fit to continue in society. This was very talky and could have used some more cinematic action as it felt a bit tedious.

Excellent performance by Jackson Wood as...himself?? Nice twist on the obsession with an inanimate object contrasted with an actual real developing relationship with a person. Clever script, and a brave performance to go and get soaked on Cuba Street in the middle of May. Zany is a word that comes to mind, I noted minor sound level issues, but the team wore their guerrilla low budget approach with pride.

Took a leaf out of Grand Cheval's book (nowhere near as good as Child Jumpers, though) by doing a mockumentary that wasn't quite in that genre; plenty of talking heads but more where the team trying to save climate change were simply followed around as they tried to save the earth with the impending change supposedly happening in a matter of days. Some nice comic touches such as the email from Al Gore drew a decent audience response, but it was a one joke film and I hate talking heads in 48 Hours.

EDIT 12 JUNE 2013 AFTER WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL. Boy watching this a 2nd time just made me absolutely cringe; your lead actor carries the film with an unrelenting loud in your face to the camera approach which obviously judges liked (but trust me, they all didn't love it by a long shot). The reason that downlowconcept and Grand Cheval mockos have worked in the past is by actually having character development with an emotional story arc. You had some really nice comic touches but this could have been pigeonholed to fit into any other genres.

Contemplating suicide, our lead has brief interactions with those who have mattered to him most in the past ala It's A Wonderful Life. Played seriously, this wasn't really an immobilisation film.

Knocked it out of the park; finals for sure, maybe nationals. Parents try to comfort their young girl about an unfortunate event, whilst she at the same time develops a plan to make $37 after a visit to the local gardening store. Great production values, excellent script and a superb performance by the lead actress. I loved that you basically showed the whole thing from the child's POV with the adults lower halves being shown when we were watching through her eyes. Darkly comic, children with ice creams and swear jars will never be the same again.

Felt like an Argento/Fulci homage given the insane amount of eyeball shots, this tightly shot short had a feeling of claustrophobia which suited the genre well. A creep with plenty of mannequins and what appeared to be a dollification fetish held a woman captive, hoping that she would be the one this time. I felt that if this had a clearer indication of his motives (a few words here and there would have sufficed) you could have been on to a really good short. I did enjoy the style, though.

A prisoner liaises with her councillor/attendant that she has been writing to get over the inability to sleep. This was more about the relationship between the two, and lacked any sense of urgency that the genre required. Well shot, but the storyline was unclear.

Black and White, but actually utilised this feature to its advantage as opposed to just about everyone else this year. A copy with a bit of a meandering job has sudden meaning put back into it when a flasher literally comes across his path, and keeps doing so. Is he delirious or is he onto a case? Only time will tell. Good script, with plenty of nudity, pubes, cleavage and horse heads. Final shot was amazing.

Vic Meyer thinks of all the ways he could try and kill his nemesis, and these get shown on screen accordingly including videogame martial arts fight, sword fighting, or gunning him down in an alley. The comedy comes from the bumbling, but it was neither so bad that it was good other than the "I just need to kill someone line", nor tedious. Just needed a bit more polish as half the film was just silly especially the swords.

A group makes their way into a prohibited area that then leads to a large series of tunnels. Of course, given that their goal is at the end, they have to try and traverse any dangers they can to get there. There were some excellent shots but tunnels despite looking great on screen are a little bit bland unless you do something different. The infomercial at the end was a good comedic touch but felt a little out of place. Loved the control room, though.

[DQ] A woman knows that a man in a coma will get better soon, yet inside his head he goes on surreal voyages every night (dream within a dream?) that lead to possible murders but it is never clear what is reality and what isn't. I think that the storyline was not very clear and this held it back.

A psychotic rugby jock, lawyer, 35 going on 30 physio and one other guy go into house for the new TV series 'Big Poppa'. Half the film was talking heads (which I despise in 48 Hours), and the rest was silly sexual jokes with a random act of violence thrown in. Lacked any real horror.

Clowns teleport to earth and rap/sing about them hoping this planet will allow them to chance to sleep for the first time in 10 million years. A couple of good ultra low budget physical effect jokes (gloves as beards, 'zzz' paper drawn out of a mouth), unfortunately I'm not the biggest fan of clowns and the music was random rather than catchy or melodic.

Currently not DQ, but from what I understand this one is on right on the line given that 48 Hours is actually not generally ok for fair use parodies, given that it is a commercial competition (and that is despite what the law says; there has been quite a hard line on this sort of stuff since a fantastic short in Auckland called 'Discount Taxi Driver' was DQ a few years back).

Trapped in the Closet parodied with subtitled singing about a guy who has just got out of jail [currently in a halfway house] trying to stay clean, who is asked to do one last drug pick up job for his best friend. Beautifully shot, and well sung, I expect it to be kept out of the finals because it goes a bit too far with the 'recreation'. The team apparently recreated the music themselves, but from someone who has watched R. Kelly's shorts an awful lot, this was way too close in my view. Ballsy to do a musical when it wasn't your genre, I would have recommended going by what the 48 Hours page said rather than consulting any legal experts.

Good original score about a sleep deprived man starting to see things without having got any decent REM cycles recently. I thought this was building ominously and actually wanted more, because ending where you did meant you got one good laugh/jolt and could have had a lot more.

Months of work on an android suddenly comes to fruition, and this short examined the repercussions given that not everything was exactly fine tuned yet. Could have been better, as just merging the ideas of Frankenstein and The Terminator without motivation for the killing removed any real tension. It was getting there towards the end in terms of the couple actually being believable, but was just a bit underdeveloped overall.

A one night stand leaves a bit too much of a lasting impression on coffee-loving Vic Meyer, who then proceeded to be the happiest stalker in Wellington. I think you pushed the one joke idea a little too far; it was working great up to a point but just needed to be cut off a little bit shorter. However the barking dog joke was fantastic and the guy playing Vic I can still remember staring intently with THAT smile on the big screen.

Surrounded by cans of V, Vic wonders why he can't sleep. Maybe it's the lack of drugs? Well that's the intuition he acts on and thus goes on a quest to procure some more illegal substances to get a good night's rest. The evil criminal with the skull on his desk was memorable, and I noted a nice original soundtrack.

Actually got the thriller part of the genre completely right as opposed to most who received this tricky genre. A good looking film of intrigue, as our lead delves deeper into something he discovers than he perhaps should, with men in ominous dark soots and a moody electronic soundtrack to boot. The use of google was comedy gold, and the chase sequence was very effect. As I said you nailed the thriller part, but the tech. part of your genre was a little bit lacking, as this is one of the few genres where you actually do need to show things for it to really work.

Vic Meyer keeps finding threatening cards wherever he goes whilst an angry young man tries to come to terms with the Hit and Run death of his brother. A clever short, with some solid camerawork and decent comedic timing.

Name Of Short = "Dear Vic" (Non Dialogue Genre)

Vic goes for a wander to school, only for a Columbine-like recreation to drive her a bit mad. Simple and short, this could have done with some fleshing out.

Frustrated young brats try to manipulate their android babysitter to go from young kid levels of entertainment to adult (3.5 inch disks storing the ability to change, much to my amusement). The plot developed nicely and the android POV shots were quite well done, as was the excellent final shot. I think your young leads did a stellar job, and the choice to go with a darkly comic approach gave the story credence.

I'd recommend working on your sound editing guys, as your levels were all over the place. We followed Vic Meyer down a series of leads into his investigation. I know it was done for comedy, but your tone was a bit off in terms of how you presented the drag queen. The concept of the detective and the drag queen having a mental connection of the same voices in their heads could have made for a great short, but instead this one was predictable.

Nice take on the genre; I'm guessing you saw the Martin Freeman starring world 48 Hours winner from a couple of years back? A mime in Civic Square felt that they were trapped in a concrete cubile, much to their friends' amusement and his frustration. I thought the switch between scenes of reality and the mind entrapment were exceptional, but the ending came a bit abruptly.

Age inappropriate casting = the best sort of casting! This film felt like it was more of a crime investigation than anything, although worked around an upcoming reunion. Focused on someone obsessed on catching up with the person they have been tracking for 3 years. I liked your earnest approach to the film, but finishing with "never leave me DAD" when he was clearly younger than the person saying it was just one example of why I lost suspension of disbelief.

The tension levels were high at the start of this one, as you had me horrified that you had spelt the character's name Vic Mayer, but of course I was relieved that nobody would be that stupid. A nice synthy soundtrack highlighted some focused training in preparation for something that wasn't entirely clear until it happened. Good macguffins with the bomb and the girl. Led itself to a pretty simple payoff that worked because of the physical humour. Just needed a bit more polish.

Vivid dreams and anxiety cause Vic Meyer to call his mates over for some company to reduce his stress levels. Rather than just chilling out though, they chose to watch a My Bloody Valentine-inspired slasher film. The killer with the axe coming through the red door was an absolutely sensational shot, and the film had a couple of ok jokes but felt a bit formulaic on the whole.

Short Name: "Something About Vicky" (Genre: Obsessive Relationship)

A new boyfriend is not much to the liking of a stalker of our lead actress, in this short which had some very funny POV shots (binoculars, hidden in a ditch). You got the element of being watched/obsessed over quite well done, but the relationship between the stalker and the girl would have fitted better into this genre had it been a two-way thing. Instead I'd probably actually put this one more in the horror basket, considering how the plot developed. At least you had a nice red herring with the travelling salesman, and the lead actress did a decent job.

Over zealous friends come to try and help Victoria get to sleep by singing some suggestions that they have. The listed suggestions were many, but it all seemed a bit silly as most of the film was talk-sung in rhyme, with an emphasis on poos and wees jokes. The payoff response from Vic was decent, but the music needed a lot more work. I understand this genre can suck, but it may pay to be a bit more prepared in case you get it next year (it happens more often than you'd think). Also, out-takes in credits are not always necessary; could have done with just the one.

A fake trailer for an upcoming horror-action film that included blood, intrigue, an exorcist priest and guns. First things first; the positives were that it was bold, fun and kept repeating keywords that would hopefully attract an audience if they were to come see the supposed film on release. Also made complete fun of itself ala the fake trailers in the Grindhouse (Planet Terror/Death Proof) releases. The negatives = why fake American accents? Why have part of the trailer scratchy like a film print and other parts in crystal clear HD? Why add a supernatural element with the shot of the priest and have the trailer announcer not mention it when you are promoting a horror film? Also, ambitious long trailers do often give you a general storyline idea without giving anything away and this did not. It was fun, but there were a lot of potential things that could have been done better.

A late night talk show host/a lonely middle aged man/a woman struggling to deal with her teenage son were the focus of this converging storyline effort. I commend you for having three storylines, as opposed to most teams who took the easy route of only going for 2; this has seriously proved to be a difficult genre for 2013. It was well acted, and reflected well on the fact that we as a society should have the right to live our lives the way we want. At least I interpreted that way. It was erring towards homophobia but I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately I noted a couple of video glitches.

Interesting idea of a hitman planning his revenge in great detail, before trying to replicate what should in theory have been a smooth operation. Given the level of detail involved, there has to be some adaptability, of course. I really liked the concept of the eye technology and your lead held the story together well.

Slightly slow burning (but still funny) start as an office worker suffered the consequences of not paying attention to shutting down his computer in the race to try out a new Turkish restaurant. Ramped up a gear once the story got to prison, which looked great and garnered a good audience response. Fast and punchy, would not have been too out of place in a Spike and Mike compilation.

Now this was a lot of fun. A would be DIY plumber father tries his luck fixing the drains under the house, ignoring the warnings of his daughter whilst his wife and her friends get boozed. There have been a few complaints about the projection darkness levels at Vic this year, but I just have to point out that this one looked fantastic given that the team clearly went to great efforts to shoot under a real house. It wouldn't have been a Squidwig Production without some physical special effects, and this year they looked great.

As the title suggests, we followed seven minutes until theatre curtain, real time. This then worked as a framework for characters to tell stories, and a few revelations. Felt a bit off the cuff, fly on the wall in terms of style. The pacing was good, but unfortunately a number of the jokes simply fell a bit flat. I also feel that other than knowing curtain was going to open in 7 minutes, the short lacked urgency as to what needed to be done before then. It seemed like last minute fluffing than desperation.

Vic Meyer is lonely and horny, and so orders an android to try and remedy her solution. Getting a little bit more than she bargained for, this was a really charming love story, complete with dating montage, good humour and segueway shots of a lovely house cat to vary the pacing. This was going to be a 6 or 7 but then I remembered you used my boy Disasteradio's music in the most awesome fashion as well as having a completely unnecessary star wipe which I was the only person in the cinema to laugh at :)

Childhood imaginary friends returned to try and help an adult Vic Meyer get to sleep. As each represented a different personality treat, they also explained/tried their own remedies and cures. I thought this had some real potential, but was a little bit too varied. If the idea was to reflect Vic's frustrating then you succeeded, but was hard to tell. Getting inside his inner thoughts really got the short going somewhere, but then it ended a bit abruptly.

Great editing as a bicycle riding sandman has his sleeping sand stolen by an insomniac crime lord. Clever dialogue, and good cheesy action sequences. Am I right in thinking that the "Made as part of Rialto 48 Hours" end credit was missing?

A space battle between a hippo and lizard team, and an robot opponent, leads to a crash and exploration of an alien planet. Full of wordplay throughout (some cringe inducing, some bellyache funny), mostly of a slightly sexual nature, it was good to see this team back in the competition.

A comical phone conversation between a French hitman and his boss, who complains about the difficulty of the job and the fact that the corpse is having *ahem* issues. The lead did a good job carrying the film, and he really had to considering there were less than 5 cuts from memory throughout. Kept it simple and got lots of laughs from the audience. Having it in French and dealing with the situation in broad daylight gave it quite a quirky tone.

Stuck to his computer game, this contrasted with some blaring imagery of colourful lights. I get that he was immobilised by online solitaire, but the contrasting imagery did not make sense at all as to what the repercussions of this were.

A woman tries to sabotage her husband's trip to Auckland for an interview that could possibly tear them apart if he gets the job. Due to the sabotage, it becomes a race against the clock to get to the airport. Your sound could have been better, but this was an entertaining domestic take on the genre.

Now this was a really nice film. Contemplative but engaging as a young couple struggle to deal with the guy's obsession, one he has held on to when he should possibly just let go. Had a heartfelt message, both actors did a fine job and the soundtrack was ace.

Well this team certainly had fun, but the guy with the huge HD camera who was apparently a team member recording the screen at the heat = WTF?!?! Anyway this was about the legend of Baldy Dice and how he made his fortune; an android who hid this fact from the public. That was the framework the story worked around but most of it was random conversations between people, trains, and smoking a joint in a truck. Happy go lucky and funny, but your team member is an egg.

Insomnity is a combination of insomnia and insanity, we are told. The rest of the film was a bunch of shots of creepy guys in masks and close ups on the boozy lead's crazy eyes. Well, other than the buzz saw carving with screams. Needed more plot development.

For some weird reason the voting form said musical which obviously confused me until I realised that it was an immobilised film by coming on the site today. Basically a psychological breakdown of our lead was examined, on a camera that gave super clear video; at least as good as the Red ONE from what I could tell. Real shame that you had poor hissing sound in some instances which kind of negated the awesome look for me. However the plot really didn't go anywhere.

[DQ] Piss horse is coming for you...mainly set at a frat house with exploding dicks, more exploding dicks, horse pissing, and a woman giving birth to a horse amongst visual atrocities committed to screen. As per usual this was more about the experience of the visual assault than the storyline, which was slightly weaker than previous years; I understand the revenge but given that a lot of the action had no direct connection to piss horse it made it all the more surreal.

After being let go from an interrogation, a woman and child make their escape through the woods. Meanwhile, a hunter has his eye set on shooting a turkey for some dinner. Deadly serious film, just felt like both stories needed a bit more development.

Vic Meyer's days all blur into one, we hear in voiceover, and then the rest of the film was him doing meandering activities whilst searching for a red sock. Could have done with some more technological involvement, or leanings towards a thriller as per genre requirements.

An Ed Sheeran loving girl falls in love with the neighbours' scooter, much to her mother's annoyance (and fair enough to, having just bought her a really nice car). The flowing hair shots on the scooter were nice, but obsessing over an inanimate object meant that this lacked dramatic impact, especially as we were not given clear reason for the preference when the girl appeared to have it good otherwise.

[DQ] Non dialogue didn't need to mean non sound. Because of the lack of sound or music, this one actually felt quite eery. Well done on the audience for being respectful as we silently watched a woman try to deal with her inability to sleep. Felt like there was something missing to tie everything together, because the note about not forgetting what she had done, whilst giving the film at least a little dramatic movement, was also underdone. Just watching someone sit around for most of the film reading a book and watching a hamster was a tad frustrating.

12 June 2013 REVIEW EDITED AFTER SECOND VIEWING AT WELLINGTON 48 HOURS FINAL (Fact I didn't 'get it' the first time I think points to the fact your film was unclear):

A high school reunion hookup aftermath film with a Tangerine-dream like score, mainly set in a parked car by the beach. A realistic portrayal of regret and hope, as two would be-lovers try quickly to make up for a lot of lost time. Coming in on the action after the drunken party and only letting the soundtrack try and convey emotion for any real conclusion felt flawed in my book. Reflecting now the film had a welcome change of pace right into the action, but I almost feel like Act 3 was missing, but then I'm assuming that you were going for a fly on the wall theatrical-type piece and letting the audience make their own conclusions. I think I "got it" this second time, but being held together by a soundtrack is always a dangerous thread to be hanging on.

16 June edit - drunk emotional irrelevant sections of the review removed.

Ok, so Wikipedia justifies that poetry is music. However the website did indicate with regards to this genre that it did want singing, but I can appreciate what you did. If I wasn't clear just now, the team went with poetry and a disclaimer at the start of the film, as well as choreographing the rhythm in the corner throughout the film for a picture in picture effect. Vic Meyer expressed her thoughts and feelings in some lovely poetry throughout the film, which was just her and nobody else. Some beautiful shots, but the same ideas that were established in the first couple of minutes (insomnia, loneliness) kept getting emphasised. The "count to 24" scene brought a lot of unintentional laughter from the audience. Props for being original, but yeah the organisers did say they wanted singing...

Psychotic flatmates, although the development of this was underdone. With a couple of red herrings such as police investigating a disturbance and one flatmate being presented as creepy, this went towards the crazy a bit abruptly and simplistically. The film worked better at the start with the creepy vibe and would have been better not to veer away.

[DQ] a human puppet takes us through a post apocalyptic Wellington (well, other than a couple of shots where cars were seen moving in long shots) as he waits for their return. You needed to have two separate stories at least, and only gave us one so therefore did not do your genre. Even if you had, whilst there were some nice shots it all was a bit meandering.

A chronicle of madness in the search to find a cure for substance V. Just being a scientist doesn't really qualify for the techno part of your genre. Carried by one actor, the team explored his madness and schizophrenia with focus on eyeballs and conversations with himself, as well as voices in his head. Needed a stronger plot; you could have used this mental descent but didn't really tie it together and it became tedious.

[DQ] and verrry sadly DQ at that, as this was the best out of competition short so far. I was promised an ambitious short, and it really delivered on that expectation. This had such an 80s vhs neon vibe that it was incredible. It was like the punk buddy cop version of Robocop, with our 4.2% cyborg feeling a strong sense of justice against the Mr. Big type character who made him the way he is. Not just vengeance though, but to protect the valuable quantum that scientists have been working on. Over the top and full of action and dodgy special effects [floating buddy robot, anyone?] and one liners, I loved it. Only minor gripe was the use of the same pun a few times but not an issue at all.

Title of Short: "The Since of Kung-Fu" (Genre Action/Adventure)

We are told that kung-fu is more of a science than cheap tricks and fancy moves, which worked well as an opening for this tale of revenge. Deliberately awful dubbed voices and fight scenes worked well, as well as an obligatory montage or 2. It felt a bit derivative of Kung Pow and Kill Bill, but still had its charms such as the hands in the fire and floating heads.

Drug dealers with an appetite for pies contemplate whether to try taking down their crime lord, whilst being on the run from the guy they nicked some special K from at the start of the film throughout. Decent rapport built up between the two leads, and of course hilarious when they got hungry and contemplated mince vs steak and cheese. I thought the story was a bit muddied and the payoff at the end abrupt.

Taken from bed, gagged, and mummified by two masked assailants, our lead struggles desperately to escape. Given the sinister approach those with masks take, it is easy to understand our lead's efforts (great performance by that guy). Tough genre, nice payoff. I liked how you at least tried to build a profile for the guy we followed on screen for most of the film, with the joke about the staplers a particular highlight.

After scanning space, the Earth Defence Force finds out that a threat is on the way which will kill us all in 24 hours. Luckily a super toddler may be able to save us all, reminiscent of 70s film The Visitor aka Stridulum. The head explosion self destruct was funny, but it seems (like last year) that you made a film to appeal to yourselves. This was better, but the constant repeated shots of the toddler were tedious.

Strong electrotherapy to cure insomnia. Sound a bit dangerous, doesn't it? And it proves that way when we are advised that if Vic Meyer doesn't wake up in 14 hours, she will sleep/walk forever. There were a few good lines, and ideas regarding conscious/subconscious behaviour, but I felt that some more character motivation was needed for the actions that we saw on screen.

I appreciate unsettling your audience. For me, to have an effective film that has this with its ultimate goal, you want to start on a level and then build towards the payoff. What this film did; an unpleasant tale of domestics gone awry, was to start negatively and finish in an unpleasant manner. This meant that our lead actor's swearing outbursts and violence felt a bit jarring. There were moments which indicated a more peaceful domestic situation, and his obsession could have been what gave rise to the situation, but the fact that they were only glanced at meant the actions felt unjustified on the whole.

[DQ] Possibly a contender for best soundtrack if you weren't disqualified. Four tales were aurally connected by a tranquil soundtrack. It appeared they all conveyed a certain emotion such as expression (the guitar player), innocence (the girl hugging the teddy bear), self-identification (the woman putting on makeup) and freedom (the jogger). Made you think, but I almost feel like the team was leaving it up to the audience too much, because whilst the experience was powerful, it did not really tell a story, which I feel is the whole point behind the competition.

It makes it hard to review when you're seeing an idea for the umpteenth time in a 48 hours year, having thought the previous teams were original, and yet the later entries may be the best of the bunch in terms of using that concept. This was the case here, with mistaken identity and criminals involved. Almost a double reunion film, it set out charmingly and quickly developed. Some nice visual touches, it was short and to the point.

So there have been some teams in the last few years that have gone very far in this competition making unusual or striking visual choices. This film was also visually very different, but the thing that separates the really good films is that they will still tell a very strong story. A lot of this film was pure eye candy, which makes giving a star rating kind of hard as I'm sure they nailed what they set out to achieve, but it felt like the unclear storyline did not engage the audience as much as it could have. I don't think I will ever forget the cat legs, though. Or the dream dancing with the lion and chief. Music was good, at least, but I personally found it a case of style over substance.

A bong fortune-cookie smoke up film that had major technical issues with the sound. Shot in Black and White for no apparent reason, given that the art direction did not emphasise the contrast that this stylistic choice offers. Seemed like the 'horror' was metaphorical, but the lack of a clear plot meant that this was hard to discern.

A late night infomercial addict, and an infomercial star with a few issues at the local TV studio have their lives chronicled back and forth, which led to some fantastic visual gags. The performance of the lead actress in particular was fantastic, and this had a huge crowd reponse. My only real issue bringing this film down was that I felt the resolution was entirely predictable, although the physical comedy made up for that.

A ripoff of the film Jumper, but done with a local charm. Set in the year 2078, a couple of cyber cops are sent to investigate recent illegal jumping activity [I'm pretty sure; the wall of text at the start was TL;DR]. Kept it real with locations including the racecourse stands, and the local dairy, you got good performances out of your young actors. I liked that you mixed up the tone with the serious guys (ending was a shock!) and the happy go lucky fishing kids. Just need to do an original idea next time.

Shot in Vienna, right? Pretty damn cool to see this, and explained the lack of 'kiwi' accents (if you want to be PC). I love me a good hammy 48 Hours film and this fit the bill to a tee, to the point of being a contender for best worst film, I think. An expert lecturer in Mozart takes the fight to her nemesis who is also looking for the famed lost sonata. The fact he has her husband kidnapped of course means that things are a bit more stressful than she would like, as she only has 3 days to find it or he is dead. Just a little bit too talky for my liking for an action/adventure.

Having said that, if they still had or have a most manic award, then your ginger haired villain would have to be near the top of the list.

From what I gathered, Vic Meyer visited a Tarot Card reader with the intention of curing his woes of being unable to sleep. As each card was presented, the description was then backed up on screen eg, financial troubles. I think you needed to explain what a cunniffe is, because that appeared to be a key plot point which was lost on the audience (I talked to several people). The warm colour scheme was nice at times, but there were also a couple of tech glitches such a director sound remaining in used takes for the final film.

Good script had a couple of guys tied to a chair, sending out a call for help that produced some cracking dialogue between themselves and two farm women. "Txt that you're a little bit kidnapped" = very funny. Exploding sheep and revelations kept the plot ticking along, I was really loving this until the ending, as I felt that your insomniac Vic Meyer was quite weak in terms of the character trait.

After getting bored watching TV (please don't use actual TV footage in future, it's a big no-no under the competition rules), the chance to win $500k suddenly gets Vic Meyer excited and he races towards Wellington Town Hall to try and collect. I sat in wide eyed amazement as our lead shuffled his bdsm gear to the side of the kitchen bench before picking up his keys. Just about the whole thing was shot POV, and whilst there were some nice shots, the editing needed some work especially as geographical continuity errors in Wellington are a bit of a bugbear. At least you stuck to your genre.

Hyper-kinetic warriors must deal with the repercussions of a new companion making their 2 a 3, who grows very attached after their life is saved in the woods. I did not want to peel my eyes away from the screen for a second as the film moved with the pace of a bullet train. Like a comic book come to life, we were greeted with bold colours and daring camera work.

I was reminded of many films; Shogun Assassin, Princess Bride and the 36th Chamber of Shaolin immediately coming to mind but this was an original beast all of its own with that incomparable Moffilaide touch. With some fantastic special effects the quest to return to the warrior's sensei many miles away may just be the best film these boys have made. Fantastic.

Great time lapse shot of Wellington to start; one of the most beautiful images I have seen so far in the competition. From here the team presented a nice cinematic vision (contrast pumped up) of a man coming to grips with the fact that he may not be human. Also nice sound design and the lead actor had good screen presence, although the film ended a bit abruptly.

Ok, I get what you do here by interpreting that monologue did not qualify as dialogue. However in future years if you are given a non-standard genre I would highly recommend reading the website, which gives you examples and often explains what the organisers are looking for/do not want you to do. Narration of non dialogue was clearly stated as not being acceptable.

Ignoring that fact, a non sleeping Vic Meyer told us of how her relationships have developed over the years, and why a particular boy really piqued her interest. I liked the jokes that contrasted her idealised view of him versus what we saw ie, nice small = crooked teeth and date night = Xbox. More of this would have been good, but in a way that qualified under your genre.

Having parted ways following a defeat in a 2009 Tiddlywinks championship game, this mockumentary followed the process of a team reunion to try and take down reigning champ Vic Meyer. I do not like Talking Heads in 48 Hours as it means people can just describe rather than show events. The other issue is that if you describe character traits then you should really actually back that up when said character turns up on screen. I felt this short would have improved without the talking heads as it would have allowed the characters to develop more naturally. The talking got to the point of being tedious.

Big pat on the back for really getting stuck in and giving this genre a go. Obviously you didn't have access to the pro recording gear that some teams may have, but the fact that 90% of your film was sung does get my respect. Basically the head tenant calls a meeting to try and sort out some major flat issues, which get responses of the musical variety. I think there were three key things to this short that would have improved it; firstly, some dynamic action by having actors/camera movement rather than sitting around. Secondly, moving away from your flat as a shooting location, or if you do shoot in your flat then you need to add some eye catching visuals to make it stand out. Third, towards the end when you mixed all the songs together they did not seem to harmonise so perhaps stick to one at a time (although if that had come together it would have been great).

Mental deterioration horror, as the lack of sleep snaps the conscience of our central protagonist. It was more than that though, as the absence of parental figures and sibling rivalry got explored although those areas were both kind of glossed over. I thought you had some fantastic shots into the mirrors with the lead actress playing the duel angel/devil personas really well.

A board game playing syndicate has high stakes, that increase when Vic Meyer arrives to the party. Full of puns on popular creations by the likes of Hasbro, Jenga etc this team simply went with one idea and ran full steam ahead. Some hissing sound distracked, but the guerrilla approach was really entertaining. I think the hierarchial structure and importance of change could have been examined a bit more though, as the convergence of stories was a bit weak.

I'm trying to think of something constructive to say about this film, and I appear to have noted a nice shot regarding blood in the shower, so I'd recommend going and watching some Brian de Palma and Dario Argento before next year's comp in case you get this genre again. I know the team got horror, but given I've seen more than a few of them over the years, it would also be nice to not see a female brutally killed in 48 Hours for supposedly having wronged a lead male actor. The unfunny toilet humour joke that was repeated didn't help things. There seemed to have been some light in his memories of her; perhaps go for the psychological aspect next time without said violence against women? It might have all been a dream, but given so many teams are using the insomnia as a cop out to do this, I'm not buying that.

The best horror films I've seen this year have been creepy or reversed the tables for the women in them. Men going crazy and killing women is just frustrating, not scary in this competition. Sorry I'll stop ranting.

Contrasting stories between 2 crooks on the run and a scientific videographer/tv show naturist. The recent escapees built up some good rapport as buddies, but ended up being quite mean spirited. I guess that's acceptable given how strung out they would be in real life. The guy getting footage of worms had much better screen presence, although the same joke was used a few two many times. The convergence really felt abrupt which is what brought the rating down.

A couple of flatmates try to deal with their issues; one a computer hacker and the other just having had a brain implant to try and help him sleep. Some fantastic camera angles from way up high in the corner of bedrooms, but the spazzing out towards the end possibly could have done with some restraint. I also felt there was great potential for a cross between the two storylines, but it seemed like they just existing alongside each other until the end.

In a way this could have been construed as a returning vet film, given that most of the film was fire and duck/run military action in the woods with the contrast bumped way up on the images presented. Not a lot else happened, and could have benefited with some originality. I also think your final plot point could have been developed or mixed in earlier.

[DQ] Pretty sure I recall this team actually making use of the left/right channels for their sound design which was a nice touch for the voiceover narration at the start, because usually it's a bit of a tired way to get things rolling. This one just got better and better though, full of puns as the case of the missing sandwich was looked into by one flatmate who clearly saw themselves as a bit of a Humphrey Bogart figure. Not just puns but some genuinely good jokes, with the exceptionally long description of the missing food itself a particular highlight.

First film so far where pretty much the entire thing was shot POV. An immobilised child gets taken care of; dressed, fed and even has their birthday cake candles blown out for them...but they long to be free and go outside. I liked the ballsy approach to shoot the whole thing this way but the story really didn't develop as it could have. This was partly because of the whole thing being POV we did not see the negative reaction towards being immobilised.

In Slovakia, Eastern Europe, a couple with access to nuclear launch codes are held tied up and captive by a terrorist who threatens to torture them again unless he gets the numbers he needs for a strike. Clearly shot footage (nothing really striking though, it was mainly shot/reverse shot couple tied to chairs versus villain in the shadows) and a couple of name actors, but not really a Race against the Clock film at all.

OK, I really like what you guys do, but for the second consecutive year (last year you were official DQ and I remember hearing Skrillex - Bangarang, this year your film played and I guess if it plays it stays) you have used copyrighted material in your film. I'm talking the 20 seconds or so footage from the videogame 'Moto GP' at the start. Only docking you to an 8/10 though (would have been a 9)

A cracking trippy start leads to the examination of a polyamorous three-way relationship where both a guy and a girl obsess over Vic Meyer. Bonding over motorcycles, coffee and cinema, this felt like a divine mix between the 60s French New Wave and a modern music video, but with emotional power.

Great audio jokes abounded as a relaxation Android gets unpacked and tries every setting it knows in order to please its master. The actress who played the android did a fantastic job and I have just cracked up again laughing whilst writing this review thinking about those whale sounds.

A deadly serious take on the aftermath of someone passing away. Quite a draining film as one by one friends and family offer up their condolences for the loss. The film looked nice in terms of clear shots and appropriate framing, but the barren flat was bland. The fact we started on a low and ended on a low meant that the emotional resonance was not quite as strong as it could have been had there been cause and effect involved. Nice effort from a first time team, though.

A life of solitude that has been deeply ingrained by social awkwardness since high school. This focused a bit too much on meandering daily activities, and went for the horror/revenge route a bit too simplistically. I felt it had real potential given show sombre our lead was made to appear, so it was disappointing that it all ended so suddenly and obviously.

It takes a lot of care to build a birdhouse, but greedy crows should be careful, especially if the master of the house is a bit of a ruthless gangster with sold skills using a hammer. A brave performance by the lead actor who sure can hold a note. Only really one song, but it sure did deliver. Seemed a little bit lo fi at first with a sinister acapella build but then bust out into a full on Busy Berkley inspired jazz number with blood red being the defining colour rather than black and white.

James Nokise is a funny man, and he carried this film rather excellently. As a government consultant, he is faced with the hard task of trying to raise more money through schools initiatives. Singing about how two birds can be hit with one stone by putting pokies in schools, he gets a conscience attack from old politicians on parliament grounds. All of this is of course conveyed through song, and whilst some of the lyrics were a bit muddied, the gist was good and any time that a line needed to be heard the team made sure it was.

"I'm an insomniac" just sounds funny when adult teams do this. This was about a P.I. searching for a missing girl to reunite with her twin sister. The only thing is, you kind of made the reunion anticlimactic by showing the audience a bit too much. If someone is missing, it pays to keep them missing if the reunion scene is going to be your payoff.

In preparation for his girlfriend's birthday, our lead tries every conceivable idea that they can come up with in order to make her the perfect present, only for him to fail miserably in a comic manner. Made a good fist of the genre by throwing a lot of energy at the screen, the script, for lack of a better word, was a lot of fun. Lead actor had a lot of charm and I noted a nice original score. A couple of minor tech issues and a bit simplistic, but very enjoyable.

Absolutely gonzo camerawork here folks! Having made his money by designing when androids were just coming into fashion, a beekeeper buys his own model to work as a friendship companion. Most of the film was just buddies hanging out, with the insane camerawork like I said. Amazing jump off the wharf guys, so I'm bumping you up a star because of that.

A ghost (everything from their angle told via POV) obsesses about the perfect new guy in her flat, but he doesn't quiet see things the same way and so gets a ghost doctor/Shaman in to try and help him get rid of the spirit. This started poorly but really built well, with some fantastic bright colours highlighting the action when it came time for the showdown. The shaman stole the show with his facepaint and wild acting.

Name of Short: "The World" (Race Against the Clock Genre)

[DQ] A guy plays a videogame where he gets to create the word, but the first time he plays a woman who is a glitch enters the system and won't leave him alone. The relationship develops, but I felt this was more of a techno thriller than anything. Contained some nice early morning shots of Wellington but could have done with some more character development.

This gave me flashbacks to a film called 'The Manipulator aka BJ Lang Presents'. This is not a good thing. After capturing and sewing up two guys and a girl as human puppets, it is time for us to sit back and watch the show put on by the lead actress who is in control of the actors and the cinema audience. The makeup she put on the captives was creepy at first, and the sewn mouth still is come to think of it, but it got tedious quickly.

Best kidnapping for a stag do, ever, says the old timer running on fumes. Apart from the fact that the wrong guy possibly may have been nabbed, he's got a good point. This was just full of energy, short and to the point.

I saw you had some decent gear in your intro, so not quite sure what happened with your motion problems; possibly an issue outputting in 25 frames? There was some excellent comedic back and forthing between a brother and sister 'taken your pills?' - 'nup.' but other than that, this tale of a girl who would do anything to impress her first date (after being stood up the last couple of times) was ok. It needed more action, or more adventure, or ideally a combination of both. You hit some genre troupes such as the one liners and running from baddies but needed more.

Domestics lead into some very dangerous online gambling, because rather than sell the family house or abandon his wife and daughter, our lead decides to partake in a life/death shoot out. I'd probably need to watch this again to make my mind up on your stylistic choices, but by and large I think they worked because it differentiated the gambling from the real world.

[DQ] I came incredibly close to not putting up a review of this film. I thought I missed something the second time we watched it, but if I did then so did the 6 or 7 other people I talked to who also thought the only noticeable difference was a slight chance of pacing at the start and some added music at the end reminiscent of Vertigo. * If you weren't at the heat the wrong file played; the team were in competition but chose to DQ themselves and hand in a 'better' version for artistic integrity and thus we watched the 'correct' version at the end of the heat.
...onto the film...

A young woman on the edge losing her will to live in the present day is contrasted with an old couple who have just received what likes like a standard television set in the 60s (?), but after playing around with the receiver for a bit is shown to be more than its initial appearance. The team went for a slightly meta approach in terms of the convergence of the storylines. Well acted, well shot. I personally think you should have stayed in the competition but appreciate that is entirely up to you.

Nicely picked spacey sounding music selected from Big Bang and Fuzz complimented this short very well, I thought. After a radio report of women going missing, we follow Victoria who is clearly upset by the goings on, and her friend even more so. Ordinarily I hate wake up/breakfast and coffee shots to start films but you had a really good vibe going. Creepy neighbour was suitably creepy. You did a good job of going for the show rather than tell approach, but in this instance the ending was quite abrupt.

Probably the best horror film I've seen so far this year. A sinister looking box has quite severe consequences when a couple of young lads decide to open it up. Why is it full of strange looking photographs? This left a lot up to the audience to interpret and was much the better for it. Neat visual effects and make up, well shot and a creepy atmosphere throughout. Thumbs way up.

Slow discovery for an android that they are in fact an android, and beginning to malfunction the pacing was all over the place but the lead actress had good screen presence. What appears to be a basic website built over the actual weekend was a neat touch. I understand that androids are not human and therefore a negative discovery for them doesn't logically need an emotional response, but I felt you needed to mitigate the anger a bit better upon discovery of the fact.

Well framed story arc of infatuation that neatly showed how young love can easily become a bit over the top through misinterpretation. Cookies, cards and stalking by the dozen. You quiet cleverly had the lead actress borderline breaking the fourth wall, but it meant we saw how singular she was. Thus when friendships had to be examined it actually had some good weighting to it.

I think this might be my favourite script of the entire competition so far. Three days out from her 18th birthday, a girl decides she hasn't lived enough of her life and draws up a pre-adulthood bucket list. This is of course to prevent a midlife crisis in future that is bound to happen due to the human body clock. So what could be on this list? Boys, partying, rebelling...and "exploring self-identification". Just wow. I thoroughly enjoyed this and think you should win best teen film this year; your comic timing is amazing.

I see this being noted as being an 'Immobilised' film but my notes are really lacking anything that highlighted how you explored that angle, and making sure your film is identifiable as its given genre should be one of the first things an audience is able to pick up on with 48 Hours. Friends tried their best to help out a depressed/immobilised Vic Meyer. A great POV shot from the basin, but really needed a stronger narrative arc.

Life is a cycle that is like living an asylum, proclaims our protagonist, a seemingly innocuous voiceover at the start of the film that has far greater ramifications when you reflect on the events that unfold over the rest of the film. DAMN shame about the lights in the theatre being stuffed up for this one; sorry guys! (It wasn't my fault, something to do with an alarm being tripped). I saw in your intro you were shooting on a DSLR and whoever was your DOP did an excellent job + the grading was lovely. We followed assassins with one really strung out due to lack of sleep and determined to get his kill at any cost. Beautiful and took the risky serious approach. A little bit bland though for the most part but worked great when you went into dark comedy near the end and so think it would have benefited to explore that angle a bit more.

Super-hyper start to the film piqued my attention, this had a couple of really fantastic shots and lighting as well as some good stunt work. However it also completely ripped off Hitman. You definitely have a great eye for style, so try and come up with something a bit more original next time.

Videogame addiction altering the ability to sleep, made me worried we were going the exact same route as a number of teams this year but then all of a sudden we had a time travel angle added! Good concept, but felt like you stood around and talked a bit too much. I'd also recommend staying away from windy areas if you are going to shoot on camera sound in Wellington.

We were warned before the film played that the team would take revenge on us for given them musical, so I embraced myself for some cringe and yet found myself really enjoying a charming little film. It was very random and sporadic, as Vic Meyer tried to find a cure to help them sleep complete with some Eyes Wide Shut masks and ballroom dancing. I hate bagpipes but their use was perfect comedic timing. The 'Ron Weasley' credit also brought a laugh.

Cranial muffin does not really sound very endearing, and neither did it to our central protagonist when the very mention of the words took him to some dark, cannibalistic places with his ex in the back of his memory vault. I felt a real sense of unease throughout the film, which I’m hoping is what the team wanted to convey.

This team gave me that feeling of being just a little bit too confident in their intro, however they delivered a good film so I'll forgive them for that. Two soldiers were sent back in time to try and stop a mad scientist from unleashing the prevention of sleep as we know it the world over. A basic framework, but one that allowed the team to essentially make a buddy film full of jokes, although personally many of them fell fat but I still appreciated the jovial spirit presented on screen. One of the better Vic Meyer's so far, with quite dastardly aspirations in fact.

Police try to solve a murder case of a strangled old man whilst an unwell old lady tells toilet jokes to her hospital attendant. The two stories intertwined well, although quite simplistically. Some of the deadpan dialogue brought laughs, such as casually knocking on a woman's door and casually telling her "just here to talk about a recent murder". I think the one thing it lacked would have been motivation for the killer, but that might have made things a bit complex.

A 'breather' prepares to confront 3 Androids, and in preparation tells verrry detailed stories of his previous freedom fighting/cases that he dealt with. I was going to say there were some nice sound design touches but then I remembered that the levels were loud to the point of making me grate my teeth. Definitely needed to show rather than tell much more than it did, I was looking forward to the showdown but instead got one tinny raygun shot before the end.

A martial arts teacher shuts down his dojo after an accidental death under his watch, and the rest of the film was mostly about his mental anguish/fighting other warriors in his dreams. Despite the disclaimer that this would be the most random film we'd see in 48 hours this year I'd disagree as I've already seen my fair share of animal outfits and ninjas this year. It was actually relatively straightforward compared to a lot of other films, with some nice shots, it was just very tedious. Given the martial arts training at the beginning it would have been nice to see some proper martial arts fighting given you had action as your genre.

[DQ] A very bad couple of days are chronicled for our lead actor, who goes from having a girlfriend and thinking he was going to have a nice enjoyable day hunting, to not really being in the same mindset by the end of the film. I understand that the narration came whilst said lead was immobilised, but most of the on-screen action was not in that situation. Difficult call I guess as the genre could be interpreted as being an end result whereas in my mind the idea would be immobilisation for the majority of on-screen action. Technically good for the most part as per usual, and the dog did a great job.

Representing Palmy with pride, this had a great setup of the discovery of betrayal and someone being told to simply run for their life as they were going to be hunted. I love human hunt films as the danger seems so much more real, but after the fantastic start, the horror element basically went missing. Well shot, poor sound but I felt it needed to do more to actually give us some tension once the hunt started (sorry for harping on about the same point)

Fate or obsession? Sometimes a difficult question to answer, as a seemingly innocuous relationship gathers steam pretty damn quick at least on one end. Kept ramping up the obsession at a suitable pace until (in my mind) a homage to 'Heathers' brought things to a fitting conclusion. Both leads were excellent.

A teen team explored gambling addiction here and the distance it can put between people, as well as its highs and lows. There were some really good harmonies in your music, but live on camera sound for singing is generally a bad idea, because the lack of clarity meant I had a hard time distinguishing the lyrics. A couple of neat editing effects.