Papamoa's Jonathan Gesthuizen has won a major award at an international film festival.
Mr Gesthuizen's short film Ice Cold, which he said was about love conquering all, has won the Best Foreign Film category at the Action on Film festival in Los Angeles.
The film was a love story about a guy and a girl, with the tagline "love conquers all". It touched on taboo subjects relevant in today's world.
Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times from Los Angeles, Mr Gesthuizen said the atmosphere at the festival was "prestigious, surreal, exciting and intimidating all at the same time".
"Although it was a glitzy event with high production value, money doesn't always prevail, as a $70,000 film won an award in the same category over another with a $20 million budget. It's all about getting the story across and how well you can get your audience to engage with the characters."
Mr Gesthuizen said he felt honoured and excited about how this award would assist him to make a full-length feature of the film, which he has written.
"It was great to be recognised by my film peers. There was a lot of high level competition from films I really enjoyed watching and was humbled by."
He said the win would help him gain traction in the other festivals he would be attending soon, the Tokyo On-Line Lift Off festival, Access Code India festival, and Eurofest in St Petersburg, Russia.
His family was proud of his win and excited about the possibilities this raised.
"They now can see my vision to follow this dream as a full-time career. I have thoroughly enjoyed the festival.
"By meeting similar-minded writers and film-makers, I realise I'm not as crazy as I thought I may have been by embarking on this journey."