Drama at awards dominated by TV

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Television usually dominates the AFTAs. Photo / Michael Craig
Television usually dominates the AFTAs. Photo / Michael Craig

One of the glitziest events of the year will lose some of its brightest stars when New Zealand's movie industry pulls out of the Aotearoa Film and Television Awards.

Insatiable Moon director Mike Riddell said it had got to a stage where the country's top film talent felt they "did not belong" at the event.

"It's a different community of people and a different philosophy," he said. "There's much more commercial imperative in television."

Rawiri Paratene, who last year won Best Actor in a Feature Film for his role in Insatiable Moon, had been reluctant to attend.

"He can't stand them," Riddell said. "New Zealand film punches above its weight in the world, but the TV people swan in and film gets lost in this great sea of television razzmatazz."

Campbell Live host and AFTA award winner John Campbell said putting the two disciplines into one evening was always an "odd and contrived marriage".

"It would be like putting rugby and rugby league into one ceremony," he said.

Nevertheless, Campbell enjoyed rubbing shoulders with those in the film industry.

After key sponsor Qantas withdrew most of its funding last year, the AFTAs continued under the guardianship of industry groups Screen Directors' Guild and ThinkTV.

ThinkTV chief executive Rick Friesen said he would continue the television portion of the awards.

He said changes had been made over the past three years in an attempt to make sure both industries got "their time in the sun". This included announcing the finalists for the two sections on different days.

But Screen Directors' Guild director Anna Cahill said this week that the awards soaked up too much time.

The guild wanted to focus on its regular business of supporting local film directors.

She said it was the responsibility of the entire film industry to come up with an alternative and many people received overseas opportunities after a big win.

- Herald on Sunday

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