A New Zealand television drama series has won the top prize at a film festival in the United States.
Kaitangata Twitch, which begins screening on Maori Television on May 2, beat out international competition to win the Platinum Award at the 2010 WorldFest in Houston, Texas.
The family drama, based on the book by Margaret Mahy, tells the story of a 13-year-old girl and a mysterious island, Kaitangata, where a girl vanished without a trace 50 years earlier.
Executive producer Yvonne Mackay, an episodic director for other New Zealand dramas including The Insider's Guide to Happiness, collected the award at the Grand Awards Gala.
"Winning the top award at Worldfest is a wonderful acknowledgement of the range and depth of the NZ talent brought together to make this flagship drama for its debut on Maori Television, and a continuing belief that strong New Zealand stories can and will inform and entertain children and families worldwide," she said.
Mackay said the awards ceremony was exciting, despite about 50 winners being unable to attend because of travel disruptions relating to the Iceland volcano.
"The festival is enormous - there are so many categories. At the dinner, because it's only for the winners, you're sitting there with top talents from a wide variety of genres: feature film, music video, television, corporate."
WorldFest was founded in 1961 and its previous participants have included top directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Ridley Scott.