New Zealand film industry heads are distancing themselves from a new festival and awards ceremony being held in September.

But the organiser of the event has defended it, saying it could be the start of big things.

The New Zealand Film Awards is scheduled to be held in Newmarket's Rialto complex on September 7 between 5-10pm.

It promises to "showcase local and international independent filmmakers" during its five-hour show, followed by an award presentation.

Advertisement

But the event has caused controversy, with the organiser of the similarly titled New Zealand Film Awards - dubbed "The Moas" - speaking out about it.

In a scathing Facebook post, Ant Timpson warned local filmmakers not to get involved, accusing it of being a scam.

"Just ignore them," he warned. "If you fall for it you really only have yourselves to blame."

But Irina McCready, the event's local co-ordinator, told the Herald she didn't know "what the fuss was about".

"I don't quite understand why publicity is so negative," she said. "There was no attempt to get in touch with us. I've reviewed all my communications, no one's said, 'What's up?'

"Seriously, accusing us of being a Nigerian scam? That's uncalled for."

McCready said it was a "small event" similar to several she'd run in the past few years.

"We've done three closed events over the last couple of years. This one is open ... it's quite informal. It's meant to be an opportunity for filmmakers to display their work and for audience (members) to ask questions of the filmmakers."

The title of the festival was "entirely coincidental" but she agreed it could have had more thought put into it.

"There are a number of ways to name a festival. Having read those comments I do realise maybe the name was unfortunate, but that's the way we named it."

McCready said she was currently selecting which films would screen at the event, and a festival programme would be released shortly.

She was also working on an Australian festival for 2018.

When contacted, the New Zealand Film Commission and the New Zealand International Film Festival said they had no involvement with McCready's event.

In response Timpson said: "If it smells like a turd and it looks like a turd, it's probably a turd."