15 December 2022 at 11:00 am

Creative rangatahi showcased at the New Zealand Youth Film Festival

Lights, camera, action! The winners of the inaugural New Zealand Youth Film Festival (NZYFF) were revealed at an Academy Award-inspired gala evening at Auckland Institute of Technology (AUT) last week.   

From left to right: Best International Student Film finalists Loyd Doron, Jaeyun Han and Richard Sun

Seventeen-year-old Jaeyun Han, an international student at Newlands College, Wellington, bagged the award for Best International Student Film. Han, from Korea, won the award for his film ‘Him’ - a dark tale of jealousy, obsession, and unrequited love. 

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) sponsored the Best International Student Film category of the awards, with ENZ General Manager Sector Services Sahinde Pala presenting the winner’s award. 

Sahinde Pala presenting the award to Jaeyun Han with festival founder Ryan Chow looking on

“We warmly congratulate Jaeyun.    

“ENZ is pleased to support the International Student Film award and the film festival for the wonderful platform they offer young people to share their stories and collaborate. The festival is a great way to showcase what New Zealand offers as a film and creative study destination, and ultimately helps grow connections between international students and New Zealanders,” Sahinde said. 

“I was blown away by the talent of all the students involved, they will have bright careers if they choose to enter the film industry. Jaeyun’s storyline, coupled with sophisticated editing and camerawork, made for a gripping and unforgettable film.” 

The winning Best International Student Film ‘Him’ being shown at the award ceremony

Jaeyun was one of three final nominees, all of whom were invited to an industry experience day exploring TVNZ, Department of Post and AUT last week, ahead of the awards.  

The competition was judged by leaders in the industry. Marvel Studios Director of Technology Katie Hinsen, Weta Digital Visual Effects Associate Producer Jeremy Hollis, and Professor Welby Ings from AUT made the final decisions.

Judges Jeremy Hollis and Katie Hinsen congratulating Jaeyun Han alongside Sahinde Pala and Ryan Chow

“A teacher at school encouraged me to enter the festival and I didn’t think I had a chance of winning. This is such a surprise and an honour,” Jaeyun said. 

He received a $500 cash prize and mentorship session with New Zealand cinematographer Phillip A.T Smith, who has worked on notable films such as ‘Mad Max Fury Road’, ‘Dune’ and ‘District 9’.  

From left to right: ENZ Student Experience Manager Ross Crosson, festival founder Ryan Chow, Senior Advisor Student Experience Faymie Li and Sahinde Pala

NZYFF is founded by Ryan Chow, an international student from Canada studying towards a Bachelor of Business and a Bachelor of Communications Studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). 

Ryan is passionate about providing an opportunity for youth to have their work celebrated and connecting them with industry professionals to kick-start their careers, which is how NZYFF came to be founded. 

Jaeyun’s film is available to view here, and the other nominated films are available to view on the NZYFF website here. 

Trophies presented to the category winners

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