The Tamil Short Movie Association of New Zealand (TASMANZ) on Saturday, July 7, screened a set of eight amazing short films at the TASMANZ Short Film Festival at the Bruce Ritchie Performing Arts Centre in Massey, North Shore.

TASMANZ, now in its fourth year has extended a platform for new faces to showcase their talents on the big screen be it directing the film, shooting it, writing stories, music or post-production work. 

A total of eight short films were selected for the final screening, to be judged by a panel of internationally recognised judges from the entertainment industry. The rules for the festival were that the whole film should be produced in New Zealand by artists in New Zealand, in the Tamil language with a time restriction of 12 minutes as per international short film submission standards.

The film festival has grown exponentially over the last four years with more number of registrations for the films and increased footfall at the award night of the film festival. 

"The concept behind TASMANZ was to provide the local talents from the Tamil community and tell their stories through a short film. As migrants, we are all engaged in different professions, and we all have so many stories to share, and TASMANZ gives the people the opportunity to exhibit their talents," Amuthini Prasanna, one of the founding members of TASMANZ told The Indian Weekender.

"It is not just that we want only good films, we want people to take a chance and try doing something they may not have done before, out of passion, or even hobby and we have seen amazing results in the last few years, including 2018," Ms Prasanna added.

Kishani Dineshverma, who made her directorial debut at TASMANZ Film Festival in 2018, expressed her excitement as a director making a film with the help of her family and friends which was nominated as one of the top four films in the festival this year.

"Last year I acted in one of the short films, but this year I donned the directorial hat getting my family members to help me making the film, right from investing, story writing, to shooting, music and post production etc.," Ms Dineshverma said.

The registrations for the films start in December every year, and the participants are given six months to produce a 12-minute film. There is no restriction on the genre of the film, but the movie needs to certainly have censorship to make the movie appropriate for all audience.

The participants in the competition also get a chance to attend different workshops organised by TASMANZ to polish their skills and work on their production. 

Once the films are submitted to TASMANZ who forward the films to the judging panel, and who decide the winners in different categories judging the submissions across several parameters. 

TASMANZ hosts the film festival in July every year where all the eight submissions are screened to the audience and the winners announced in different categories towards the end of the event.

The TASMANZ Short Films Festival hosts the gala night like any other award show with glamour including an excellent red-carpet arrangement, entertainment, showbiz with food and drinks. "This year we had more than an overwhelming response from the community as people signed up on our page and asked for the tickets for the award night event. We had to pull tickets from our friends to sell it to the community members," Ms Prasanna added.

The founders of the film festival will soon gear up in the preparations for the 2019 competition as they look forward to having more participants coming in and with a goal to incorporate short films in other languages such as Malayalam, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu, etc. to participate and make it a much bigger event in Auckland's annual entertainment calendar. 

This year, a total of 15 awards were given under different categories, such as best cinematographer, sound director, production design (set, costume, make up), concept dialogue besides the best short film, lead actors, director, screenplay, editor etc.

These short films competing in TASMANZ film festival are also submitted in an international short film festival International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) where the films compete against 80+ short films submitted from different countries such as France, Russia, Australia, India, besides others.

The prospects for the filmmakers or actors or young talents associated with TASMANZ are enormous for some members depending on their passion and inclination to continue working in the entertainment industry. Some of the filmmakers, in the recent past, have secured projects in mainstream media working on telefilms and even local productions.

One of the best aspects of TASMANZ besides giving the community a stage to perform is unearthing new talents, both amateurs and professionals and giving them their subdued or hidden talents a face and create new storytellers for the world.