The Amiri & Aroha Blog
The Official Blog for David Whittet's Novel and Film Trilogy

Press Release - The Prestige Film Awards

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Today we released our press release following the success of Amiri & Aroha at the Prestige Film Awards.

This prestigious award has come at an opportune moment and proved a great stimulus as we near completion of principal photography for the Amiri & Aroha trilogy.

Read our press release here.

Amiri & Aroha wins a Prestige Film Award!

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Amiri & Aroha has won an award in the Prestige Film Awards, a major film competition in California USA!

Whilst working late preparing tomorrow’s shoot for Rere’s Children, I received the following message from the organisers of the Prestige Film Awards:

“Congratulations! You have won a Prestige Film Award! You can be justifiably proud of winning a Prestige Film Award. The judging standards are high and winning means the technique and imagination exhibited by your entry is outstanding and stands above other productions. Your winning entry will be listed on The Prestige website within a few days.”

The continued success of the original Amiri & Aroha film on the international film festival circuit is fantastic news for us as we complete the trilogy. The Prestige award follows our success in the Best Shorts and Accolade competitions and we are confident that the forthcoming release of Amiri’s Child and Rere’s Children will continue to captivate film festival audiences.

Teaser Trailer for Amiri & Aroha at the International Movie Trailer Festival

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The Amiri & Aroha teaser trailer at the International Movie Trailer Festival

The atmospheric new overture afforded the opportunity to make a dazzling teaser trailer for Amiri & Aroha. The purpose of the new opening for Amiri & Aroha was to draw the audience into the film, using Tia’s music as a waiata (a Māori greeting), and a montage of dramatic images in the cauldron of Kōkā’s crystal ball.

What better way to grasp the attention of a potential audience with a unique and visual stunning teaser trailer?

I am delighted that the new teaser has been successful in its own right and has been accepted in the International Movie Trailer Festival.

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You can view the new teaser trailer for Amiri & Aroha here

Amiri & Aroha wins 4 Star Award at the British International Amateur Film Festival

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Amiri & Aroha has won a 4 Star Award at the 2012 British International Amateur Film Festival.

The festival organizers describe criteria for the 4 Star Award winning films as: “exceptionally well-made, entertains, makes us care / learn / think.”

The British International Amateur Film Festival (BIAFF) is particularly valuable as written feedback is provided for all entrants. It is especially pleasing for me to receive this recognition as I was a regular participant in this festival throughout the eighties and early nineties, and won the trophy for the Best Video of the festival with For Grandma in 1985.

Amiri & Aroha wins two more International Awards in the Accolade Competition!

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We have won another two prestigious awards in international competition. Amiri & Aroha has an Award of Merit in two categories in the Accolade Competition, for Short Film and for Concept.

According to the Competition organizers, “Awards go to those filmmakers, television producers, videographers and new media creators who produce fresh, standout productions. It is a showcase for cinematic gems and unique voices. The Accolade recognizes producers, established and emerging, who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. Undiscovered and first-time producers are often recognized.

“It’s a given that filmmakers want to gain as many viewers as possible. The Accolade is an award well known to buyers and distributors. Winning an Accolade gives buyers and distributors the confidence that your production is of high quality. The Accolade is an award recognized for its rigorous evaluation process.

“This competition is designed to help winners achieve the recognition and viewers they deserve. Accolade staffers frequently share distribution ideas and industry contacts that help promote the careers of the winning filmmakers. The Accolade helps generate publicity and buzz. The Accolade has a strong online presence and shines the spotlight on top winners at The Accolade website and via press releases to a list of over 25,000 industry professionals.”

Amiri & Aroha Wins Award at the Best Shorts Competition

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We have won an Award of Merit award in the prestigious Best Shorts Competition for Amiri & Aroha.

The Best Shorts is an awards competition that recognizes the achievements of short filmmakers worldwide. This is a fantastic result for us, bringing the film to a much wider audience and providing exposure in the key Hollywood market. The Best Shorts competition team are really dedicated to promoting the film careers of their award winners.

I received a delightful letter from the Competition Chairperson, Dr Thomas Baker, who wrote: “You can be justifiably proud of winning Best Shorts honors. The judging standards are high and winning means the craft and creativity exhibited by your entry is outstanding and stands above other productions.”

Read the Press Release.

Fine Tuning for Film Festival Screenings

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Most film festivals accept entries as a work in progress and understand that some further editing and fine-tuning of the film will be required before the festival screening.

It is now two months since those hectic all night editing sessions to complete the film in time for the competition deadlines. This has given me a chance to reflect on the film and sharing it with audiences has provided some new insights. Editing a special version for the Worldwide Short Film Festival also demonstrated areas where tightening the editing will strengthen the film.

I have concentrated on enhancing three principal sequences: the protest march montage, the introduction to the Marae ceremony, and Matakite's revelations superimposed on her crystal ball.


In today's podcast video, you can see a rough cut for my revision of the sequence, which introduces the scene at the Marae where Aroha and Hunapo are pledged to each other in a tattooing ceremony.

A key change is restoration of the scene where Maahanga, Hunapo's father, curses both the families for the arranged marriage; he is a lone dissenting voice at the celebrations.

Entry to the World Wide Short Film Festival

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Today I shipped our entry to the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival which is held in Toronto in May/June 2011.

The festival requires entries to be no longer than 40 minutes, so I had to create a specially edited version of the film for this competition, shaving 7 minutes from the running time. Whilst this presented some difficult challenges, some areas were definitely improved by tightening the editing and I will bring these changes to the full length version.

The Worldwide Short Film Festival is a prestigious competition and a pathway to the Hollywood Oscars. Shortlisted films in the festival receive consideration for a nomination for the Academy Award for the Best Short Film.