NZ student films through at Comic-Con San Diego

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Three short films made by Auckland’s Media Design School students are shortlisted for awards at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival, to be held in San Diego from tomorrow (Thursday 19-Monday 23 July).

The MDS student films are among more than 50 nominated, with award entries also coming from the US, Canada, France, the UK, Norway, Mexico, Greece, Ireland, Israel and Russia.

The New Zealand films were the capstone projects made in the students’ final year of their Bachelor of Art & Design studies at MDS.

Shelldon is the story of a little hermit crab’s risky journey for the perfect home, tailed by a menacing shadow. Of the seven pop culture awards, Shelldon has been nominated in the Animation category.

In As You Command, a clumsy painter uncovers a genie with plenty of wishes to offer, but no amount of luck can change his ability to screw things up. As You Command will contest the Humour/Parody category.

Kitten Witch tells the tale of a young kitten who wants to be a witch’s familiar but who must first collect a series of ingredients in order to pass the witch’s test. Kitten Witch has been nominated for the Science Fiction/Fantasy award.

“Comic-Con is a large event on the pop culture calendar. Attendances top 130,000 in recent years.”

Shelldon was made entirely by MDS students (Kris Belchamber, Benjamin Clark, Jennifer Egilmez, Guy Glasson, Isaac Gilich and Cecilia Kuang). As You Command and Kitten Witch were made by students with direction from an MDS faculty member.

Three members of the Shelldon film team (Guy Glasson, Isaac Gilich and Benjamin Clark) fly out of Auckland for San Diego today, where they’ll speak as part of a panel discussion prior to the film’s screening.

With a history spanning back to 1970, Comic-Con International: San Diego is now widely regarded as one of the largest events on the pop culture calendar, with attendances topping 130,000 in recent years.

The significance of participating in Comic-Con’s world-renowned film festival has not been lost on the young Kiwis. “We’ve been fortunate to have the film selected to screen at festivals around the world, but Comic-Con has been the most special,” said 25-year-old art director & technical director Guy Glasson.

“In addition to speaking on the panel and attending the awards ceremony, we’re looking forward to meeting other filmmakers from around the world. It will be an experience of a life time.”

This isn’t the first time Media Design School students have been represented at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. In 2016, Accidents, Blunders and Calamities took out Best Animated Film and Over the Moon was named a category finalist in 2014.

“To have not one but three student films in Comic-Con awards contention this year is something we’re all very proud of,” said MDS programme leader Steve Dorner.

“We have so many exceptional creative students coming through the ranks at MDS. To receive international recognition is a significant achievement for this group of students – and one that is truly well deserved.”

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