What does it take to win a film competition?

Back in April, 16 year old Johanna Hertwich left her home in rural Murchison (South Island, NZ). She set out to take part in a workshop in Blenheim at NMIT. This was workshop number #6 we ran as part of our nationwide ‘storytelling & filmmaking’ series. Johanna didn’t really know what to expect. Amongst a diverse mix of creative enthusiasts aged 13–26, Johanna explored ideas around good storytelling, some of the big issues of our time, developed her filmmaking skills and kick-started a short-film project. Here’s the project idea she sparked…

Inspiring Stories Blenheim Workshop – Johanna's Project Idea

Despite a healthy interest in filmmaking, Johanna comes from a place with little support for filmmakers. So you can imagine the chance to connect with so many like-minded young filmmakers could be quite a buzz. Here’s Johanna & the crew from that Blenheim workshop…

Inspiring Stories Blenheim Workshop Crew

Excited. Inspired. Johanna left the workshop eager to put her new skills to the test. Her project changed several times. Finally, she settled on trying to portray the true story of a new found friend having triumphed through adversity and turned her life around. Johanna jumped on her bike (literally), and rode three hours with her low-key video camera, a tripod, and a packed lunch – peddling casually of course. She met Bellah – the soon-to-be star of her first ever film. 10-weeks later – having shot all her footage and some serious time in the edit suite, Johanna entered her film into the very first Inspiring Stories Film Competition.

An independent panel of judges had reviewed all of the film submissions and announced Johanna’s film ‘Bellah’ as a finalist for three major awards. But she had no idea she’d won. Nervous. Anxious. Excited. Johanna made the call to head up to Wellington to attend Festival for the Future, this is where the awards would be presented. Here’s Johanna & Belllah…

Awards Night – Bellah & Johanna

Inspiring Stories Film Competition Winner

Johanna’s first-time film took home Best Short Film, Most Inspiring Story & the Supreme Award. Who would have thought this 16 year old from rural Murchison would take home the major prizes at a nationwide film competition?! CONGRATULATIONS Johanna & Bellah!

Beyond taking out the awards, Johanna took part in the full programme at Festival for the Future. A first-time event that brought together 120 people from around New Zealand – creatives, entrepreneurs & changemakers. From guest speakers to entertainment, a range workshops and opportunities to collaborate & kick-start new projects. For some, the event was life changing. We’re excited to see what grows out of it, and are already scoping possibilities for next year!

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