Let’s be honest here – one of the main reasons I didn’t attend last weekend’s Aotearoa Film & TV Awards is because I wasn’t in the same city, due to a prior engagement. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to resist the prospect of a free night out. The fact is I didn’t go (even though I was a finalist), and I’m delighted that I didn’t. This is not one of those sour grapes posts, given that our film The Insatiable Moon picked up two major awards (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor). Rather it’s a reflection on the whole process of such gigs. I was at the ‘Craft’ awards ceremony a few days before, and had opportunity to observe. So here, in no particular order, are reasons not to attend these events:
- What they’re mostly about is who’s cool and who’s not. The in crowd engage in back-slapping, brown-nosing and snide putdowns like the outrageous pricks they are. Most of them are in the television industry, and they have egos so inflated that it’s a wonder they’re still tethered to the ground.
- The majority of the awards follow the money. Where big $$$ have been spent, you can pretty much guarantee that awards will follow. This is not particularly surprising given that the sponsors of the event have a vested interest in the outcomes.
- It costs an arm and a leg to get a half-decent outing. The gala awards ceremony costs $170 per head to attend. Arthur and his mates wouldn’t get a look in. Though I’m pleased to announce that one I know did manage to gatecrash (lips sealed).
- People on big salaries prattle on about ‘our industry’. Those at the creative edge of the film world know that they lurch from job to job, trying to get enough to survive on, and that there’s no such thing as a ‘film industry’ in NZ.
- While we’re all partying, we forget that film in this country is at an all time low. Originality is discouraged, and the one body with a statutory obligation to fund kiwi stories has neither dosh nor imagination.
- Disturbingly, the list of judges includes the names of several category winners. Am I missing something here?
- For the small players, the experience of mixing it with the big-noters is strangely isolating and depressing – a reminder that you’re not in the club and never likely to be.
I could go on, but I won’t. The answer? Flag the glitz and bullshit, and get on with making honest films with honest stories in whatever way is possible. There’s no award for that!