Finalists and judges announced for Uni Shorts 2017

Award-winning filmmaker Alyx Duncan, renowned actress/writer and director, Aidee Walker and internationally acclaimed animator, Katie Naeher, have been announced as the judges for this year’s lineup of international student short films for Uni Shorts 2017.

Thirty films from New Zealand and around the world will vie for six awards which will be presented at this year’s festival held at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland from 23-26 November. A seventh award will be awarded to the best NZ film.

This year’s lineup is the most diverse in the festival’s five year history. European entries again feature prominently in the finalists but there are also submissions from student filmmakers in the Middle East and North America making the shortlist.

Not to be outdone, there is good representation from the host nation with New Zealand tertiary institutions shutting out the international film schools in the postgraduate fiction category.  The competition is evenly spread in the animation and experimental categories with NZ and international finalists. The finalists for the New Zealand Secondary Schools category also come from all over the country, from Auckland to Christchurch.

Uni Shorts festival chairperson, Dr Vanessa Byrnes says the quality and diversity of this year’s submissions shows that Uni Shorts is gaining an international profile and one of the only festivals celebrating student filmmaking from around the world. Unitec was proud to be curating and hosting this event. “Uni Shorts is an important forum where Unitec can recognise and catapult international student film making talent. Our exceptional line up of judges are perfectly placed to spot the up-and-coming storytellers in this diverse and exciting medium,” says Dr Byrnes.

Entry to Uni Shorts is FREE. To RSVP for the opening awards night at Unitec where the winning films will be screened on Thu 23 Nov @6:30pm email Festival Coordinator Peter Rees at For a full schedule of screenings of all finalists from 24-26 November go to





Return                                     Ithaca College (USA)

Strike Out                                Southern Institute of Technology (New Zealand)

The Swallows                          Istanbul University (Turkey)

Reconstructing Reality            Design Academy Eindhoven (Netherlands)

Gem                                        Unitec (New Zealand)



Child                                        Film Academy Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Fres Boi                                   University of Vigo – Bellas Artes (Spain)

The Toll                                   Griffith Film School (Australia)

Pug of War                              Media Design School (New Zealand)

Musicide (Musicidio)              ECIB Escola de Cinema de Barcelona (Spain)



False Memories                      Waiuku College

Blank Canvas                           Pakuranga College

Charlie’s Psychosis                  Kaiapoi High School

Black Dog                                Kapiti College

A Perfect Child                        Christs College & St Margaret’s College



Wolfe                                      Griffith Film School (Australia)

About art, my family & me     Zurich University of the Arts (Switzerland)

Butterfly                                  Stanford University (USA)

Inked in Tradition                    University of Auckland/Beijing Normal University (NZ/China)

Internet Explorer                    Victoria University of Wellington (NZ)


FICTION (Undergraduate)

Two                                         The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School (Israel)

Ra Menada                              Braunschweig University of Art (Germany)

Cloud Kumo                             The City College of New York (USA)

Lost in Hope                            IFS Cologne (Germany)

Out of Reach                           The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School (Israel)


FICTION (Postgraduate)

Parasites                                 University of Auckland (NZ)

Happiness                                University of Waikato (NZ)

Veil                                          Victoria University of Wellington (NZ)

The Spectacular Imagination  University of Auckland (NZ)

of the Pohara Brothers

HITEK                                       Victoria University of Wellington (NZ)




Alyx Duncan

Alyx is an award winning filmmaker and choreographer in genres spanning live performance, installation, video-dance, music video, documentary, television commercials, and experimental filmmaking. She has made award winning films – her feature The Red House, screened at NZIFF and won the Best Self-Funded Film at the New Zealand Film Awards in 2012; and her short The Tide Keeper, won The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2015. Alongside her industry work she has taught papers in dance, digital video, and theatre studies at various tertiary institutions in New Zealand and China.


Aidee Walker

Aidee Walker is a renowned actress, writer, and director in the New Zealand film and television industry. In 2014 she joined the writing team for South Pacific Picture’s Step Dave Series 1 & 2, and now has multiple TV series ideas in development with Greenstone TV. Her debut short, The F.E.U.C. (The Four Eyes United Club), was officially selected for the Palm Springs Film Festival in the United States, and Show Me Shorts Film Festival in New Zealand. Her second short, Friday Tigers, was funded in the New Zealand Film Commission’s Fresh Shorts scheme, and upon its release was officially selected for the MIFF, where Aidee was also handpicked to attend the Accelerator Program. Friday Tigers won Best Short Film and the Audience Award at the 2013 NZ International Film Festival, and was a finalist for best short film script at the NZ Writers Awards. Aidee was a finalist in the Woman to Watch category at the 2014 WIFT Awards.


Katie Naeher

Katie Naeher is part of Auckland production company Assembly’s internationally acclaimed character animation team. Her time at Assembly, Oktobor, Blockhead and GameLoft has seen her, and the team awarded at every major show around the world from Cannes, D&AD and most recently with a Webby in New York. Her work on the Penguins of Madagascar TV series, and Kung Fu Panda (Legends of awesomeness) at Oktobor, both received Emmys. Outside of her day job, Katie has been a guest lecturer, served on numerous animation panels and juries around NZ and is also a mentor to interns starting out in animation. Her career highlights include: Heinz “Geoff”, ASB “Clever Kash” and character animation for the ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ game.