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17 year old New Zealander wins at prestigious Japanese film festival


12 August 2013

Seventeen year old New Zealander Natasha Bishop, the youngest film-maker ever to have a film selected at the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF), is celebrating today after winning two awards at the festival.

Her short film Arboraceous won the Best Newcomer and Best Animation awards at a gala awards ceremony in Toyama, Japan, this evening.

"I'm really amazed and honoured to win these awards." said Natasha, who is at the festival representing her film. "It's been an awesome experience to be at JWFF and to see my film screen with all these great films from around the world. To be given these awards just makes it even more special."

The biennial festival is the most prestigious of its kind in the Asia Pacific region. This year it selected just 43 films to screen in competition, with Arboraceous up against films made by the BBC, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and other international broadcasting giants.

Arboraceous is entirely written, directed and animated by Natasha and she also composed and performed the film's music.

Created when she was just sixteen, Arboraceous was made for New Zealand's The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people in 2012. It won the Department of Conservation Big Picture Award and was also honoured as The Body Shop Standout Winner.

Over the three days of the JWFF, Natasha and David Jacobs, director of The Outlook for Someday, ran three seminars for festival audiences and Japanese media.

"To be at JWFF and see people connecting so powerfully with Natasha's film was really inspiring," said David Jacobs from the awards ceremony. "I'm really proud of what she has achieved just by doing what she loves. She's a shining example of an emerging generation of young New Zealanders who tell stunning sustainability stories."

"Arboraceous is a film that shows how our connections - to nature and to each other - are the key to sustainability. What better place for the film to be recognised than at an international festival that celebrates nature and conservation."

Arboraceous online from Japan
Read Natasha and David's updates from Japan on Facebook at or
and on Twitter @tofsfilm or #arboraceous

Read Natasha's blog from Japan for the New Zealand Department of Conservation at

Watch Arboraceous:

About Arboraceous
Arboraceous is a four minute animation that communicates a universal story with a uniquely New Zealand voice that is quirky and clever. It speaks to global audiences with a simple and profound message.

In Arboraceous Natasha consciously chose to make a film without dialogue to communicate to people whatever their language.

About Natasha Bishop
Natasha lives in Whitby in the Wellington region and goes to Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. This was Natasha's first international film festival trip.

About The Outlook for Someday
Now in its seventh year, The Outlook for Someday project is an annual sustainability film challenge and a nationwide series of sustainability film-making workshops. At heart it is a youth empowerment project. The objective of The Outlook for Someday is to help grow a generation of sustainability storytellers.

The project encourages participants to interpret sustainability in a way that makes sense to them. Project director David Jacobs says "It's about having an awareness of environmental and health issues, social and economic development, culture and heritage, human rights and peace. Our relationships with each other and our planet are at the forefront of this project."

DOC Partnership
The Outlook for Someday works in partnership with New Zealand's Department of Conservation. Working in partnership with the community is central to the Department's leadership role in conservation - and empowering young people is a vital part of that partnership. DOC supported The Outlook for Someday at JWFF.

Air New Zealand Support
Air New Zealand supported Natasha to attend the festival.


Photos from JWFF:

Stills from Arboraceous:


The Outlook for Someday in 2013 is based on partnerships between Connected Media Charitble Trust and The Body Shop New ZealandThe Enviroschools Foundation, the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCOTEAR Fund NZ, the Department of ConservationMinistry of Youth DevelopmentTe Puni KōkiriAuckland Council and the Health Promotion Agency.

Unitec is Tertiary Partner.

Funding Partners are ASB Community TrustCreative New Zealand's Creative Communities Scheme and the New Zealand Film Commission

Media Partners are TVNZ UThe Erin Simpson ShowWhat NowTagata PasifikaFace TelevisionElement MagazineTearawayUpstart and Viewfinder.

Adobe is Digital Partner.

O'Halloran North Shore is Accountancy Partner.

Paper and Print Partners are RockstockB&F Papers and Benefitz.