Vincent Ward’s newest feature film Rain of the Children has won the Grand Prix at a film festival in Poland.
His film was one of 16 features selected for competition at the Era New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw which is Europe’s biggest film events, screening 360 films.
The prize is selected by audience vote.
Ward, who was in Poland as a guest of the festival, said he hadn’t expected the award and was delighted with the audience response.
The Wroclaw festival also presented a retrospective of Ward’s work (nine films), one of the few occasions when the complete work of a New Zealand film maker has been acknowledged internationally.
The festival also celebrated other New Zealand talent, screening 19 other New Zealand features, 45 New Zealand short films and bringing New Zealand musicians, a choreographer, photographer, actor and nine film makers to Poland.
Ward noted: "There is tremendous interest in and appreciation of our films and music, creating a fantastic atmosphere at the Festival.
"Afterwards many Poles commented that they want to visit New Zealand."
Rain of the Children has just completed New Zealand premiere screenings in the Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals, and is to screen in the other New Zealand film festivals before beginning a theatrical release via Rialto Distribution.
Reviewed in the Hollywood Reporter, it has been acclaimed as "a stunning docu-drama … masterful … compelling in its personal detail and almost mythic in its sweep."
The film was produced by Vincent Ward, Marg Slater and Tainui Stephens, and written by Vincent Ward. Investment came from the New Zealand Film Commission, Te Mangai Paho and NZ On Air.
International sales are being handled by NZ Film, the NZFC’s sales agency.