Grey Lynn film-maker wins top award
Yamin Tun’s experiences as a child migrant have been reflected in an award-winning short film.
Wait, directed and written by Tun, took out the Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival, earning her $5000 cash.
It also took the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award which is accompanied by $3000.
Wait the first Mandarin language film that has been selected for the award.
Written while Tun was doing postgraduate film study at Unitec, it follows a mother-daughter relationship of fresh Chinese immigrants to New Zealand in the 1980s.
This narrative was inspired by Tun’s experience as a child where her family migrated from her birthplace of Burma to the United Kingdom.
The film touches on feelings her mother had of settling in a foreign land - something lead actor Katlyn Wong could also relate to.
‘‘We both had this innate understanding of what our mothers went through,’’ Tun says.
With little dialogue the film depicts the isolation the mother undergoes.
‘‘I hope that it’s a fairly universal experience that people will recognise,’’ the Grey Lynn resident says.
Despite only being 12 minutes in length, Tun says the limitations of producing a short film presents its own challenges.
With Wait taking a year-anda-half to cast, producing a short can almost take as long a feature length, Tun says.
‘‘You still have to cast and you still have to find locations and you still have to have all the same conversations with crew…. unlike a feature it’s not paid and it’s actually harder to find crew.’’
But the format of short films enables you to be more ‘‘ experimental’’.
‘‘I’ve tried to shoot it in a way that tested some ideas out that are a little bit non-standard and sometimes it’s a lot easier to do that in a short, whereas in a feature sometimes it’s not as encouraged because the risks are a lot higher.’’
Tun is now embarking on two feature film projects, both which have film commission funding.
Illustrious New Zealand filmmaker Lee Tamahori describes Wait as a ‘‘tense and absorbing narrative with an intentionally enigmatic finale’’.
Yamin Tun won the Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the 2016 NZ International Film Festival.