New Zealand short film to premiere in international competition


New kiwi short film, LAMBS, has been selected to screen at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival – widely regarded as the world’s premiere short film event.  LAMBS was selected from over 5,000 worldwide submissions.

Funded through the New Zealand Film Commission short film funding initiative,  Fresh Shorts, LAMBS tells the story of Jimmy, a big-hearted fourteen year old boy facing a difficult decision – stay in his abusive home to protect his younger siblings, or leave to start a new life of his own.

Written and directed by Wellington filmmaker, Sam Kelly, the script for LAMBS emerged from research for a feature film he is writing, and time spent meeting ‘at risk’ youth from Wellington, New Zealand. 

“There were similarities in many of their lives, often facing neglect, abuse, drugs, and gang affiliations. I felt disturbed that children in my developed country were in survival mode, yet moved by the courage and heart that many of the kids showed“ says Kelly.

The film was shot just outside Wellington, in the Porirua City suburb of Cannons Creek.   Casting Director, Yvette Reid, spent six months casting the film almost entirely from non-actors. Reid and Kelly scoured schools, supermarkets, boxing clubs and netball courts to audition over 300 people for the film.  The lead role of 14-year-old Jimmy was a challenging role to cast, needing both a tough exterior and emotional openness. Waka Rowlands instantly stood out with his naturalism, belief in the situation, and emotional access. Waka’s performance as Jimmy has impressed New Zealand casting directors, and promises bigger things. 

Kelly was awarded New Zealand Young Filmmaker of the Year in 2010 by the Screen Producer’s and Director’s Association (SPADA). Together with LAMBS producer, Tom Hern, and an outstanding creative and technical team, Kelly harnessed the Fresh Shorts funding with the SPADA prize pack to deliver an exceptional level of storytelling and craft.

The 34th Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2012 runs between January 27th and February 4th 2012



  1. [...] in terms of how much story each medium chooses to tell, and I found this particularly evident in Lambs, from NZ filmmaker Sam Kelly. This story does not really try to follow the traditional pattern of [...]

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