Moko in international spotlight

Tauranga filmmaker Amy Taylor never imagined her independently made feature-length documentary about Moko the dolphin would gain international recognition from some of the world's elite wildlife and natural history filmmakers.  

The story of the wayward and extroverted dolphin is making a big splash after just one week of premiering at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Amy Taylor with Moko in Tauranga Harbour.

‘Soul in the Sea' is now competing alongside internationally acclaimed directors and filmmakers, from the BBC Natural History Unit and National Geographic Television, in the prestigious Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.  

The announcement has left ‘Soul in the Sea' filmmaker and director, Amy Taylor, of Abyss Films, delighted and stunned. 

“‘Soul in the Sea' was self-funded and made with a fraction of the budget that most documentaries have.

“I did everything from producing and directing to shooting and editing – so it's even more of a surprise that it's been selected as one of three finalists for the Best People and Nature category.”

Amy says Sun Media gets quite a big feature in the documentary and director Brian Rogers even has a cameo appearance in the film.

This year's entries to the NZ International Film Festival total 540 films, competing for just 23 special awards.

More than 100 international judges screened an aggregated 2500-plus hours of films in order to select the finalists.

Amy says The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival coincides with an international film industry conference, which attracts more than 600 international experts within the science, conservation, broadcasting and film making industry.

“In the last week I've been able to see the impact that Moko's story has on the audience –and that makes all the hard work worth it. Having spent much of the last three years making this film it means a lot to me that it's now going to be shared around the world.”

‘Soul in the Sea' is currently screening throughout the country as part of the New Zealand International Film Festival.

It will be screening at Rialto Tauranga on Saturday, September 21, at 12.30pm and on Wednesday, September 25, at 6pm.

Festival winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of international judges, and announced on September 26 at the Grand Teton Awards Gala at Jackson Lake Lodge in Wyoming. For more information visit: http://www.jhfestival.org/

Amy's background:

Amy Taylor completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking at the University of Otago in association with Natural History New Zealand.

Her student documentary about Hectors dolphins, called ‘Beyond the Kelp', was broadcast on Maori TV.  Amy has since worked on various documentaries, short films, commercials and music videos as a producer, director, cinematographer and editor.  

For more information visit: www.soulinthesea.com



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A great ’reflection’ of the wet day at Harbourside finals on Saturday. Photo: Tierre Thompson.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty. kendra@thesun.co.nz