Judging Process

The judging is always something that competitors want to all know the nitty-gritty about and it's very understandable with what's at stake. Please take heart, that we here at 48HOURS HQ, play the fairest and just game in town.

There is never any favouritism at any stage of the competition. Just ask all our friends who have failed to make the finals over the years.

The judging process works like this:

The best shorts from around the country are shortlisted by the National Managers - Judges watch the shortlisted films - Judges then vote on these to decide the top films and winners.

Shorts are judged on the following:

  • Originality and execution of the story
  • Entertainment value
  • Adherence to genre (ok to reinvent genre too)
  • Innovative use of the required elements
  • Innovative story and scriptwriting
  • Developed characters
  • Production values
  • The films ability to stand out from the crowd

The Spinoff will make their own selections, picking the films that they like to profile in the lead-up to the finals.



Peter Jackson: In tradition with his long-standing support for the competition, Peter Jackson is confirmed as a prestigious judge for the mini-competition.


Edgar Howard Wright: director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. He is best known for his comedic Three Flavours Cornetto film trilogy consisting of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), made with recurrent collaborators Simon Pegg, Nira Park and Nick Frost. He also collaborated with them as the director of the television series Spaced.


Ellen Wong is a Canadian actress. She is known for her roles as Knives Chau in the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Jill "Mouse" Chen in The CW's series The Carrie Diaries, and Jenny Chey in the Netflix series GLOW.


 Elijah Wood is an actor, voice actor, film producer, and DJ. He is best known for his portrayal of Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Happy Feet, Sin City, Come to Daddy and many other titles. In 2010, he founded the production company SpectreVision, which specializes in producing horror films such as The Greasy Strangler and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.


Award-winning filmmaker Chelsea Winstanley has been a producer, writer and director for more than 15 years. Her producing credits include, Jojo Rabbit, What We Do In The Shadows and the documentary, Merata: How Mum Decolonised The Screen. Her directing career began with a Media Peace award for her graduating film Whakangahau. She directed several short documentaries for TVNZ and MTS and more recently, Waru and Forgive Me. Chelsea currently resides and works in LA.


Cliff Curtis (Ngati Hauiti and Te Arawa iwi) is known for NZ Films The Piano, Once Were Warriors, Jubilee. In Hollywood, Curtis has played a range of different roles and ethnicities in films. He plays a Colombian in Blow, an Arab in Three Kings and The Insider, a Latino in Training Day and Runaway Jury, and a drug dealer of ambiguous ethnicity in Bringing Out the Dead. However, he is probably best known for his role as Paikea's father Porourangi, in Whale Rider.


New Zealander of the Year and acting legend Jennifer Ward-Lealand Te Atamira was named SPADA Industry Champion 2018,  Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit "for services to film, theatre and television" in the 2019 New Year's Honours list and in that same year, a Woman of Influence Award for Arts and CultureJennifer has worked extensively in theatre, film and television for nearly 40 years and is fluent in te reo Māori.


Tom Sainsbury is an actor, writer, director and Political Satirist. He became publicly known during the 2016 elections when his Snapchat videos of politicians were shared around the internet. Since then he has acted in Shortland Street, Wellington Paranormal and The Educators. He is also a regular guest on TV2’s Have You Been Paying Attention. He and his team have won the 48hour film competition twice.


 Karyn Rachtman is best known as the influential music supervisor and soundtrack producer of such notable films as Pulp Fiction, Romeo & Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Boogie Nights.

With an extensive background in music and film (vice-president of Capitol Records while still in her 20’s) her many successes have included producing films, compilation albums, a children’s book and music series. 


 A 2019 International Emmy Award nominee, Rick Kalowski is an award-winning writer/producer, frequently named among The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Most Influential People in Australian Television’.  For almost 7 years until February 2020, Rick was Head of Comedy at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, overseeing development and production of adult fully scripted comedy across TV, digital shortform and podcast.”


 Mette-Marie Kongsved is a producer, known for I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore. (2017), The Raid 2 (2014) and ABCs of Death 2 (2014)


Karyn Kiyoko Kusama is an American film and television director. She made her feature film debut with the 2000 film Girlfight, which she wrote and directed, for which she won the Award of the Youth at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature


 Adam Wingard is an award-winning director, producer, screenwriter, editor, cinematographer, and composer. Making his debut with the slasher film, Home Sick at 19 though his follow-up film, Pop Skull made on a budget of just $2000.00 would earn him widespread attention. His other notable works include, You're Next, The Guest, Death Note and the upcoming Godzilla vs. King Kong.


 Annick Mahnert is the Director of Frontières International Co-Production Market and a successful producer in her own right, with credits including, 78/52, Leap of Faith: William Friedkin about The Exorcist and The Long Walk.