New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan

17 year old New Zealander up for awards at prestigious Japanese Film Festival

Seventeen year old New Zealander Natasha Bishop will be attending the Japan Wildlife Film Festival (JWFF) this week as the youngest film-maker ever to have a film selected in the most prestigious festival of its kind in the Asia Pacific region.

Natasha’s film Arboraceous will compete at JWFF against films made by the likes of the BBC, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and other international broadcasting giants. The film is entirely written, directed and animated by Natasha and she also composed and performed the film’s music.

Arboraceous is in line for awards including Best Animation, Special Jury Award, Best Educational, Best Asia-Oceania, Best Children's and Best Newcomer Award at the festival which takes place on 8-11 August in Toyama.

As the youngest ever nominee at JWFF, Natasha will be speaking to media in Tokyo in advance of the festival and during the festival in Toyama.

While at JWFF Natasha will run three seminars for the public and media in which she will talk about her film-making journey and present the animation work that she has been developing since she was ten years old.

Natasha made Arboraceous when she was just sixteen for The Outlook for Someday sustainability film challenge for young people in 2012 in New Zealand. It won the New Zealand Department of Conservation Big Picture Award and was also honoured as The Body Shop Standout Winner.

Natasha will be attending JWFF with The Outlook for Someday director David Jacobs, who will be co-presenting at the seminars. David will talk about the power of storytelling for sustainability and how our connections - to nature and to each other - are the key to sustainability.

Arboraceous expresses our connection with nature, how it is the foundation for all life and the consequences of not looking after it,” says David Jacobs.

“I’m really proud of what Natasha has achieved. And I’m excited to be going to Japan to support her and to represent New Zealand as a nation with an emerging generation of young people who tell stunning sustainability stories.”

Follow Arboraceous’ progress in Japan

Follow Natasha and David’s updates from Japan on Facebook at or
and on Twitter @tofsfilm or #arboraceous

Natasha will be blogging from Japan for the New Zealand Department of Conservation at

Read Natasha and David’s first blog in advance of their arrival in Japan at

About Arboraceous

Arboraceous is a four minute animation that communicates a universal story with a uniquely New Zealand voice that is quirky and clever. It speaks to global audiences with a simple and profound message.

In Arboraceous Natasha consciously chose to make a film without dialogue to communicate to people whatever their language.

About Natasha Bishop

Natasha lives in Whitby in the Wellington region of New Zealand and goes to Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. This will be Natasha’s first international film festival trip.

About The Outlook for Someday

Now in its seventh year, The Outlook for Someday project is an annual sustainability film challenge and a nationwide series of sustainability film-making workshops in New Zealand. At heart it is a youth empowerment project. The objective of The Outlook for Someday is to help grow a generation of sustainability storytellers.

The project encourages participants to interpret sustainability in a way that makes sense to them. Project director David Jacobs says “It’s about having an awareness of environmental and health issues, social and economic development, culture and heritage, human rights and peace. Our relationships with each other and our planet are at the forefront of this project.”

DOC Partnership

The Outlook for Someday works in partnership with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Working in partnership with the community is central to the Department’s leadership role in conservation – and empowering young people is a vital part of that partnership.

Air New Zealand Support

Air New Zealand is supporting Natasha to attend the festival.

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