Winners of New Zealand International Film Festival's short film competition were announced at Auckland's Civic Theatre on Saturday night.
Director Chelsie Preston Crayford received the top prize for her film Falling Up, pocketing $5000.
"It's days later and we're still thinking about Falling Up, a film that effortlessly unravels not only the exhaustion and heartache and grief of being a recently-separated young mum, but the mundane joy, the unending love, and the moments of quiet triumph," the jury said in a statement.
"Chelsie Preston Crayford balances roles as mother, writer, director, and performer in a film that captures a rare emotional complexity. Falling Up had us laughing one moment and close to tears the next. A masterful, standout film in this year's line-up."
Others who came out on top were director Judah Finnigan's Charmer, who got $4000 and the Emerging Talent Award, and crowd favourite My Friend Michael Jones, directed by Ian Leaupepe and Samson Rambo, which took out the Wallace Friends of the Civic Award and the 2018 Audience Award.
"It's astounding that Charmer is Judah Finnigan's first foray into film," the jury said.
"His direction is assured and his writing is sharp as hell. Matt Henley's cinematography and Chris Ulutupu's art direction sees the screen dripping and glowing with unexpected colour, and Robyn Malcolm and Stephen Lovatt deliver delightful and nuanced performances as two middle-aged strangers on a first date.
"It's a remarkable first film, and we're looking forward to seeing what Judah makes next."
The film festival continues to run in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin until the end of the month.