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Filmhead wins inaugural Creative Entrepreneur

Ant Timpson.
ART Creative Entrepreneur 2012 Award winner Ant Timpson celebrates his win with Award sponsors John and Leonie Hynds of Hynds Group of Companies.


Ant Timpson, a self-confessed ‘filmhead’ who has spent over 25 years encouraging and enabling kiwis to watch, make and love movies, has tonight been awarded the inaugural ART Creative Entrepreneur of 2012 at a gala event at Auckland’s Floating Pavilion. Initiated by the Arts Regional Trust (ART) and sponsored by Hynds Group of Companies, the Award brings with it a $10,000 cash award and most importantly recognition for the countless hours of hard graft and determination that Ant Timpson has put in to spark the imaginations of and provide opportunities for many thousands of movie goers, filmbuffs and aspiring filmmakers.

It was this single-mindedness, passion and determination that prompted the ART Creative Entrepreneur 2012 Award judges Alex Swney and Jennifer Ward-Lealand to select Ant as the 2012 Award recipient. “Ant has ‘flicked a switch’ for a generation of filmmakers”, says Jennifer Ward-Lealand. “What Ant does through the 48HOURS - Furious Filmmaking Competition is groundbreaking, and can be life-changing for those who take part in it. He makes filmmaking achievable, literally bringing it into your lounge, making filmmaking possible for anyone and everyone. You can really see the reach that Ant has achieved through his work. The results and legacy are tangible” she says. Fellow judge Alex Swney agrees, and adds that he is impressed with Ant’s “Incredible entrepreneurial spirit”. “Ant is always looking for the possibilities; he’s an innovator, an instigator and a ‘cage rattler’! He works the angles to make things happen, and through his passion and great projects, including the Incredibly Strange film festival and ‘Make My Movie, he has found ways to maximise and grow involvement in movies from the grassroots up” he says.

Ant’s reaction to winning the ART Creative Entrepreneur 2012 Award was typically modest: “Apart from coming second in an egg & spoon race in 1975 this is really my first award. It means a lot to receive it. To be honest, I think the award is simply recognition of the talent base we have in this country and that many times all it required was a platform or structure to blossom. I exploited this neglect and am both stoked and surprised that others see real benefits in these events too. “

Ant was selected as the ART Creative Entrepreneur 2012 by the Judges from a shortlist of successful, entrepreneurial people working in a range of creative areas, who were nominated by their peers. Fellow Judge and ART Board Member, Dr Peter Shand says that “Ant was nominated by someone in the creative sector who doesn’t know him personally but knows and admires what he has done. He made it onto ART’s shortlist because of his strong entrepreneurial drive and approach to making a living out of what is clearly a very strong personal passion: the preservation and promotion of edgy, cultish, left-of-centre movies. But it is not all about personal gain, and ART was particularly struck by Ant’s support and encouragement of up and coming filmmakers, demonstrated by his establishment of the 48HOURS - Furious Filmmaking Competition in 2003 and the Make My Movie initiative last year“ he says.

“The 48HOURS - Furious Filmmaking Competition provides an opportunity, catalyst and promotional vehicle for up-and-coming filmmakers, and has done so for 10 years. In that time many people have got a start in their creative path as producer, director, actor and/or technician through the competition – notably director/actor Taika Waititi, the team that later went on to develop ‘The Jacquie Brown Diaries’ for TV, and 2010 champs, ‘the Downlow Concept’ (who were also grand champs in 2006) whose 2010 short ‘The Only Son’ went on to win Best Short Film at the Qantas Film and TV Awards.“ Peter adds.

“Ant is an inspired choice for the inaugural ART Creative Entrepreneur 2012 Award” says ART’s Peter Shand. “The way he works really aligns with the values that ART holds dear; being innovative, creating a legacy for Auckland and beyond, building and growing talent and excellence.” he says.

Also presented at the ART Awards event on the 29th of February were places on the ART Venture programme to 12 creative entrepreneurs. The year-long ART Venture programme provides start-up and experienced creative entrepreneurs with a flexible yet intensive action-learning environment that, through peer-to-peer support, specialist coaching, a seed fund pitching process and an innovative curriculum, accelerates the creative enterprise development of each participant. The value to each of the participants is $35,000, which represents the Arts Regional Trusts commitment to and meaningful investment in Auckland’s creative future. The ART Venture 2012 Award recipients will begin the programme in February 2012.


Further information: 

About Ant Timpson:

Ant is the founder of the INCREDIBLY STRANGE FILM FESTIVAL, 48HOURS, 2BROTHERS FILMS, SECRET CINEMA, CINEMA CIRCUS. His bio states “Those who know him call him Filmhead (n.) an individual who lives and breathes film 24/7. He has spent every year since 1985 getting kiwis to watch films on the big screen.”

In 1994 Timpson founded the extremely popular and long running Incredibly Strange Film Festival, a collection of eclectic films that travelled the country. It soon became a national institution with an audience of 40,000+ attending yearly. In 2004 it became a fixture within the Auckland & Wellington International Film Festivals and continues to operate annually.

In 2003 his 48HOURS – Furious Filmmaking competition became New Zealand's premier digital short film event. Attracting hundreds of teams, the films were eventually seen by thousands in cinemas, online and on television to an audience of hundreds of thousands. In 2011 the event attracted 10,000 participants and 200,000 viewers across cinemas, tv, and online.

Also in 2004, Timpson set up The Cinema Circus which is New Zealand's first fully mobile cinema. Bringing movies to interesting locations all over, he has even screened The Shining at the Shining Hotel, Jaws at Marthas Vineyard, the Oscars to thousands in Aotea Square and many more.

In 2005, Timpson co-founded Headstrong a devolved fund from the New Zealand Film Commission. Its goal was to support new talent and to produce low budget features. Two films were created, The Devil Dared Me To and The Song of Good. The model he helped build was eventually turned into the new Escalator scheme being run by the NZFC.

In 2008 Timpson was asked to programme a four-month series for the MGM Channel on SKY TV.

As well as the film festival, Incredibly Strange produces the 24Hour Movie Marathon, an annual sold out event. In 2011, the 12th Annual 24Hour Movie Marathon, was held in November at the Hollywood Theatre in Avondale.

In 2011, he also created the Make My Movie initiative. “Make My Movie is an opportunity for budding directors, scriptwriters and producers to pitch their idea for a film to the public and, if they win enough votes (along with the support of the expert judging panel), they'll get to make it - with a budget of $100,000.”

In 2012, Ant and his cohort (Austin-based Tim League of Drafthouse Films) are releasing the most ambitious anthology film ever devsed with 26 of the worlds best genre directors. The feature film is called The ABCs of Death and it was sold to US based Magnolia Pictures (Melancholia, Albert Nobbs) worldwide as a concept.

About Hynds Group of Companies:

The Creative Entrepreneur Award 2012 was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Hynds Group of Companies. The Hynds Group, headquartered in South Auckland, was founded by entrepreneurs John and Leonie Hynds in 1973, and has grown to employ over 600 people around the world. Over the 39 years since the business was established, the Hynds Group of Companies has made an immense contribution to the civil construction sector. New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year in 1999, John Hynds was made an officer of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Business and Philanthropy in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List.


Gerard Fletcher

Executive Manager - Marketing

09 271 9532



About Arts Regional Trust


Through its unique and innovative programmes and approach, ART is growing entrepreneurship in the Auckland Region’s arts, culture and creative sector to generate cultural, creative and economic outcomes that benefit the Region.


ART’s creative enterprise development programmes back high-achieving creative people intent on growing Auckland’s cultural capital into rich creative, social and economic outcomes. ART’s programmes accelerate and maximise business and career development outcomes for participants, creating a confident and prosperous creative sector and wider community benefit, now and into the future.


The City Councils of Auckland and Manukau created the Arts Regional Trust: Te Taumata Toi-a–iwi (ART) in 2000 to manage and grow their combined share of funds ($6 million) provided through the disestablishment of Auckland Regional Services Trust.

Since then ART has invested over $2.1 million since inception in the Auckland Region’s arts, culture and creative industries sector through the groundbreaking ART programmes: ART Venture, ART Source, ART Enterprise and ART Generator. The capital fund has grown to $8.5 million (30 June 2011) under ART’s stewardship.

Contact details: 
Candy Elsmore, Project Director, 027 279 0002

Written by

Arts Regional Trust

29 Feb 2012

The Arts Regional Trust : Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi is an arts and creative industries development agency and a leading investor in growing entrepreneurship in Auckland’s creative sector.