Mark Albiston was awarded an Arts Foundation New Generation Award with his colleague, friend and co-producer Louis Sutherland in 2010. The Six Dollar Fifty Man is the third short film that Mark & Louis have collaborated on and the first that they have officially co-directed.
Mark and Louis grew up together in the small Raumati Beach settlement, just north of Wellington. They began working together for a cable televison network. Louis then went to drama school and Mark went to film school developing their skills in production and performance. The two have now worked together in the industry for over 15 years.
Mark Albiston started the production company Sticky Fingers in 2000, with his lawyer wife, Amelia Bardsley. The independent production company works across a range of genres including arts-based documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials.
Mark initiated, and worked in a range of roles on three award-winning series of The Living Room (2002 - 2006). The series focussed on celebrating Kiwi creative people, delving into their art practices and lifestyles. A follow-up show The Gravy began profiling New Zealand artists in 2007.
In 2007 Mark also directed the short film Run, from a script by fellow artist and actor Louis Sutherland (joint recipient of a 2010 New Generation Award). Selected to compete at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, this tale of a Samoan brother and sister struggling with an oppressive father while growing up on the Kapiti Coast, received a special mention from the jury.
Run was also picked as the opening film for the French Cesar short film festival, a selection of the world's best shorts that year. The film has gone on to win awards (including New Zealand Screen Awards for Best Short Film and Best Screenplay) and screen at numerous festivals worldwide.
Mark directed the documentary The Magical World of Misery, about artist Tanya Thompson (aka Misery), for TV One's Artsville series. He won the 2006 Qantas NZ Television Award for Documentary Directing for this documentary.
Mark has also directed two films for the Blood Earth & Fire exhibition at Te Papa, War of the Words (a documentary on spelling bees), the X-Air television series (for Sky, TV3 and C4), and a Shihad music video.
At the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Mark and Louis were again awarded a special distinction, - for their short film The Six Dollar Fifty Man. This was the first time a director had two short films win at the prestigious festival. The film tells the story of an eight-year-old boy compelled to emerge from his make believe world after being bullied.
The film's impressive festival awards tally includes The Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 26th Sundance Film Festival in Utah; qualifying for consideration for an Academy Award nomination; Best Drama at the Aspen Shortsfest in the USA; the Excellence Award by the LA BAFTA association at the Aspen shortsfest; a special mention at Berlin; it scooped three awards at the 2009 Qantas Film and Television Awards - including Best Short Film - and won top prize at the 2010 Flickerfest festival in Australia. The film has made the long-list for the 2011 Academy Awards.
At the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Mark and Louis premiered Shopping, their feature film co-directorial debut. The film revieced rave reviews and earned several awards including a Grand prix at the Berlin International Film Festival and seven New Zealand Film Awards including Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Director.
The Six Dollar Fifty Man
Sundance 2010 - Jury Prize, Short Film
Aspen Film Festival 2010 - BAFTA Award for Excellence
Cannes Film Festival 2009 - Special Distinction
QANTAS Film & TV Awards 2009 - Best Short Film, Best Screenplay
Berlinale 2013 - Generation, Winner
NZ Film Awards 2013 - Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay
Sundance 2013 - Finalist, World Cinema