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Animated short film “Trap” has screened in more than 130 film festivals, across 50 countries, taking home more than 30 awards.


Traversing the globe, the film won “Best Animation” at festivals in the USA, UK, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Malta, where the award was received by Consul Jill Camilleri from the New Zealand Consulate in Malta.  “Trap” also won “Best International Animation” at the New York State International Film Festival, “Best Design” at the Khem Animation Film Festival in the USA, and “Best Director” at the New York Animation Film Awards. In the traditional of screening a short film before a feature, “Trap” opened for the New Zealand feature film “Waru” at the Chester International Film Festival in the UK.

The opening film was the imaginative and beautifully animated short Trap. It focuses on a young, adopted, girl struggling to adapt to her new home, and captures the sense of entrapment felt by all the characters. A nice little twist offers them all a release. Dr Andrea Wright, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Edge Hill University, UK.

Written by Kahra Scott-James, directed by Paul James and produced by Auckland design studio Waxeye, the film is based on a true story. Set in Nelson during the late 1950s, it follows 7-year- old adoptee Christine. The script was developed through conversations with the real-life Christine, Kahra and Paul’s mother. In the film, Christine is mute, only the adults are afforded a voice, reflecting the lack of rights for children. The striking imagery was animated by Alfredo Luzardo, Jordan Hippolite, Robin Wilson-Davey, Joe Hutton and Paul. Aesthetically inspired by the paintings of New Zealand artists Michael Smithers and Rita Angus, the “labour of love” took the team several years to complete. Featuring local voices, including Heather Bolton, the lead actress from Gaylene Preston's genre-bending "Mr Wrong", sound design by Kahra, and music from composer Mike Newport, the soundtrack brings the animated characters and creatures to life.

Part-funded by Creative New Zealand, “Trap” premiered in the New Zealand International Film Festival, in Animation Now, the International Animation Showcase and Eight Uneasy Pieces, a separate program of New Zealand films, described as ‘Cinema of Unease’. It has since screened in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, Greece, Romania, Colombia, Scotland, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Australia, Croatia, Italy, Serbia, Ukraine, Brazil, Chile, Peru, France, India, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Norway, Paraguay, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Russia, Poland, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Argentina, Turkey, Venezuela, South Africa, Armenia, Sweden, Austria, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Belarus, the Republic of Ghana, Sweden, the Republic of Korea and Germany. “Trap”’ could be New Zealand’s most well-travelled animated film! Still going strong, the film has just been nominated for an award at the Diamond Star International Film Festival in Malaysia.

The team at Waxeye have since taken an even bigger step back in time, re-creating New Zealand, pre-civilisation, for a virtual reality project, and Kahra has been selected for a new initiative for writers by the Screen Production and Development Association of New Zealand (SPADA) and the New Zealand Writers Guild (NZWG), in association with the New Zealand Film Commission.

Further information: 


Director: Paul James
Writer: Kahra Scott-James
Producer: Tony Leslie
Casting: Paul James & Kahra Scott-James
Concept Artist: Rob Zohrab
Art Director: Paul James
Lead Technical Director: Kelsey Jones
Technical Director: Vlad Vasin
3D Artist: Nischal Pokhrel
Animators: Alfredo Luzardo, Jordan Hippolite,
Robin Wilson-Davey, Joe Hutton, Paul James
Editor: Paul James
Sound Designer: Kahra Scott-James
Composer: Mike Newport
Colourist: Peter Ritchie


David Tredinnick as Roley, Heather Bolton as June, Tim Carlsen as the Welfare Officer, David Mackie as the Judge
and Policeman


Contact details:

Written by

Kahra Scott-James

31 May 2021

Writer, Sound Designer, Filmmaker.