Entertainment

Gladstone teen wins best actress gong at NZ film awards

SURPRISE GONG: Xzannjah Matsi was awarded Best Actress at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards for her role as Matilda in Mr Pip, alongside Hugh Laurie.
SURPRISE GONG: Xzannjah Matsi was awarded Best Actress at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards for her role as Matilda in Mr Pip, alongside Hugh Laurie. Luka Kauzlaric

STARRING alongside Hugh Laurie in a feature film is a dream for all of us, and a reality for just one Gladstone teenager.

Xzannjah Matsi was living in her native Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, when casting agents began the call out to fill the role of Matilda for the acclaimed film, Mr Pip.

The Gladstone State High School student has since embarked on a remarkable journey, culminating with the announcement she had won Best Actress at the 2013 Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards.

"I was so lucky to work with some really nice and talented people on Mr Pip," she said.

"Hugh was a really nice man; he knew it was my first time acting so he helped me a lot. A very down-to-earth man with a great sense of humour."

Mr Pip was honoured at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards, receiving four awards in total: Best Actor to Hugh Laurie for his role as the title character, Best Actress, awarded to Xzannjah for her role as Matilda, as well as Best Score and Best Costume Design.

Xzannjah says winning an award for her work on the film was the last thing she had expected.

"Considering the quality of fellow nominees, it was an absolute shock," she said.

SURPRISE GONG: Xzannjah Matsi was awarded Best Actress at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards for her role as Matilda in Mr Pip, alongside Hugh Laurie.
SURPRISE GONG: Xzannjah Matsi was awarded Best Actress at the 2013 New Zealand Film Awards for her role as Matilda in Mr Pip, alongside Hugh Laurie. Luka Kauzlaric

Xzannjah's acting debut gets under way on the right footing

DIRECTED by New Zealand-born Andrew Adamson, famed for films such as Shrek and the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Batman Forever, Xzannjah's acting debut was indisputably the stuff of dreams.

"I was proud and very humbled to be involved in such an important film," she said.

"It meant the world to me to be in a movie that may make a difference to my country."

It was a great deal of responsibility and I did not take it lightly.

Xzannjah, who also starred alongside her mother in Mr Pip, is a courteous and modest young woman, who took the responsibility of her role in an earnest and solemn manner.

"I was very proud to be representing my people in the film," she said.

"It was a great deal of responsibility and I did not take it lightly."

While Xzannjah says although she was focusing on education as her main priority for the time being, acting was a pursuit she thoroughly enjoyed, and would love to continue in the future, provided the role was fitting.

The 17-year-old has high ambitions to do her best in her final years of secondary schooling, and is considering a career in petroleum engineering.

MR PIP

  • Originally a novel, Mr Pip was written by NZ author Lloyd Jones.
  • Mr Pip tells the story of Matilda and her endearing teacher Mr Watts, set in war-torn Bogainville.
  • The film holds close cultural ties for director Andrew Adamson, born in New Zealand before moving to Papua New Guinea when he was 11.
  • The character Matilda becomes enarmoured by the main character of the famous novel Great Expectations.

Topics:  acting, cinema, gladstone, papua new guinea




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'I apologise every day that I am not the person he married'

My battle with postnatal depression...

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

PHOTOS: Terrifying boating accident inspires Gladstone couple to act

Gladstone Fishing Network Facebook page admin Dave and Eve Malone experienced a horrific boating accident, and are hoping to deliver the message of how important VMR is, as well as hosting a fundraiser for the organisation this weekend.

AFTER a scary accident, this couple know the importance of the VMR

LISTEN: Gladstone Fish Market begin takeaway fish and chip venture

TAKEAWAY: Gladstone Fish Market owner Simon Whittingham will soon have a fish and hip van out front of the markets.

The Gladstone Fish Market is expanding to sell takeaway seafood

VIDEO: Puppy rescued from being shot by owner, but loses leg

Brave pup Oddis had his leg amputated two days ago during an operation.

HIS FORMER owner threatened to shoot him if no one would take him.

Latest deals and offers

Soccer kids enjoy clinic

Clinton's Charles Heeron - Senior Soccer between Clinton and Meteors. Saturday, May 14th, 2016.

A League goalkeeper Michael Theo was passing down his soccer wisdom to about 30...

Soccer kids enjoy clinic

Clinton's Charles Heeron - Senior Soccer between Clinton and Meteors. Saturday, May 14th, 2016.

A League goalkeeper Michael Theo was passing down his soccer wisdom to about 30...

Oddis the foster dog

Oddis the foster dog

Oddis the foster dog needs a forever home.

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward