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Contact details +64 (04) 801 5799

Costa Botes DipFA


School of English and Media Studies

Costa has been an independent film-maker in New Zealand since the early 1980s. His

short film Stalin’s Sickle won the jury prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival in

1988. Forgotten Silver, a mock-documentary co-written & co-directed with Peter

Jackson in 1995 created a national sensation in 1995. It won a special critics prize at the

Venice Film Festival, and has become a cult favourite worldwide.

Costa’s first feature film, Saving Grace (1997), was selected for competition at Valladolid,

Asia-Pacific, and Fantasporto Film Festivals. He documented the making of Peter Jackson’s

epic trilogy Lord of the Rings trilogy from 1999 to 2003 with a matching trio of feature

length documentaries. These were released in a limited edition DVD box set in 2006,

and later included in the definitive blu-ray collection released in 2011.

Costa established his own production company, Lone Pine Film & TV Productions in 2005 to

make independent documentaries. These have included Struggle No More (2006),

a biography of NZ’s greatest unknown band, and Yes That’s Me (2008) about a blues

musician with manic depression.

He photographed, produced and edited the documentary, Lost In Wonderland in

2009, mentoring its young director, Zoe McIntosh. The film premiered at the NZ Film

Festival and won awards for photography and best documentary the following year at

the Qantas NZ Film & TV Awards. Costa wrote and produced another film for Zoe, a

dramatic short called Day Trip in 2010. It was selected to screen at

numerous international festivals including Tribeca, Clermont Ferrand, and Hawaii. It

won the Signis Award at Espression En Corto in Mexico, and best short film at the

Montreal First Peoples Film Festival.

Costa's next documentary feature, Candyman: The David Klein Story, was about the eccentric

American candy genius who invented Jelly Belly jellybeans. It premiered at Slamdance

and Hot Docs in 2010, and won the Director’s Choice best documentary award at the

Rincon Puerto Rico Film Festival.

He followed this with two documentary features: Daytime Tiger, a film about mania; and The

Last Dogs of Winter, about a man fighting to preserve rare Inuit sled dogs from

extinction. The Last Dogs of Winter had its world premiere as an official selection at

the Toronto International Film Festival.

Costa’s most recent project was Act of Kindness, a feature documentary about a young New

Zealander’s experiences in post-Genocide Rwanda. It premiered at the NZ Film Festival in

August, 2015. He also co-wrote and executive produced The World In Your Window, a short

drama directed by Zoe McIntosh. This had its world premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film

Festival in February 2017, where it won the International Student Jury Award.

A longtime independent film maker with experience in short films, TV, and features, latterly specialising in long form documentaries. Interested in the challenges of narrative and connecting emotionally with audiences. 

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  • Diploma of Fine Arts - University of Canterbury (1982)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

Script Writing

Documentary Film

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Film and Television (190204): Film, Television and Digital Media (190200): Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified (190299): Studies In Creative Arts And Writing (190000)


Scriptwriting, Directing, Producing, Editing, Cinematography, Drama, Documentary filmmaking

Research Outputs

Consultancy and Languages


  • Greek
    Last used: Frequently
    Spoken ability: Average
    Written ability: Needs work

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

139323 Script Writing

154224 Documentary film

Courses Coordinated

Media and Links

Other Links

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