By the time the curtains had been drawn at the end of New Zealand Film Awards, those sitting at the Shopping table had seven awards to carry home, making the film, which was released in New Zealand in May, the biggest winner of the night.
The gritty bildungsroman, set in the 1980s along the Kapiti Coast, won the awards for best poster design, best cinematography, best supporting actress, best supporting actor, best screenplay, best director and best film.
The other standout performer on the evening was Mr Pip, which won four gongs, including the best actor and actress awards for Hugh Laurie and Xzannjah's leading roles in the film.
Last night’s event at Shed 10 also capped off an award-filled year for production company The Sweet Shop’s directing duo of Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, who in February picked up a Grand Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival for their work on the film.
When asked how international accolades compare to local recognition, Sutherland's response clearly reveals how important home is to him.
"Anything you win locally, especially with a home-spun story, is going to feel damn good. We love the great festivals that we've been privileged to be a part of, but having our locals acknowledge Shopping is a very heartfelt thing which goes beyond explanation... well it would take a few beers," he says.
But Shopping only forms part of the success that The Sweet Shop gang has enjoyed this year. In addition to working on the period film, The Sweet Shop has also been involved with the music video for Royals (which won a Tui at the New Zealand Music Awards), the Vodafone ‘workout’ advert and Steinlager’s ‘Be the artist, not the canvas’ campaign.
Despite it being a year filled with countless accolades, Sutherland does not hesitate when it comes to choosing the highlight of the year.
"Getting back home to our wives and families after so many months away in film head space is earthing. It's definitely a long journey we enjoyed finishing. Without sounding soft, us boys are all about our families and being back with them is what it's all about," he says.
This marks the second year in a row that The Sweet Shop has been well awarded, with team also being listed as one of Creativity Magazine’sstandout production companies for 2012. And this is only the start, because Sutherland says that he looks forward to sharing more work with Kiwis in 2014.