Issue date: 
Wednesday, 22 November 2023

New Zealand filmmaker Jonathan Ogilvie’s semi-autobiographical music drama Head South, featuring Ed Oxenbould, Márton Csókás, singer-songwriter Stella Bennett (Benee), and Roxie Mohebbi will open the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) on January 25th 2024.

Written and directed by Jonathan Ogilvie, Head South is produced by Antje Kulpe and Jonathan Ogilvie with Emma Slade, Lee Hubber, Gary Phillips, Mark Vennis, and Mat Govoni as executive producers.

Dr Ogilvie’s filmography includes Cannes Film Festival selection’s Despondent Divorcee and This Film Is a Dog along with The Tender Hook, and Lone Wolf. Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer) is the film’s music composer.

Set in 1979, the underground post-punk music scene of Christchurch draws in Angus, a schoolboy fantasist, who must confront self-doubt, the derision of his friends and a family tragedy to acquire an appreciation of true character. The film features music from Toy Love, The Slits, Public Image Ltd, Magazine, The Scavengers, Wire and Lou Reed.

Ogilvie said “I am very excited about bringing this small world to the larger world. It’s a time and place in New Zealand’s recent cultural history that deserves to be shown-off and celebrated. Head South is an authentic local story with truly international reach, and I can’t wait to share it with audiences. It’s a return to the world of music and ideas - and indeed the place, Ōtautahi Christchurch - that first inspired me to become a screenwriter and director.

Congratulating the filmmakers, NZFC CEO Annie Murray said it is very exciting to have a New Zealand film open the Rotterdam Film Festival. “This is a unique film, with a distinctly New Zealand perspective capturing a significant period in New Zealand’s cultural and modern history.”

Funded by the New Zealand Film Commission in association with Head South Cohort, Black Frame, I&G and Moviehouse Entertainment; with the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production rebate and the Screen Canterbury NZ Production grant, Head South will be theatrically distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Label Distribution, with Moviehouse Entertainment handling international sales.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 23 November 2023