Eight feature-length New Zealand films have been announced to screen at the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) in 2018. Five documentaries will have their world premieres in the programme.
New Zealand stories are represented on screen with the world premiere tribute to pioneering Māori female filmmaker Merata Mita, New Zealander of the year and scientist Paul Callaghan, sword fighting championships, and bringing a European interpretation of The Piano to the culture that inspired it, through to personal journeys of troubled upbringings that include frank conversations about sexual abuse, and suicide. Two features in the programme feature characters on very different adventures: a time-shifting crime thriller set in Thames, and a Man Alone story set in Central Otago.
“We’re thrilled that NZIFF is the platform for these New Zealand filmmakers to launch their stories and their characters, into the world. We’re also very happy to host the first New Zealand screenings of several films that have premiered overseas recently,” says NZIFF Director Bill Gosden.
The confirmed New Zealand films are:
Angie (World premiere)
Director: Costa Botes
Angie Meiklejohn, prominent and articulate Centrepoint survivor, is joined by her siblings in this lucid exploration of the legacy of sexual abuse, directed without a hint of sensationalism by Costa Botes.
“Funny, smart, big hearted, unflinchingly honest, a steadfast friend – whatever her past hurts, Angie is an engaging and loveable human being.” — Costa Botes
Bludgeon (World premiere)
Directors/Producers: Ryan Heron, Andy Deere
The armour is heavy and the stakes are high in this warm-hearted and charmingly offbeat documentary about a group of modern knights competing to represent New Zealand in the brutal sport of ‘medieval combat’.
“Hitting someone with a weighted stick: we’ve been doing it since the dawn of time. Now it’s a sport.” — James Bennett, NZ Captain
The Heart Dances – the journey of The Piano: the ballet (World premiere)
Director: Rebecca Tansley
This elegant new film from the director of Crossing Rachmaninoff takes us backstage at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a brilliantly theatrical European interpretation of a New Zealand classic re-enters the culture that inspired it.
“This is the 21st century and we have to stand proud as Māori, but we also have to find ways to work together, to be together and to create together.”– Moss Te Ururangi Patterson
Maui’s Hook (World premiere)
Director: Paora Joseph
The new film by Māori psychologist and filmmaker Paora Joseph (Tātarakihi: Children of Parihaka) invites open discussion of suicide through the brave testimony of five grieving families travelling to Cape Reinga.
“We want our young people to be like Māui – to push through life’s challenges, using the Māui attitude.” — Producer Karen Te O Kahurangi Waaka-Tibble
Mega Time Squad (New Zealand premiere)
Director: Tim van Dammen
Writer/director Tim van Dammen’s follow-up to the trailer trash romance Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song is a wild smash-up of parochial Kiwi comedy and mind-bending time travel crime-thriller.
“This is Parawai, Terry, not America. We’re not made-a guns.” — Shelton
Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (World premiere)
Director: Heperi Mita
Merata Mita, pioneering Māori filmmaker and international champion of women in indigenous film, is celebrated by her youngest son, archivist Heperi Mita, collaborating with his siblings to deliver a richly personal portrait.
“The revolution isn’t just running out with a gun. If a film I make causes indigenous people to feel stronger about themselves, then I’m achieving something worthwhile for the revolution.” – Merata Mita
Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms (Auckland premiere)
Director: Shirley Horrocks
Shirley Horrocks, cine-biographer of many notable New Zealand artists, delivers an invaluable survey of the work and legacy of one of our most exceptional scientists and public figures.
“It was the wonder of science that charged him. He was tremendously excited by it and he wanted to convey that excitement to other people.” — Kim Hill
The Auckland premiere will be a special Cancer Society fundraiser screening. Ticketing details will be available when the full NZIFF programme is launched (25 June).
Stray (New Zealand premiere)
Director: Dustin Feneley
Two damaged strangers fall into a complex intimate relationship in Dustin Feneley’s beautiful and rigorous debut feature film, shot in Otago against the breathtaking Southern Alps.
Capturing New Zealand’s moody and majestic southern landscape with terrific clarity, Stray demands to be seen on the big screen.
Two films with a NZ connection have already been announced for NZIFF 2018: Director Pietra Brettkelly’s Yellow is Forbidden, and Leave No Trace starring New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.
New Zealand films at NZIFF are proudly supported by Resene. NZIFF is run by a charitable trust and encourages lively interactions between films, filmmakers and New Zealand audiences in 13 towns and cities around the country. The full NZIFF programme will be available from Tuesday 26 June for Auckland, and Friday 29 June for Wellington. NZIFF starts in Auckland on 19 July and in Wellington from 27 July in 2018.