Issue date: 
Thursday, 17 January 2019

Two New Zealand films have been announced to screen at the prestigious SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in March. 

The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps will have its world premiere at the festival, with Vai following its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival with a North American premiere.

The Chills: The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps, directed by Julia Parnell,  co-directed by Rob Curry and produced by Nicola Peeperkoorn, Tim Riley and Parnell,  is the story of lyrical genius, Martin Phillipps and his band, The Chills. This intimate portrait bears witness as the eccentric Phillipps battles the jarring reality of his own mortality.  He is forced to reconcile a lifetime’s worth of curious collections, look back on a catalogue of heavenly pop hits and relive his place in the iconic Flying Nun and Dunedin sound.

“It is truly an honour to be launching one of New Zealand music’s most dramatic tales at SXSW, the place where the greatest music and film converge. I hope audiences in Austin will be as inspired by Martin Phillipps and his unyielding pursuit of music as I am,” says director and producer Julia Parnell. Martin Phillipps and his band, The Chills will also be performing in SXSW’s music festival which runs concurrently with the film festival.

International sales will be handled by Submarine Entertainment with Madman Entertainment distributing the film in New Zealand.

Vai, produced by Waru’s Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, is a portmanteau feature film made made by nine female Pacific filmmakers and filmed in seven different Pacific countries. The film follows the lifetime of Vai, played by a different indigenous actress in each of the Pacific countries. In each of these Pacific nations ‘vai’ means water which serves as the link between each vignette. The writer/directors are ‘Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Mīria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga and Nicole Whippy (writer/director) with Sharon Whippy (writer). Vai was filmed in Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kuki Airani (Cook Islands), Samoa, Niue and Aotearoa (New Zealand). 

Vai’s producers, Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton say, “We are so excited to be invited to screen Vai at SXSW. The festival’s kaupapa, celebrating raw innovation and emerging talent, makes it a fitting festival for our North American premiere!” International sales for Vai will be handled by MPI Media with Vendetta Films distributing the films in New Zealand.

Running 8 – 16 March, the SXSW Film Festival celebrates innovation and talent behind and in front of the camera.  The film festival runs imultaneously with SXSW Interactive (8-12 March) and SXSW Music (11-17 March) giving filmmakers the opportunity to connect with tech and music industry experts as well as fellow filmmakers. New Zealand films that have screened at SXSW include The Breaker Upperers, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Deathgasm.

Last updated: 
Thursday, 17 January 2019