Issue date: 
Friday, 19 October 2018

The following is a selection of annual film festivals in New Zealand that screen New Zealand films.

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is a national event featuring a programme of 150 – 170 feature films in Auckland and Wellington and slightly smaller, curated selections throughout the rest of the country.  The festival is a consolidation of several separately evolved festivals across New Zealand and was first presented as a single, united event in 2009 under the New Zealand International Film Festival banner.  In 2020 the festival was rebranded as Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival.

The festival programme offers a section of films from Aotearoa New Zealand including world premieres and New Zealand premieres for films that launched at offshore festivals.  There is also a short film competition selected and judged by prominent members of the New Zealand film industry (previous judges have included Dame Jane Campion, Kerry Fox, Tusi Tamasese, Gaylene Preston, Alison Maclean) and New Zealand audiences.  New Zealand short films are also selected to screen ahead of some features and there is a programme of Māori and Pacific Island shorts.

The Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is held annually in July and August, but disruption due to COVID-19 has meant the 2021 festival is being held in late October and November.

Doc Edge

The Doc Edge Festival is an Academy Awards qualifying international documentary film festival that has been held annually in Auckland and Wellington since 2005. In 2020 the festival was taken online, giving access to audiences across New Zealand.

A range of activities relating to documentary filmmaking is held around the festival and throughout the year.  These include programmes for schools, programmes for digital storytelling and a forum for documentary filmmaker to learn from experts in the field.  Doc Edge also run a pitch session for filmmakers to pitch their documentary ideas to industry experts and a series of clinics throughout the year offering professional development to documentary filmmakers.

The Doc Edge Festival is held annually in May and June with the associated programmes running throughout the year.

Show Me Shorts Film Festival

Show Me Shorts is New Zealand’s leading international short film festival and was the first New Zealand festival to become Academy Awards accredited.  The festival has run since 2006 and now screens in 40 venues across New Zealand including in Stewart Island and at Scott Base in Antarctica.  The festival programmes a large number of New Zealand short films alongside a substantial international programme.  Many New Zealand shorts have their world premieres at the festival with others receiving their first New Zealand screenings after premiering at festivals overseas.

Alongside the festival Show Me Shorts runs a screenwriting lab to help filmmakers develop short film scripts.  Show Me Shorts also has a sales agency for New Zealand short films, giving these films an opportunity to reach audiences beyond the festival, in New Zealand and overseas.

Show Me Shorts is held annually in October and November with screenings continuing through January in some locations.  An online programme is also available, making the festival available to audiences across New Zealand.

Wairoa Māori Film Festival

The Wairoa Māori Film Festival has been running since 2005 to support, recognise and present films from indigenous filmmakers with a focus on Māori.  A programme of films from Pasifika filmmakers is also featured, and a small selection of international films from indigenous filmmakers.  The festival is part of an international network of indigenous film festivals.

The programme features a selection of recent New Zealand feature and short films made by Māori and Pacific Island filmmakers.  The festival runs special events alongside the festival including an awards night at which the annual WIFT NZ Mana Wahine Award is presented.

The Wairoa Māori Film Festival is held in Wairoa and nearby towns on New Zealand’s East Coast annually over the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June.

Māoriland Film Festival

The Māoriland Film Festival was founded in 2014 to celebrate indigenous voices in storytelling in film.  It has since grown to be the largest presenter of indigenous screen content in the Southern Hemisphere and runs a year-long programme of events to support indigenous filmmakers and filmmaking.

Based in Ōtaki on the Kāpiti Coast, the Māoriland Hub is central to the festival and all programmes and events, and is home to an art gallery and performance space as well as being the festival’s technical and creative hub.

The festival programme includes narrative and documentary feature and short films, music videos, animated projects and experimental films.  There is a special programme for rangatahi offering young filmmakers between 16 and 24 the opportunity to have their films screened for audiences.  Immersive technology is also on show with VR, games and other innovated technologies on display.  All programmes require that at least one key creative on any submitted project is indigenous.

An awards ceremony is held on the festival’s final day, awarding audience favourites across several categories.

The Māoriland Film Festival is held in Ōtaki annually in March.

Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival

Run over three days, the Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival is run by Māori filmmakers, The Steambox Collective.  The programme features the best of indigenous filmmaking from around the world, with a particular focus on films from Māori and Pacific Island filmmakers.  Alongside the screening programme, the festival runs industry workshops and a pitching competition.

The festival is held annually in Rotorua.


Last updated: 
Tuesday, 19 October 2021