The Dark Horse will open NZIFF in Auckland on 17 July at the Civic Theatre and Wellington on 25 July at the Embassy Theatre. Directed by James Napier Robertson, and starring Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Once Were Warriors) and James Rolleston (Boy), The Dark Horse tells the story of the late Genesis Potini, the Gisborne-based chess champion who overcame mental illness to mentor youth on the East Coast.
Every year we look forward to celebrating and launching the work of our home grown filmmakers at NZIFF. Along with the moving and memorable The Dark Horse, we are just as proud to provide a rousing welcome home to Gerard Johnstone’s hilarious Housebound, which premiered to ecstatic audiences earlier this year at SXSW, and found international distribution at Cannes. Check out the trailer on the NZIFF film page.
The 2014 New Zealand line-up includes a further three local features and eight documentaries covering a diversity of subjects, both local and international.
The films are:
(Opening Night Auckland and Wellington, World Premiere)
Dir James Napier Robertson
Be the first in the world to acclaim a moving new New Zealand film. Cliff Curtis is superb as the late Genesis Potini, the speed chess champion who passed on his gift to countless East Coast children.
Dir Gerard Smyth
In New Zealand, writer Jean Watson is an anonymous elderly woman living in a modest Wellington flat. In southern India she is revered as the famous ‘Jean Aunty’. Gerard Smyth’s documentary explores her fascinating double life.
Dir Jim Marbrook
Jim Marbrook, director of Mental Notes and the original Dark Horse documentary, takes us inside the long environmental campaign that followed the pollution of traditional Kanak fishing grounds in New Caledonia in 2008.
Dir Gavin Hipkins
For his first feature-length film the widely exhibited New Zealand photographer Gavin Hipkins invests a richly pictorial essay with the 21st-century resonance of Samuel Butler’s lively utopian satire Erewhon, written in 1872.
Dir Max Currie
A man, a woman and a four-year-old boy retreat to a house outside town. What are they hiding from? Debut writer/director Max Currie staggers the revelations to dramatic effect in this suspenseful psychological drama.
Dir Alister Barry and Abi King-Jones
In the years since New Zealand politicians began to grapple with climate change our carbon emissions have burgeoned. Alister Barry’s doco draws on TV archives and interviews with key participants to find out why.
Dir Gerard Johnstone
Welcome home to the Kiwi horror house comedy that took SXSW by storm. Gerard Johnstone’s brilliant genre mash-up stars Rima Te Wiata, Morgana O’Reilly, Glen-Paul Waru and Cameron Rhodes.
Dir Paul Wolffram
Paul Wolffram’s fascinating and eloquent doco about Māori instrumental traditions accompanies Richard Nunns and Horomona Horo as they perform in a series of remarkable South Island wilderness settings.
Dir Sarah Cordery
Renowned critics of Israeli policies – Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Sara Roy and Robert Fisk – provide personal substance and historical perspective to their arguments in this impressive film by New Zealander Sarah Cordery.
Dir Paolo Rotondo
In writer/director Paolo Rotondo’s debut feature, three homeless teenagers break into a deluxe Waiheke Island home and find themselves caught in a tense psychodrama with the conflicted owner.
Dir Jonathan King
An up-and-coming media executive has good reason to question the very facts of his existence in this micro-budget sci-fi chiller from director Jonathan King (Black Sheep, Under the Mountain) and novelist Chad Taylor.
Dir Paora Joseph
This beautiful new film from the director of Tatarakihi honours the power and poetry in the stories of Whanganui iwi, past and present, and their longstanding struggle to reclaim guardianship over their ancestral river.
Dir Susy Pointon
Many roads lead to the Hokianga in this engaging documentary portrait of several generations of inhabitants: local iwi, long-established farming families, and the alternative lifestylers of the 60s and 70s who put down roots and stayed.
Tickets will be on sale in Auckland from Friday 27 June via Ticketmaster, and in Wellington from Tuesday 1 July via the NZIFF website.