Memorable Moments

Here are some of ours. Please tell us about yours.

Deadly Ponies director Zoe McIntosh partners one of her stars to The Civic on opening night. The other two can be seen dive-bombing the Wintergarden’s bean bags at the reception. Audiences have to wait another two weeks to find out that their film was just as hilarious.

Every rhinestone is a star when Behind the Candelabra screens in ravishing 4K at The Civic. No other film ever sparkled as brilliantly. The actors aren’t so bad either.

Ant Timpson has waited 30 years to rev up the crowd to welcome Goblin to the stage to perform their Suspiria score. Big ups to the sound engineers at The Civic for their fine work on our first foray into prog rock Live Cinema. 

There are big, enthusiastic audiences for Fantail, Antarctica a Year on Ice, The Deadly Ponies Gang,  Gardening with Soul and the New Zealand’s Best Short Films. Smaller, intensely focused audiences for Sheen of Gold and He Toki Huna. Thanks to Graeme Hill of RadioLive and Metro editor Simon Wilson respectively for running the Q+As for these two. Graeme also ran the year’s longest (and we mean that in the best way) Q+A, with Anthony and Christine Powell after the World Premiere screening of Antarctica

The hush at the end of Utu’s campfire scene before the audience erupted into applause. The spirited and often hilarious Q+A  with Geoff Murphy, Graeme Cowley and a briefly repatriated Zac Wallace, chaired by Ian Mune for Script to Screen immediately afterwards. 

Academy Cinemas, Auckland’s enduring bastion of independent exhibition, makes a welcome return to the NZIFF campus under new management and fitted out for as many formats of digital projection as we can throw at them. A big hand for the team there for meeting the technical challenges with alacrity. NZIFF at the Academy has never looked or sounded better.  

Massive lines of patrons queue to buy their tickets the old-time way for a Saturday matinee of Gardening with Soul. NZIFF still accepts cash.

We enjoy enormous levels of international coverage when ‘Maniac’ is restricted to Festival screenings. Distributor Neil Foley resists the opportunity to promote our authorised NZIFF screenings to make a larger point about the censorship process. He taunts the Classification Office with the inevitable consequence of the classification: a rush to illegally download or stream the “banned” film. And what a rush there was.  

The best dressed audience by far is also the youngest one: The Bling Ring

Warwick Broadhead turns late arrival at a packed NZIFF screening into Performance Art as the opening images of Antarctica hit the giant screen and he makes his way to his seat in the centre front stalls crying “Mind your own business”  to all who protest. We wouldn’t mention such a show-off  if we didn’t have the impression that audiences this year were punctual and there were no egregiously late starts. 

Over 1,000 blokes throng the Civic on a Monday night for the Jackie Stewart doco, Weekend of a Champion.   

The patron who calls out from the stalls, demanding an end to Toa Fraser’s brief and moving introduction to the Civic matinee of Giselle. It is interfering with his schedule. A great surge of audience warmth for the director ensues.  

The cheering, laughing and singing at our screenings of Twenty Feet from Stardom is so loud that at times you almost can’t hear the on screen dialogue. What a hoot! The most uplifting music documentary experience this year.  

Three hours before our final Civic film we discover that the digital key (KDM) to unlock the Dance of Reality file closed 24 hours too soon. Please join us now in eternal gratitude to the technician who answered his mobile at 6.00 am in Paris and emailed the correct key in the nick of time. Please don’t ask what would have happened if he’d had his phone turned off. 

Conductor Marc Taddei marshalls the Auckland Philharmonia players into a perfect synchronisation of a fiendishly fast and precise score (by Timothy Brock) and a brilliant film (by Buster Keaton).  1928 was a very good year at NZIFF 2013: Johannes Contag’s score for The Crowd , commissioned for NZIFF with a grant from Creative NZ, drew the longest applause of any film at NZIFF this year. 

It was a coup to secure NZIFF screenings for Only Lovers Left Alive, this quintessential – and most amusingly Anglophiliac- serving of Jarmuschian cool. Sandra Reid, our woman in Cannes, trumped herself this year in identifying a striking number of key NZIFF titles, not least Opening Night, Centrepiece, and this widely relished Closing Night selection. 

We’ve had a great ride with reviewers and bloggers this year. And any film that was poorly received in one quarter – To the Wonder, Magic, Magic, Post tenebras lux – found ardent champions in another.  

Here’s a few round-ups we enjoyed reading:

The Lumière Reader's Critical Roundup: NZIFF Endnotes 

NZ Listener's Helene Wong, David Larsen and Hugh Lilly each pick their top five films at NZIFF 2013

Flicks.co.nz NZIFF 2013 Mini Reviews

Dominic Pink's A Fistful of Culture blog: Highlights of NZIFF 2013