Memorable Moments

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

The return of Utu to the giant screen 30 years after it first premiered. Geoff Murphy and Graeme Cowley introduce the opening night film and Zac Wallace is brought back from the dead (rumours were not to be believed, he was located in Australia) to attend the premiere.  

A delightful documentary about a nun in Island Bay meets a most appreciative audience at the Embassy Theatre hometown World Premiere screening. A standing ovation for Sister Loyola, director Jess Feast and producer Vicky Pope and smiles all round for Gardening with Soul. 

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


He may be the master of suspense, but Alfred Hitchcock also knew a thing or two about directing banter. Audiences emerge from stunning digitised screenings of Dial M for Murder and North by Northwest quoting the dialogue. “How does a girl like you get to be a girl like you?” 

Sean Baker declares he may just move to Wellington after discovering we’re more coffee-obsessed than he is. The Starlet director spends time with New Zealand filmmakers and participates in industry panels, making new connections to take back to LA.  

There are big, enthusiastic audiences for Fantail,  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. 

The second annual Wellington Film Society Film Quiz hosts seven teams battling it out for prizes that include vouchers for Sweet Mothers Kitchen, Kaffee Eis, Mannequin on VHS as well as Film Society memberships. The Deadly Quiz Gang took out first prize. 

We venture to the Light House Petone for the first time and Petone embraces us like old friends. Numerous sell out screenings and a smooth technical run. We like Petone. 

Filmmaker Toa Fraser, Qi Huan and Gillian Murphy attend the Wellington premiere of Giselle at the Embassy. Ballet fan girls shyly seek autographs from the RNZB lead dancers.   

Jon Stephenson, freelance journalist, flies in to Wellington in time for Q&A sessions at two screenings of He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan at Te Papa. A focussed discussion between filmmakers, Jon and the audience follow the screenings. 

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.  

Can you name any Radio New Zealand staff who did not see The House of Radio? A charming look at French public radio endorses our fondness for our own public broadcaster. NZIFF and the filmmakers enjoy fantastic NZIFF coverage on Radio NZ this year. The support is invaluable, thank you.  

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.   


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 a sold out audience at the Paramount on closing day.   

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

The Festival is extended by three days to accommodate extra screenings of 56 Up and The Human Scale as well as the sessions of the critically acclaimed Norte, the End of History.