You Were Saying...
Responding to our annual questionnaire got a whole lot easier this year, and record numbers of NZIFFers took the opportunity to do so. Here we report some trends, some particularly sharp remarks, and some outright contradictions that we could not ignore.
Getting out is good. More than a few festivalgoers took the time to extol the vibe, the buzz, the roar of the crowd: “Always love the festival energy, running into people I never see, chatting over a wine after the movies. It’s more than just going to the movies.”
After Shocks. “It was lovely to be part of the film festival especially after such. An. Alarming event.” Several respondents apologised for wimping out and contributing to our financial loss for the year. It’s ok. We understand. Donations will be happily accepted in lieu.
The films were everything they were cracked up to be. “This year's festival comprised an excellent collection of memorable films at Wellington's wonderful collection of art house cinemas.” “Loved the selection this year, and the marketing/film guide were both superb. Great write ups too.”
The films were not what they were cracked up to be. “This year I found many films v disappointing and not at all linked to the blurbs about them. A little more honesty next time please. Am unsure whether a) someone new is choosing them or b) there just weren't many good ones to choose from or c) NZFF couldn't source the best ones, but something was awry this year.” Aaargh. The abcs of death! The only films our longstanding programmers tried but failed to nab this year were the Palme d’or winner and the Coen Bros' Inside Llewyn Davis.
Fly the Flag. “I have been attending the festival since 1974 and it never lets me down. The cultural highlight of the year. I missed the banners, the visual evidence of the festival's presence.” We missed them too and we’re campaigning to occupy the lampposts again.
Ticketing. “Ticketing is the number one challenge facing the film festival.” You said it. We are working hard to persuade key partners that this is the case. As wearing as it has been to read them all, your complaints provide vivid evidence to all concerned that there really is a problem.
Location Location Location. “Keep it coming! As a Lower Hutt resident I really enjoyed Lighthouse being added to the team. It was a pleasant change to not have to travel to Wgtn each day.”
How to schedule a Film Festival. “Appalling… To bunch two or three screenings of the one film a day or less apart is irritating for those who may be out of town for that period.” Sorry, but when we only have a copy for five or six days, that’s what must happen. As duplicable DCP overwhelms digital tape formats, our options will be less constricted.
Animation. We’ve noted a lot of disappointment that there was no anime this year.
It’s the Economy. “Since the age of 15 I have always seen 10 or more films in the Wellington festival. So it was disappointing to me that I could only afford 4 films this year.” “If ticket prices were a bit lower they could encourage more attendees.” NZIFF trustees keep a close eye on ticket prices and recognise the principle that the more movies you get for your $$$, the happier everyone will be.
Hug a film festival. If we repeated every lovely compliment we’d received, you might accuse us of gloating, so we’ll wrap up with just one. But thanks for so many kind words. More often than not we do emerge from the annual frenzy feeling appreciated. “The variety, choice and breadth of our Film Festival is a source of constant amazement but for which I am incredibly grateful. Long live the Film Festival and those who sail in her. Having now attended some overseas film festivals, I can honestly say we can hold our head high amongst them.” Yay!