Films by Language


¡Vivan las Antipodas!

Victor Kossakovsky

Like an exquisitely restrained Baraka, this radiant, magnificently photographed celebration of the natural wonders of the world takes us to four pairs of places directly opposite each other on Planet Earth – including New Zealand.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Alison Klayman

Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous artist, is one of the ruling party’s most trenchant and charismatic critics – and an astute master of online media. “An essential account of the artist-activist’s rise to international fame.” — The Guardian

The Ambassador

Mads Brügger

Denmark’s fearless Mads Brügger in person with his gonzo documentary. He buys himself a diplomatic post in the Central African Republic and proceeds, envelopes stuffed with cash, to jockey for power and influence.

Animation Now 2012

An international showcase of impressive recent animation in a wide array of techniques, digital and analogue, with an emphasis on the abstract and the expressive – and a few gag-based pieces too.

The Artists Cinema

The second annual Artists Cinema programme of short films again asks for a ‘response, comment, interruption and/or reflection on the cinema context’ from established artists more usually associated with the gallery context.

Ballroom Dancer

Andreas Koefoed, Christian Bonke

Rich, engrossing backstage documentary. Slavik Kryklyvyy, a former world Latin American dance champion, returns to competition with a new young partner. “Kryklyvyy is a superb physical specimen, and his dancing is sublime.” — Variety

Beasts of the Southern Wild

Benh Zeitlin

We open the year’s programme with an exhilarating rush of pagan festivity from the Louisiana Bayou – and a declaration of confidence in brilliant, purely cinematic originality. There’s a collective of artisanal talent informing every frame of this wild blend of social realism and eco-sci-fi. Winner of the Grand Jury and Cinematography Awards at Sundance, Beasts also took the Camera d’Or for Best First Film at Cannes in May.

Bernadette: Notes on a Political Journey

Lelia Doolan

The life and times of the fearless, fiercely articulate Irish Republican firebrand who became Britain’s youngest elected female MP at 21. “A stirring story told in an endlessly compelling voice.” — Irish Times


Richard Linklater

“Jack Black gives the performance of his career, under the pitch-perfect direction of his School of Rock director, Richard Linklater, who expertly crafts a black comedy with a deceptively sunny surface.” — NY Post

Bert Stern, Original Madman

Shannah Laumeister

This intimate, lavishly illustrated portrait exposes Bert Stern, the legendary photographer behind iconic images such as Marilyn in chiffon, Lolita and her lollipop, and such landmarks in 50s chic as Jazz on a Summer’s Day.

A Bitter Taste of Freedom

Frihetens bittra smak

Marina Goldovskaya

A highly affecting documentary about Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya who was murdered in 2006 after her disturbing reports from Chechnya. “Apt to provoke moral outrage in anyone short of Vladimir Putin.” — Variety

Bonjour Tristesse

Otto Preminger

Beautiful CinemaScope Technicolor restoration of Otto Preminger’s 1958 adaptation of Françoise Sagan’s scandalous bestseller starring David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Breathless star Jean Seberg – and the French Riviera.

The Boy Who Was a King

Andrey Paounov

Compelling, seductively humorous doco about Simeon II of Bulgaria’s rollercoaster journey from boy king in 1943 to popular hero in 2001. “A mesmerizingly strange true-life tale– a documentary delicacy to savour.” — Time Out


Lee Hirsch

Lee Hirsch’s doco is a powerfully effective tool in the campaign to drag school bullying out of the dark corners where it thrives. “Maybe, this film suggests, getting power to the powerless is not as impossible as it sounds.” — LA Times

The Cabin in the Woods

Drew Goddard

Writer Joss Whedon’s (The Avengers) deconstruction of the contemporary horror film manages to deliver the thrills of a teens-get-sliced scenario while piling on big laughs with meta-punchlines.

Call Me Kuchu

Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Meet the very brave and inspiring LGBT-rights activists in Uganda who are fighting a tide of homophobia driven by imported evangelism, political opportunism and tabloid sleaze. Winner of Berlin’s Teddy Award for Best Documentary.

Chasing Ice

Jeff Orlowski

Celebrating the Earth’s natural beauty while simultaneously serving as an environmental clarion call, Chasing Ice is a stunning and important document of our world in transition.


Craig Zobel

This polarising drama explores a vicious sexual prank that took place in a US fast-food chain store. “Tense, extraordinary… It’s not a movie you want to watch twice – or miss the opportunity to see once.” — Time Out NY


Frederick Wiseman

Frederick Wiseman, master of vérité, takes a wry look backstage at the most chic nude revue in Paris (and enjoys the view from out front as well). “The most entertaining film in his 40-plus-year career.” — Cinema Scope

Dead Europe

Tony Krawitz

Australia's Tony Krawitz (Jewboy, The Tall Man) directs the adaptation of The Slap author Christos Tsiolkas' award-winning novel in this searing film about history, guilt and secrets.

Death Row: Portrait of Hank Skinner

Werner Herzog

This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a Florida man convicted of a triple homicide, still protesting his innocence after 17 years and one last-minute stay of execution on death row.

Death Row: Portrait of James Barnes

Werner Herzog

This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a convicted wife murderer who converted to Islam in prison and confessed to earlier murders. A case of genuine remorse or a ruse to postpone execution?

Death Row: Portrait of Joseph Garcia and George Rivas

Werner Herzog

This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the cases of two of the ‘Texas Seven’ who pulled off a spectacular break-out from a Texas maximum security prison in 2000 – and, once thwarted, went from life to death row.

Death Row: Portrait of Linda Anita Carty

Werner Herzog

This superb true crime doco by Werner Herzog examines the case of a woman sentenced to death for her role in the murder of 25-year-old Joana Rodrigues in order to kidnap the latter’s baby son. Her hired accomplices go free.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Lisa Immordino Vreeland

This highly entertaining portrait invites you into the extraordinary world of the strikingly original and very influential style maven who became the first great fashion editor – at Harper’s BAZAAR and Vogue.

Dreams of a Life

Carol Morley

Haunting behind-the-headlines portrait of the life of vivacious London woman Joyce Vincent, whose disappearance went unnoticed for almost three years. “Riveting to watch and revealing to ponder long after it ends.” — The Observer


Juliet Bergh

Shot on the spectacular hills overlooking Cook Strait, Juliet Bergh’s salvagepunk Western set in a post-apocalyptic future is the first fruit of the Film Commission’s low-budget Escalator scheme. Starring Loren Taylor.

Farewell, My Queen

Les Adieux à la Reine

Benoît Jacquot

The last days of Marie-Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and the royal court of Versailles are seen from within, through the eyes of a servant (Léa Seydoux) in this spectacular French historical drama inflected with modern intelligence.

First Position

Bess Kargman

Six gifted young ballet students from disparate backgrounds prepare for the career-making Youth America Grand Prix in this intimate picture of the highly competitive world of dance. “Touching, enormously satisfying.” — Variety

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Howard Hawks

Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend! Marilyn Monroe is at her most beatifically ditsy alongside Jane Russell in Howard Hawks’ dazzling 1953 Technicolor screwball musical seen here in a new digital restoration.

Gerhard Richter Painting

Corinna Belz

Gerhard Richter, one of the world’s greatest living painters and now nearly 80 years old, talks about his work as a small film crew documents his creative process. “Akin to being in a museum that’s come alive.” — Film Comment

A Good Man

Bob Hercules, Gordon Quinn

An intensely stirring depiction of creative ambition and struggle, this portrait of charismatic African American choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones observes the artist as he forges a massive, controversial dance-theatre work for the Lincoln bicentennial.

Hitchcock's Blackmail

Alfred Hitchcock

This year the Festival’s popular collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra features the ninth and final silent film directed by young master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. With classic Charlie Chaplin short Easy Street.

Holy Motors

Léos Carax

An extraordinary surreal night journey through Paris starring Denis Lavant. With Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes. Don’t miss the sensation of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, rapturously received and wildly debated. “Weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact… A great big pole-vault over the barrier of normality by someone who feels that the possibilities of cinema have not been exhausted.” — The Guardian

How Far Is Heaven

Christopher Pryor, Miriam Smith

Filmmakers Chris Pryor and Miriam Smith lived at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River and have produced a lively, visually beautiful picture of the local community and the three Sisters of Compassion stationed there.

How to Meet Girls from a Distance

Dean Hewison

The inaugural winner of the Make My Movie feature film competition, Dean Hewison’s 'Peeping Tom romcom’ is a funny, kooky and rather sweet look at one shy guy’s attempt to find true love via unethical means.

The Hunt


Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, A Royal Affair) took the Best Actor Award at Cannes as an innocent man demonised by a child’s false accusation. “Entirely convincing… An unbearably tense drama-thriller.” — The Guardian

The Imposter

Bart Layton

Legendary French-Algerian con artist Frédéric Bourdin recounts his own breathtaking exploits. “A mesmerizing psychological thriller bulging with twists, turns, nasty insinuations and shocking revelations.” — Hollywood Reporter

Into the Abyss

Werner Herzog

A senseless triple homicide committed by two 18-year-olds during a car theft has been the defining event in a world of damaged lives investigated in this ‘rigorously humane’ (NY Times) documentary by Werner Herzog.

Keep the Lights On

Ira Sachs

Director Ira Sachs (Forty Shades of Blue) charts the highs and lows of a turbulent decade-long love affair between a Danish filmmaker and his New Yorker boyfriend. “A front-runner for best American film of the year.” — Village Voice

Killer Joe

William Friedkin

Matthew McConaughey is a Texan cop with a sideline in murder (for hire) in this lurid and bloody trailer-trash melodrama. With Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon. “Unabashed pulp.” — The Guardian

Last Days Here

Don Argott, Demian Fenton

A riveting portrait of loss and redemption as 53-year-old, one-time 70s rock god (and now crackhead) Bobby Liebling attempts to swap an early death in his parents’ basement for musical resurrection.

The Last Dogs of Winter

Costa Botes

For the past 40 years, in a remote and harshly beautiful corner of northern Manitoba, Brian Ladoon has devoted his life to preserving and breeding an endangered species: the Qimmiq, Canada's indigenous Eskimo dog.

The Last Ocean

Peter Young

A spectacular environmental documentary by Peter Young, one of New Zealand’s leading nature cinematographers and a key figure in the international movement to end fishing of the Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea.

Liberal Arts

Josh Radnor

In this Sundance hit romantic comedy 35-year-old Josh Radnor (who also wrote and directed) returns to college and falls for Elizabeth Olsen's sophomore theatre student. “Funny, moving, thoughtful, true.” — Paste Magazine

The Loneliest Planet

Julia Loktev

Julia Loktev’s tense drama of a young American couple and their local guide on a trek in the spectacular Caucasus mountains stars Gael García Bernal. “A stunning evocation of a relationship and a haunted place.” — Cinema Scope


Cate Shortland

Australian director Cate Shortland’s superb new film brings an acutely fresh eye to Rachel Seiffert’s post-World War II story of a spiky young German girl fleeing the Allied forces with her four younger siblings.


Victor Fleming

Live Cinema accompanied by City oh Sigh. Jazz baby Clara Bow creates havoc in the boondocks in this classic Hollywood comedy of the 20s. This racy little number celebrates a liberated city gal and her right to flirt with any man she pleases, wedding ring be damned.

Maori Boy Genius

Pietra Brettkelly

Internationally lauded Auckland filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly (The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins) accompanies 16-year-old Māori scholar Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti to Yale and a critical turning point in his education.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Matthew Akers

Matthew Akers’ compelling portrait shows this gorgeous 63-year-old performance artist’s journey from violent early works to her sell-out new work: silently sitting and encountering her audience.


Kevin Macdonald

“Stirring up an exhaustive portrait of the legend behind the music, Kevin Macdonald’s Marley is sure to become the definitive documentary on the much beloved king of reggae.” — Hollywood Reporter

Monsieur Lazhar

Philippe Falardeau

Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar is a flawlessly acted, sensitively understated teacher/student drama that accumulates surprising, affirmative, emotional power. “A really great movie.” — Village Voice

A Monster in Paris

Un Monstre à Paris

Bibo Bergeron

Animator Bibo Bergeron (A Shark’s Tale) delivers a lively child-friendly love letter to Paris (and the movies) a hundred years ago featuring a cute and sassy singer, a projectionist and a musically gifted giant flea.

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson’s Cannes opening-night film is a highly idiosyncratic, impeccably made portrait of young love circa 1965. With Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton. “Hilarious and heartfelt.” — Rolling Stone

My Brother the Devil

Sally El Hosaini

“Welsh-Egyptian Sally El Hosaini brings sensitivity, distinctive identity and an invigorating adrenaline charge to a story of criminally inclined East London youth in her dynamic first feature.” — Hollywood Reporter

Neil Young Journeys

Jonathan Demme

Neil Young fans: your man is on fire. A superbly recorded solo concert film directed up close by Jonathan Demme (Heart of Gold).

New Zealand's Best 2012

Six short films have been selected as the finalists in the inaugural NZIFF New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts

Ngā Whanaunga means relatedness and connectedness between peoples Selected for NZIFF by the Wairoa Māori Film Festival this lively collection showcases recent shorts by Māori and Pasifika filmmakers.

On the Road

Walter Salles

“Jack Kerouac’s peerless anthem to the romance of youthful freedom and experience has finally made it to the screen with its virtues and spirit intact.” — LA Times. Direct from Cannes.

Persuading the Baby to Float

Keith Hill

The ongoing artistic collaboration between pianist Norman Meehan, poet Bill Manhire and singer Hannah Griffin has produced two sublime CDs. Keith Hill’s doco captures them mid-process and in performance.

Photographic Memory

Ross McElwee

Cinema’s finest ongoing autobiographer, Ross McElwee (Sherman’s March, Bright Leaves) returns with another wry rumination on family and memory, comparing his rebellious son at 21 with what he can recall of himself at the same age.

Pictures of Susan

Dan Salmon

Fascinating, admiring documentary by Dan Salmon about NZ ‘outsider artist’ Susan King who stopped talking aged four and has produced more than 10,000 drawings throughout her life, now sought by art dealers worldwide.

Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Léa Pool

Léa Pool’s trenchant critique of breast cancer ‘culture’ questions the lucrative partnership between the pink ribbon campaign, corporations and cause marketing. “Angry and enlightening… powerful and subversive.” — Time Out NY


Oren Moverman

Explosive LA thriller from a James Ellroy script. “A terrific film: tense, shocking, complex, mesmerizing. It’s about a very bad Los Angeles cop, played with intricate demonic force by Woody Harrelson.” — Entertainment Weekly

Room 237: Being an Inquiry into The Shining in 9 Parts

Rodney Ascher

Rodney Ascher’s clip-laden doco deciphers the visual details of Kubrick’s horror classic in the company of five obsessive and haunted cineastes. “Catnip for Kubrickians and critics both professional and otherwise.” — Variety

The Sapphires

Wayne Blair

Fresh from its Cannes ovations. “A jewel-bright charmer [true story] about four spunky indigenous women whose powerhouse voices catapulted them onto the 60s-era world stage as Australia’s answer to the Supremes.” — Hollywood Reporter

Searching for Sugar Man

Malik Bendjelloul

Amazing Sundance-winning doco about renewed appreciation for 70s Mexican-American singer-songwriter Rodriguez. “A hugely entertaining, emotionally touching, and musically revelatory experience.” — The Playlist

Shadow Dancer

James Marsh

Clive Owen and Andrea Riseborough play a high-odds game of spy and spymaster in this gritty, nerve-wracking Belfast thriller. “Director James Marsh (Man on Wire) is working with riveting assurance.” — Hollywood Reporter

The Shining

Stanley Kubrick

Heeeere’s Johnny!! The Jack Nicholson/Stanley Kubrick horror classic returns to the giant screen in merciless HD DCP! “Alive with portent and symbolism, every frame of the film brims with Kubrick’s genius.” — Empire

Shock Head Soul

Simon Pummell

In 1903 Judge Daniel Paul Schreber published Memoirs of My Nervous Illness, one of the most remarkable studies of madness ‘from the inside’ ever written. Documentary, drama and CGI combine to tell his remarkable story.

Shut Up and Play the Hits

Will Lovelace, Dylan Southern

The wonderful LCD Soundsystem documentary/concert film gets close to James Murphy and brings the dance band’s final concert at Madison Square Garden to a giant cinema sound system near you. “A thrilling experience.” — SPIN

Side by Side

Christopher Kenneally

An engrossing, open-minded investigation of the digital revolution in filmmaking and its impact on the creativity of filmmakers. Keanu Reeves interviews Cameron, Lucas, Nolan, Lynch, Scorsese, Fincher, DOPs, VFX artists and many more.


Ben Wheatley

In this pitch-black comedy a pair of caravanning killers head off on a road trip through the beautiful Lake District. “The most consistently hilarious Brit-com for a good half-decade.” — Hollywood Reporter


L’enfant d’en haut

Ursula Meier

Terrific, intimate social-realist drama, Sister makes us anxious accessories of 12-year-old Simon, a quick-witted young thief working a Swiss ski resort. Superbly performed by newcomer Kacey Mottet Klein and French star Léa Seydoux.

Song of the Kauri

Mathurin Molgat

Mathurin Molgat’s comprehensive documentary about the past and future of the mighty kauri centres on an inspiring artisan: Northland luthier Laurie Williams.

Sound of My Voice

Zal Batmanglij

In this creepily ambiguous lo-fi metaphysical sci-fi thriller, a young couple infiltrate a suburban LA cult. With writer/star Brit Marling (Another Earth). “Taut, compelling… [A] nifty little spellbinder.” — Variety

Tātarakihi: The Children of Parihaka

Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph

Tātarakihi tells the story of a ‘journey of memory’ taken by a group of Parihaka children following in the footsteps of their male ancestors who were transported south after the Taranaki land confiscations of the 1860s.

This Must Be the Place

Paolo Sorrentino

“Quirky, hilarious and moving… a road trip of stunning scope yet deep intimacy, featuring an aged rock star-turned-Nazi-hunter played by Sean Penn at his transformative best.” — Variety. Also starring David Byrne.

Tongan Ark

Paul Janman

This lyrical documentary inducts us into the surprising world of Tongan Futa Helu and his Atenisi Institute. Probably the world’s smallest university, this unconventional institution proudly stands apart from church and state.

Two Years at Sea

Ben Rivers

Portrait of a happy rural hermit by Brit artist Ben Rivers. “A mysterious, quietly robust dream of a film… Two Years at Sea is less a documentary as such, more an impressionistic portrait, or a film poem.” — Independent on Sunday


Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin

Viewed as the underdog candidate, this lovingly crafted depiction of a white volunteer coach’s season with a football team in impoverished North Memphis was the surprise winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.


Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence

Funny, scary anthology about a group of louts hired to burglarise a creepy house and steal a rare VHS tape. “V/H/S delivers the thrills and chills craftily… Watch it with friends.” — William Goss, The Playlist

Village by the Sea

Michael Heath

Documentarian Michael Heath transports us to the Irish fishing village of Bunmahon where NZ artist Edith Collier painted during 1914–15. A gentle investigation of her work, the landscape, and the locals in this beautiful town.

We Feel Fine

Jeremy Dumble, Adam Luxton

Jeremy Dumble and Adam Luxton’s gonzo art movie tracks random sets of Auckland characters linked by a teenage boy’s bizarre video project. An eye-popping cameo from Florian Habicht exemplifies its cunning and rude energy.

West of Memphis

Amy Berg

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh were producers on this lucid, angry documentary and key players in the battle for justice for the ‘West Memphis Three’ imprisoned as teenagers for murders they did not commit.

Where Do We Go Now?

Et maintenant on va où?

Nadine Labaki

A spirited, entertaining tale of women in a Lebanese village distracting their men from ‘religious war’, directed by and starring Nadine Labaki (Caramel). People’s Choice Award, Toronto International Film Festival 2011.

Wish You Were Here

Kieran Darcy Smith

A blowout for two young Sydney couples in Cambodia ignites a war of nerves in a fiery psychological thriller starring Joel Edgerton and Antony Starr. “Coils around and around itself until viewers may have trouble breathing.” — Variety

Wuthering Heights

Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold’s radical, stunningly visual response to Emily Brontë’s classic excavates the primal passions that made the novel such an affront to society. “A beautiful rough beast of a movie, a costume drama like no other.” — The Guardian

Your Sister’s Sister

Lynn Shelton

Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt are sisters circling the same man (Mark Duplass) in this fresh, quick-witted comedy from writer/director Lynne Shelton (Humpday). “Insightful, probing and gloriously amusing.” — The Guardian