Films by Country

New Zealand

Antarctica: A Year on Ice

Anthony Powell

Filling the giant screen with stunning time-lapse vistas of Antarctica, and detailing year-round life at McMurdo and Scott Base, Anthony Powell’s documentary is a potent hymn to the icy continent and the heavens above.

The Deadly Ponies Gang

Zoe McIntosh

Clint and Dwayne, awesome lady-killer pony-riding gang of two, raise the funds to get Dwayne a new set of teeth. The funniest movie valentine to stoned mateship and recreational innovation in backblocks NZ since Kaikohe Demolition.

Don Driver: Magician

Paul Judge

Paul Judge’s doco provides a thorough record and eloquent posthumous tribute to a major and often controversial NZ artist. Draws on a wealth of archive material, plus his own interviews with Driver and other art world notables.

Fantail

Curtis Vowell

Playing Tania, a feisty young petrol station attendant figuring out her place in the world with no real help from anyone else, Auckland writer-actress Sophie Henderson is mesmerising. Directed by Curtis Vowell.

Gardening with Soul

Jess Feast

Sister Loyola Galvin turns 90 and shares insights on faith, ageing, compassion and compost. A NZ Gardener Gardener of the Year, Loyola’s commitment is to nurturing all living things, especially those which 'don’t get a good start’.

Giselle

Toa Fraser

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s superb, universally acclaimed production of the great Romantic ballet Giselle has now been made into a superb film, directed by Toa Fraser and shot by Leon Narbey. With Gillian Murphy, Qi Huan.

He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan

Annie Goldson, Kay Ellmers

Annie Goldson and Kay Ellmers’ doco, expanded from the film they made for Maori Television, takes a timely look at New Zealand’s military and media, notably journalist Jon Stephenson, in Afghanistan.

King of Caravans/A Story for the Modlins

Two short docos invite us into two very odd, very different personal domains. Zoe McIntosh found her King of Caravans at a motel caravan park in Whanganui. A Story for the Modlins uncovers a reclusive American family in Madrid.

Making Utu

Gaylene Preston

Gaylene Preston was behind the scenes on Utu. Her documentary captures the chutzpah, ingenuity and burgeoning national pride of the filmmakers and their newly evolving respect for tikanga Māori.

Michael Smither: Life and Death

Tony Hiles

New Zealand artist Michael Smither revisits two unfinished paintings and scores a lament for the Pike River miners. As he paints, he provides straightforward and illuminating commentary on technique and intention.

New Zealand's Best 2013

NZIFF’s only cash-prize competition section sets out to identify and reward the year’s best local shorts. Sample the best of homegrown talent as we line up the six finalists guest-selected by filmmaker Alison Maclean.

Oracle Drive

Gabriel White

Occupying a territory somewhere between ironic essay film and reverie, Gabriel White’s elegantly assembled Oracle Drive roves the well-mown desolation of the North Shore’s light-industrial urban fringe.

Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song

Tim van Dammen

Shakespeare’s tale of teen love reimagined as a rock opera set in a beachside caravan park. A triumphant blast of style and 21st-century Kiwi trailer trash pop. Classic tragedy probably shouldn’t be quite this much fun.

Scenes in My Head

Theo Taylor

When your mate has relationship problems, is it a good idea to bring your girlfriend along to help cheer him up? In Theo Taylor’s perceptive lo-fi feature we out with such a trio over a weekend spent at Lake Tarawera.

Shadow Lands

Mysterious landscapes and shadowy figures, both real and imagined, dominate these four impressively ominous short works by New Zealand filmmakers. Featuring films from SJ.Ramir, Gavin Hipkins, Colin Hodson and Tom O’Halloran.

Sheen of Gold

Simon Ogston

A documentary tribute to one of New Zealand’s most influential and eclectic rock bands of the 80s: the incomparable Skeptics. Featuring a wealth of archival footage, including their controversial 'AFFCO’ video.

Soul in the Sea

Amy Taylor

Amy Taylor’s moving doco explores the impact of Moko, a 'friendly dolphin’, on the eastern coastal communities he frequented in the six months up to his death in 2010 – and one woman’s quest to befriend and protect him.

Us and the Game Industry

Stephanie Beth

Swift and seductive, Stephanie Beth’s take on the grassroots talent of video games is a rare glimpse into a fascinating creative world, and a love letter to the 21st century’s only truly new art form.

Utu Redux

Geoff Murphy

The glorious peak achievement of the new feature film culture that burgeoned here in the 70s, Geoff Murphy’s 1983 Utu is unveiled afresh in its ravishing, pictorial splendour. Here it is, our own turbulent history transcribed with cinematic élan – and an elegiac, absurdist vision of the devil’s mischief in paradise.

Venus: A Quest

Shirley Horrocks

Dylan Horrocks, the noted graphic novelist (Hicksville), explores his family connection to the English astronomer who observed the transit of Venus in 1639. A personable, pro-science doco, dedicated to Sir Paul Callaghan.

The Weight of Elephants

Daniel Borgman

Kiwi-born Daniel Joseph Borgman returns to NZ, after a string of successful Danish shorts, with this piercing insight into the world of children, centred on a lonely, imaginative 11-year-old boy’s search for friendship.