Films by Country


Animation Now 2013

Diversity is always one of the aims we embrace in the process of putting our annual Animation Now programme together.

A Band Called Death

Jeff Howlett, Mark Covino

Punk before punk existed, three black teenage brothers formed a band and put down a demo tape in 1974 but never recorded an album. The discovery of that demo has been a revelation. This heartfelt doco tells their story.

Behind the Candelabra

Steven Soderbergh

Michael Douglas becomes a glittering colossus of kitsch as Liberace, the most flamboyantly gay, closeted entertainer in Las Vegas, while Matt Damon is achingly right as the young hunk who became his companion in the late 70s.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

Drew DeNicola, Olivia Mori

A storied account of 70s Memphis power pop band Big Star, widely regarded as one of the greatest bands in rock history, and tragically little known in their day. “A boon to members of the Big Star cult.” — Hollywood Reporter


Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Engrossing, highly informative doco investigates the story of Tilikum, a six-ton bull orca, whose killing of his Sea World trainer was blamed on the victim herself. “A mesmerizing psychological thriller.” — Variety

The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola

Direct from Cannes. Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) delivers a coolly satirical take on the true story of Californian rich kids who found media fame breaking into the houses of celebrities. With Emma Watson.

Blood Brother

Steve Hoover

Winner of both Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary at Sundance, Blood Brother explores the idealism of a young American aid worker in an Indian orphanage. “Documentaries don’t come any bigger-hearted.” — Variety

Blue Ruin

Jeremy Saulnier

It’s been a few years since Jeremy Saulnier’s horror-comedy mash-up Murder Party hit the festival circuit and won a lot of fans. Now he’s back with a riff on the revenge movie, immediately selected for the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes.

The Cameraman

Buster Keaton, Edward Sedgwick

Our popular annual collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra presents the last of the great Buster Keaton comedy features and Cops, a classic short. Marc Taddei conducts scores by Timothy Brock.

Charles Bradley: Soul of America

Poull Brien

Intimate and rousing musical portrait of the R&B singer who went from James Brown impersonator to acclaimed Daptone recording artist in his own right at age 62. “A Superfunky good time.” — Twitch

Cheap Thrills

E.L. Katz

How far would you go for some free money? Would you walk naked through a bar for $100? Would you punch a stranger's face for $200? It's always interesting for audiences to ponder what they’d do in hypothetical situations, which is exactly why filmmakers have so much fun with dark and devilish exercises like Cheap Thrills.

Computer Chess

Andrew Bujalski

This wry 2013 mockumentary about an early computer vs computer chess tournament looks and talks like an authentic 80s relic. “An endearingly nutty, proudly analog tribute to the ultra-nerdy innovators of yesteryear.” — Variety

The Crash Reel

Lucy Walker

The meteoric rise, calamitous crash and remarkable endurance of US champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce are related with nerve-wracking immediacy in Lucy Walker’s (Waste Land) doco. “Enthralling.” — Screendaily

The Crowd

King Vidor

This astounding and rarely seen masterpiece of 20s cinema juxtaposes individual dreams and the mass energy of pre-Depression New York City to mesmerising effect. With a live score composed by Cloudboy’s Jo Contag.

Cutie and the Boxer

Zachary Heinzerling

This affectionate, though hardly sugar-coated, portrait of two artists you probably have never heard of may well prove an NZIFF favourite.

Dial M for Murder 3D

Alfred Hitchcock

In the only Hitchcock movie ever shot in 3D, quintessential cool blonde Grace Kelly stars as a society woman for whom jealous husband Ray Milland arranges the perfect murder. But thanks to a well-placed pair of scissors, the tables are turned, and Milland’s carefully laid plans begin to disintegrate.

Dirty Wars

Richard Rowley

With the intrigue and energy of a thriller, Dirty Wars shines a startling light on the new shape of America’s War on Terror. Acclaimed journalist Jeremy Scahill investigates the far-reaching Joint Special Operations Command.

The East

Zal Batmanglij

A corporate spy infiltrates a group of eco-activists in this espionage thriller from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice). “The kind of rock-solid intelligent entertainment that has become all too rare.” — Film Comment

Frances Ha

Noah Baumbach

Greta Gerwig stars in and co-wrote this charming portrait of an aspiring dancer floundering in hipster Brooklyn. Directed by Noah Baumbach. “Cutely serious Gerwig’s performance is full of depth and nuance.” — The Guardian

Gideon’s Army

Dawn Porter

The soldiers of Gideon’s Army, Dawn Porter’s stirring debut documentary, are public defenders, lawyers who dedicate themselves to representing the indigent, and regularly answering the question, 'How can you defend those people?’

Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

Nicholas Wrathall

Vital portrait of the late novelist, playwright and TV personality, born a Washington DC insider and a biting critic of successive US regimes. “Captures Gore Vidal in all his ever-articulate glory.” — Hollywood Reporter

It Felt Like Love

Eliza Hittman

Budding sexual awakening is explored with a resolutely and refreshing female sensibility in this evocative study of a teenage girl’s attempts to attract an older guy during a hot Brooklyn summer.


Evan Jackson Leong

This close-up encounter with NBA star Jeremy Lin was in the works long before he exploded onto the scene in February 2012. “Not just a stirring sports drama but also a classic immigrant-family success story.” — Hollywood Reporter

Magic Magic

Sebastián Silva

This Sundance hit features breakout star Juno Temple (Killer Joe) in an unnerving psychological mood piece from Chilean writer-director Sebastián Silva. “The movie itself is even crazier than its protagonist.” — Screendaily


Jillian Schlesinger

“This inspirational true story vibrantly captures the personality of its determined Dutch protagonist, 16-year-old Laura Dekker, who holds the title as the youngest person to sail around the world solo.” — Variety


Franck Khalfoun

Now here's one for the head-scratcher file: a remake of an infamous 80s slasher flick with sweet, innocent Elijah Wood in the role once played by the late, great, bloated and sweaty Joe Spinnell.

Mistaken for Strangers

Tom Berninger

Behind the scenes on tour with indie rock heroes The National – as filmed by their incompetent roadie, Tom Berninger, the heavy-metal loving, younger brother of lead singer Matthew.

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon and a cast of his TV regulars breathe fresh life into Shakespeare’s comedy of romantic gamesmanship. “The first great contemporary Shakespeare since Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.” — The Guardian


Jeff Nichols

Mississippi teenagers on the run fall in with a charismatic fugitive. “Matthew McConaughey turns in his best performance and filmmaker Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) captures a slice of backcountry soul.” — LA Times

Museum Hours

Jem Cohen

This lovely portrait of an unexpected friendship between a solitary traveller (singer Mary Margaret O’Hara) and an urbane museum guard is infused with the glories of the magnificent Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock’s masterpiece of popular cinema, simply one of the most entertaining thrillers ever made, looks better than ever in this fabulous new 4K digital restoration. With Cary Grant, James Mason, Eva Marie Saint.

One Track Heart The Story of Krishna Das

Jeremy Frindel

Admiring portrait of a rock singer who became a beloved chant master. “Modest and affecting, it’s a portrait of the possibility of finding peace, contentment and self through both music and spirituality.” — Time Out

Ornette: Made in America

Shirley Clarke

New York’s Milestone Films continues its essential mission of restoring the perceptive and socially conscious works of underground American filmmaker Shirley Clarke with this mesmerizing 1985 portrait of jazz icon Ornette Coleman.

Persistence of Vision

Kevin Schreck

Fascinating portrait of animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) who ploughed massive resources into a legendary animated feature, The Thief and the Cobbler, and saw it destroyed. With dazzling surviving sequences.

Prince Avalanche

David Gordon Green

Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch play highway workers, complete opposites, whose job it is to paint centerlines on a rural Texas roadway. “An unconventional, ultimately rather sweet buddy pic that's an audiovisual treat.” — Variety

Silence in the House of God

Mea Maxima Culpa

Alex Gibney

A concise account of the Catholic Church’s protection of its most errant priests. “At once cool and scalding, outraged and meticulous; a must-see for everyone, both inside and outside the 'House of God’.” — Financial Times

Sleepwalk with Me

Mike Birbiglia

Comedian and diagnosed sleepwalker Mike Birbiglia directs his own self-portrait. “Birbiglia may just be the new Woody Allen... The funniest, most tender, thoughtful and downright brilliant comedy we’ve seen in years.” — GQ

The Source Family

Jodi Wille, Maria Demopoulos

A sobering and fascinating time capsule of 70s psychedelia and communal hippiedom, with those who lived through the psychedelia, the songs and the madness – all wrapped up with eye-popping home movies and insightful interviews.

The Spectacular Now

James Ponsoldt

This refreshingly unaffected high school comedy-romance was a Sundance hit. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley shared the Grand Jury Acting Award playing a popular boy with booze issues and the shy girl he takes a shine to.


Sean Baker

Twenty-one-year-old Dree Hemingway and 85-year-old newcomer Besedka Johnson star in an unlikely story of an intergenerational friendship in California’s San Fernando Valley. “An empathic, absorbing tale.” — Village Voice

Terms and Conditions May Apply

Cullen Hoback

A smartly assembled documentary exposé about the terms of agreement that we all blithely click through when we join Facebook or Google or iTunes or a multitude of other websites. “Deeply unnerving stuff.” — Twitch

This Ain't No Mouse Music!

Chris Simon, Maureen Gosling

Loving, music-filled tribute to Chris Strachwitz, guiding force behind legendary roots music label Arhoolie Records. With Ry Cooder, Clifton Chenier, Richard Thompson, Flaco Jiménez and a new generation of roots musicians.

To the Wonder

Terrence Malick

Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko star in an impressionistic contemplation of eroticism and grace by Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life). “A rapturous photo essay on carnal and spiritual love.” — Time

Twenty Feet from Stardom

Morgan Neville

A rousing music-filled portrait of some of the great backup singers of American pop, rock and R&B, with appreciations from Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Sting and more. “An unexpectedly moving, often joyous triumph.” — Indiewire

Upstream Color

Shane Carruth

The year’s most tantalising cinematic whatsit from writer/director/editor/composer/star Shane Carruth (Primer). “An out-there yet undeniably gripping tale that's part romance, part sci-fi and utterly original.” — LA Times


Adam Wingard, Edúardo Sanchez, Gareth Huw Evans, Gregg Hale, Jason Eisener, Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto

Join the creators of The Raid, Hobo with a Shotgun, The Blair Witch Project and You’re Next as they unleash the acclaimed sequel to last year’s hit anthology V/H/S.

Valentine Road

Marta Cunningham

This documentary teases out the clash in community values underpinning the schoolroom shooting of a gay junior high student in California by a fellow student. Was it murder, a hate crime or justifiable self-defence?

Valley of Saints

Musa Syeed

The ravishing glory of the Lake Dal region in Kashmir stands revealed in this delicate tale of two young boatmen who dream and scheme to head to Mumbai together. “A lyrical, tender film.” — Hollywood Reporter

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Alex Gibney

Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) delivers a gripping account of the rise and fall of Julian Assange and outted WikiLeaks whistle-blower Bradley Manning. “Probing, altogether enthralling.” — New York

What Maisie Knew

David Siegel, Scott McGehee

Steve Coogan and Julianne Moore are the divorcing parents seen from the viewpoint of six-year-old Maisie (amazing Onata Aprile) in this 21st-century Manhattan update of Henry James’ novel. With Alexander Skarsgaard.

Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?

The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

Sebastian Junger

A moving portrait of the British war photographer and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tim Hetherington, featuring many of his acclaimed photographs and video reports. Directed by his friend and Restrepo co-director, journalist Sebastian Junger.

You're Next

Adam Wingard

Taut, tight and consistently funny home invasion thriller. “A refreshingly breathless horror/thriller that feels like the wise-assed love-child of The Big Chill, Murder By Death, and Friday the 13th.” — FEARnet