2017 News

You Said It: the Annual Survey Recap
My Life As A Courgette

Back in September we were brash enough to ask you how much you liked us. (We offered some tasty spot prizes as an inducement to respond.) 2,434 newsletter readers and/or ticket buyers took the time to do it. That added up to a lot of commentary for us to cover, but the feedback is enormously useful, not just for our own planning, but for sharing with partners, venues, suppliers and other colleagues.

The Films

As with every questionnaire we have ever run, the single subject on which no clear direction emerges is the programme. For some happy souls every film this year was a gem, for others NZIFF 2017 went down as a time of misery and ‘sad’ choices. One respondent would like the website amended so he or she would never be presented the option of seeing a French film. Numerous others request more films from a favoured country or field of interest. Some say ‘enough already with the documentaries’. Others say ‘bring on the docs’.


The excellent news for us is that 95% of the 2,434 ticked the boxes indicating they were very satisfied or satisfied with NZIFF in 2017. A mere 0.68% opted for the box

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Record-Breaking Attendance Tops off a Great Festival
Photo credit: Victoria Vincent

We bade farewell to NZIFF 2017 in Wellington last week with the final Extra Days screening of The Teacher at the Paramount. As we continue to screen in other parts of the country we’re buoyed by a record-breaking year in the capital.

Thank you Wellington for continuing to embrace and support NZIFF. With the largest contingent of NZ-made films in the programme this year we were able to present NZ voices on screen to a huge local audience while providing filmmakers with a share of the income from those NZIFF screenings. Wellington filmmakers Andrea Bosshard (Kobi), Nic Gorman (Human Traces), Robin Greenberg (TEAM TIBET), Tony Hiles (Michael Smither: Light Through the Trees), Gwen Isaac (Where There Is Life), Gaylene Preston (My Year with Helen), Hugh Macdonald (No Ordinary Sheila), and Paul Wolffram (What Lies That Way) all premiered new work at NZIFF.

This year audiences flocked to see Finnish refugee dramedy The Other Side of HopeSofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and Opening Night Cannes winner The Square. Documentaries proved immensely popular with Wellington audiences, notably films about the Voyager space project (The Farthest), James Baldwin (I Am Not Your Negro), and the cats in Istanbul (Kedi).

We are pleased to

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A Tribute to Sheila Natusch
Sheila Natusch on her honeymoon in 1950

We’re saddened to hear that Sheila Natusch has passed away, Thursday 10 August aged 91. Our hearts are warmed knowing that Sheila was able to view the film about her life, No Ordinary Sheila, with a packed auditorium in the 100 year old Paramount cinema in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon.

Our thoughts are with Hugh Macdonald, Sheila’s cousin and director of No Ordinary Sheila, Christine Dann the producer, and Sheila’s family and friends.

Hugh’s lovingly-made film tells the story of her life; a radiant, defiant and unconventional life story. What a lady. Rest in peace dear Sheila.

From the NZIFF Team 

New Zealand’s Best 2017 Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the sixth annual New Zealand’s Best 2017 short film competition. The winning shorts were announced on stage at the Civic Theatre in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2017 was awarded to Waiting, directed by Amberley Jo Aumua. The jury noted in their citation that they were particularly impressed with the screenplay which contributed to the film’s success and that the filmmakers had created a story with lasting impact despite having very few resources. Director Amberley Jo Aumua receives a cash prize of $5,000.

The Jury citation follows:

“In a field brimming with imagination and craft, just about any of the NZ’s Best finalists would have made worthy winners. For us, however, Waiting shone through thanks to an engaging story, raw emotional force and ineffable charm that will linger long in the memory. Samuel Kamu’s powerful screenplay and Amberley Jo Aumua’s assured direction mark them out as prodigious emerging talents. We can’t wait to see what they create next.”

The Wallace Friends of the Civic Award was awarded to Thicket. The finalists for this award were assessed by Sir James Wallace and Associate

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New Zealand's Best Jury Announced
New Zealand's Best jury members Armagan Ballantyne, Toby Manhire and Andrew Cozens

We are pleased to confirm Armagan Ballantyne and Toby Manhire as jury members for our New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition.

Armagan Ballantyne and Toby Manhire will join Andrew Cozens, representative for Madman Entertainment, to judge six short films selected by Gaylene Preston, at a public screening of New Zealand’s Best 2017 on Saturday 29 July in Auckland.

The jury will select the winner of the $5,000 Madman Entertainment Jury Prize, while a $3,000 Wallace Friends of the Civic Award will be awarded by donors the Wallace Foundation and Wallace Media Ltd, to the film or contributor to a film they deem to merit special recognition.

The winners will be announced during the closing weekend of the Auckland leg of NZIFF. The six finalists are Do No Harm (dir: Roseanne Liang), Laundry (dir: Becs Arahanga), Thicket (dir: Julian Vares), Untitled Groping Revenge Fairytale (dir: Catherine Bisley), Waiting (dir: Amberley Jo Aumua), and The Dregs (dir: Matt Campbell).

Guest selector Gaylene Preston selected the six finalists from a shortlist of 12. Festival programmers Bill Gosden and Michael McDonnell viewed 83 entries to prepare the shortlist.

New Zealand’s Best competition also includes an Audience award. Audiences in Auckland and Wellington will be

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