Films by Collection

Staff Picks: Tom Ainge-Roy

Being born into a family of documentary film makers, I like to think I was always destined to be involved in films and what better way than to work at New Zealand’s biggest and best film festival! There is nothing like being awake in the dark watching a new film direct from Cannes at the glorious Embassy and this year there is a cracker of a line up coming! I like to mix my festival experience between rich cinematic storytelling and a journey of discovery of new ideas, people and places. The best films mix all these elements and leave you reeling as you exit the cinema. Documentaries are stacked heavy this year and with good reason, from seasoned veterans to new debuts, there is no shortage of fascinating subjects to encounter and it certainly feels like the genre is moving from strength to strength in the last few years. Without further ado, I present my picks for the festival.


Yann Demange

This nerve-racking wartime thriller from director Yann Demange and Black Watch writer Gregory Burke stars Jack O’Connell (Starred Up) as a lost British soldier hunted by both sides amid the mayhem of Belfast, 1971.

The Assassin

Nie Yinniang

Hou Hsiao-hsien

Shu Qi plays the eponymous killer in this ravishingly beautiful foray into historical martial arts territory from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-hsien. Winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes.


Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

A new summit in mountain sports documentary – with characters and a plot to rival many a feature, Meru captures the sheer physical extremity of two attempts to make the first ascent of a precipitous Himalayan peak.

Merchants of Doubt

Robert Kenner

Scoring its points through clearly stated arguments and pithy humour, Merchants of Doubt examines the methods corporations use to stymie political actions that would be good for public health, but bad for their bottom lines.

Best of Enemies

Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville

Anticipating the punch-counterpunch set-up of today’s TV punditry, but so much more incisive, the 1968 TV debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr resound again in this terrific documentary.