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.
- Darren Bevan
- David Larsen
- Films for Teens
- James Croot
- Meet the Filmmakers: Auckland
- Meet the Filmmakers: Wellington
- Patricia Watson
- Rebecca McMillan
- Staff Picks: Angela Murphy
- Staff Picks: Bill Gosden
- Staff Picks: Cianna Canning
- Staff Picks: Felicity Drace
- Staff Picks: Hayden Ellis
- Staff Picks: Jenna Udy
- Staff Picks: Kailey Carruthers
- Staff Picks: Kate McArthur
- Staff Picks: Lisa Bomash
- Staff Picks: Lynn Smart
- Staff Picks: Megan Duffy
- Staff Picks: Michael McDonnell
- Staff Picks: Olivia Young
- Staff Picks: Poppy Granger
- Staff Picks: Rachael Deller-Pincott
- Staff Picks: Sandra Reid
- Staff Picks: Sibilla Paparatti
- Staff Picks: Tom Ainge-Roy
- The Lumière Reader
- Tim Wong
- Wellington Film Society's Picks of NZIFF 2015
In J.C. Chandor’s intense, 80s-set thriller an ambitious wheeler-dealer on New York’s contested waterfront (Oscar Isaac) tries to detoxify his business, but his Mob daughter wife (Jessica Chastain) has other ideas.
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.
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.
Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon are indelible as a Manhattan slacker careening out of control and his mother battling cancer in Josh Mond’s intensely immersive first feature.
Alex Gibney’s documentary sensation, based on Lawrence Wright’s best-selling history of Scientology and its apostates, gets the big screen treatment it deserves.
A tiny North Dakota town wakes to a nightmare when a notorious white supremacist moves in and tries to take over in this gripping portrait of conflicting notions of freedom in a community under siege.
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.
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.
Ik ben Alice
Can a robot establish a ‘human’ relationship with someone? In this account of a Dutch pilot study, we see three elderly women become attached, with varying degrees of resistance, to a caredroid named Alice.
“Matthew Heineman’s troubling documentary about vigilante groups on both sides of the border in the porous region between Mexico and the Southwestern US – an area increasingly taken over by drug cartels – is explosive stuff.” — New York
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.