2021 News

Audience Choice Award Winners Announced
Audience Choice Award winners Disconnected and Datsun 

Congratulations to the winners of the Audience Choice Awards in New Zealand's Best 2021 and Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2021.

The Audience Choice Award for New Zealand's Best 2021 went to Datsun, directed by Mark Albiston, and the Letterboxd Audience Choice Award for Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2021 went to Disconnected, directed by Maruia Jensen.

Mark will receive a 25% share of the box office takings from the New Zealand's Best 2021 screenings in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, while Jensen takes home a cash prize of $1000.

The awards were decided by audience voting at screenings in Wellington and Christchurch and were announced live last night at Wellington's Embassy Theatre ahead of the sold-out Closing Night screening of Palme d'Or winner Titane.

Ngā Whanuanga Māori Pasifika Shorts has screenings to come in Tauranga, Hawke's Bay, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Nelson, and a sold-out screening in Encore Week in Wellington. 

New Zealand's Best 2021 has screenings to come in Hawke's Bay, Masterton,and New Plymouth, and a sold-out screening in Encore Week in Wellington. 

Announcing the winner of Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts

Congratulations to filmmaker Maruia Jensen who was last night awarded the Wellington UNESCO City of Film Award for Best Film in the tenth annual Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts competition, for her film Disconnected.

Selected by the jury comprised of renowned playwright Victor Rodger, journalist and filmmaker Jodi Ihaka and aspiring filmmaker Oriwa Hakaraia, the award was announced live at Wellington's Roxy Cinemas, following a sold-out screening of the film collection.

The jury also awarded a special mention to cinematographer Elise Lanigan for film fire in the water, fire in the sky.

Of her win, filmmaker Maruia Jensen said, “Wow - this is amazing! It’s still sinking in. The film is based on real events and is very personal to me, so this is very special.”

In addition to Disconnected, the finalists, selected by curators Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, and Craig Fasi (Niue), Director of the Pollywood Film Festival, were Disrupt (dir: Jennifer Te Atamira Ward-Lealand), fire in the water, fire in the sky (dir: Mīria George), Sista (dir: Chantelle Burgoyne), and True Love (dir: Ray Edwards).

2021 marks the second year that Ngā Whanaunga, in its 10th year, has been

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Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival Director Marten Rabarts Steps Down

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival officially ends its Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin seasons on Sunday and with it, announces the departure of Festival Director Marten Rabarts.

Rabarts (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) was appointed Director in 2019 following the retirement of long-time director Bill Gosden due to ill health. Marten has directed the last two festivals and his decision to leave the role was made some months ago, but he was fully committed to seeing the 2021 festival delivered to its loyal audiences.

NZFFT Chair, Catherine Fitzgerald, said Marten was appointed with a vision to bring new and exciting developments to the festival, however with the emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic, these became impossible and simply delivering the 2020 and 2021 festivals was an all-encompassing challenge.

“We thank Marten for his energy, drive and tenacity which ensured that in 2020 we were able to deliver a hybrid festival for audiences, and that this year, despite having to cancel the Auckland and Hamilton legs, we have been able to present a festival – with an outstanding programme – in 11 centres around the country under Alert Level 2 restrictions.

“It has been a very challenging time and we acknowledge that this hasn’t

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When We Were Kids

Drumroll please ... congratulations to the winners of the tenth annual New Zealand’s Best short film competition, with three talented wāhine directors taking out top accolades.

The awards were announced live tonight following the screening of the films at The Embassy Theatre in Wellington.

The Vista Group Award for Best Short Film was jointly awarded to When We Were Kids and Washday. Auckland director Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu and Wellington director Kath Akuhata-Brown will share the cash prize of $7500.

Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu also received the Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award of $4000. The prize is awarded to a filmmaker whose work indicates the possibility of a feature made by them being of the stature and quality to open a Festival at Auckland’s The Civic in the future.

The Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award, an award that recognises a fresh voice, filmmaking that gives life to stories of those less often represented in film, or that speaks to new or existing audiences in different way, was awarded to Tūī. Director Awa Puna receives a cash prize of $4000.

The awards were judged by a three-member jury: filmmakers Annie Collins and Gaysorn Thavat, and Matthew Liebmann of Vista Group.

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Auckland Edition of NZIFF 2021 Cancelled

Today we share the heartbreaking news that following the Government’s announcement on Monday that Auckland will remain in a form of Alert Level 3 for coming weeks, the Auckland leg of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 must be cancelled.

New Zealand Film Festival Trust Chair Catherine Fitzgerald said the board and management have worked tirelessly to assess all possible options. “It is with very heavy hearts that we make this announcement today.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the festival would require indoor capacities to be uncapped for NZIFF 2021 to be able to go ahead in Auckland venues and cinemas, and this includes the recently-announced Matakana Cinemas which were added to festival for this year.

“With Auckland in a form of Level 3 for some weeks to come, and uncertainty around when capacity limits will be lifted, it is no longer possible for us to go ahead with the Auckland edition of this year’s festival.

“The team, led by Director – Kaiwhakatere Marten Rabarts and General Manager Sally Woodfield, has worked under extraordinary circumstances to do everything possible to present this year’s festival in all 13 towns and cities, and our programme confirmed for 2021, featuring an outstanding line-up of

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