NZIFF Booklet

Films by Country

USA

Animation Now! Indie LA

Los Angeles plays itself in this bracing compilation of animated shorts by the city’s best independent practitioners of the form.

Author: The JT LeRoy Story

Jeff Feuerzeig

Revisiting an infamous literary scandal of the last decade, Jeff Feuerzeig’s documentary re-examines the many lives of Laura Albert, who was exposed as the true author of sensational bestsellers by teenage prodigy JT LeRoy.

Beware the Slenderman

Irene Taylor Brodsky

An alarming look at the power of the internet: a meme inspires two girls to murder their friend. This doco explores the real-life horrors of the digital age.

Burden

Timothy Marrinan, Richard Dewey

The late performance artist Chris Burden was first known for confronting works involving extreme physical peril, but his later installations are almost universally adored. This compelling new film charts his journey.

Cameraperson

Kirsten Johnson

Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles excerpts and offcuts from her remarkable career (to date) to evoke an assortment of uneasily resolved questions about ethics and compassion in documentary film.

Captain Fantastic

Matt Ross

Renaissance man Viggo Mortensen steals the show as a solo father whose idealistic way of raising his six children off the grid comes under attack in this energetic, comedic drama.

Certain Women

Kelly Reichardt

Laura Dern, Michelle Williams and Kristen Stewart are beautifully attuned to Meek’s Cutoff director Kelly Reichardt’s intimately observed, interwoven tales of three independent women in contemporary small town Montana.

Doglegs

Heath Cozens

Guest expat Kiwi filmmaker Heath Cozens presents his provocative documentary about members of a Tokyo fight club where the disabled enter the ring to battle each other and the able-bodied.

The Eagle Huntress

Otto Bell

A 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl breaks a gender barrier to follow her father and train hunting eagles in this spectacular and entertaining documentary.

Equity

Meera Menon

Written, produced and directed by women and with women in all the key roles, this smart and entertaining film about an ambitious investment banker (Anna Gunn) puts a feminist twist on the Wall Street thriller.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater follows Boyhood by recalling his own first days at college in this hilarious, deeply relaxed comedy about male bonding, set in the bars, discos, parties and frat houses of 1980 Austin.

The First Monday in May

Andrew Rossi

Behind the scenes at the New York Met’s sumptuous 2015 Costume Institute show ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’ and its Anna Wintour-spearheaded opening ball, the celebrity packed Met Gala.

Free in Deed

Jake Mahaffy

The power of faith to heal – and hurt – is dramatised with bruising compassion in Jake Mahaffy’s Venice-prizewinning tale set within a Memphis storefront church congregation.

Gimme Danger

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch pays tribute to seminal proto-punk champs the Stooges and their wiry frontman Iggy Pop in this tremendously entertaining rock doco, charting their rise and premature demise through to their late-career revival.

The Greasy Strangler

Jim Hosking

Hands down the grossest, weirdest and truly most ‘WTF?’ film screening at NZIFF. A perverted combination of John Waters at his appalling best and the warped comedy of Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric.

Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier

Punk rockers and skinheads clash in this intense, darkly humorous game of cat-and-mouse, from the director of bracing indie thriller Blue Ruin.

Heart of a Dog

Laurie Anderson

An enchanted cinematic essay by legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson. A self-narrated punk meditation on love and death; exquisitely crafted and effortlessly profound.

Hooligan Sparrow

Wang Nanfu

Filmmaker Wang Nanfu shares alarming risks with her subject, accompanying fearless Chinese women’s rights activist Ye Haiyan on a mission while facing intimidation at every turn.

Indignation

James Schamus

Adapted from Philip Roth’s autobiographical novel of the same name, Indignation is an incisive, affecting drama of embattled individuality on a 50s American campus. With Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon.

In Jackson Heights

Frederick Wiseman

Successive generations of immigrant Americans mix it up in veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s celebration of a community fighting gentrification in New York’s most ethnically and culturally diverse neighbourhood.

Jim: The James Foley Story

Brian Oakes

Directed by a longtime friend, this documentary tribute to the life and work of war correspondent James Foley ensures that he will be well remembered for much more than his grisly public death at the hands of ISIS.

Johnny Guitar

Nicolas Ray

Nicholas Ray’s legendary 1954 Western put Joan Crawford in trousers with seething rival Mercedes McCambridge inciting mob violence. Riper, and more weirdly affecting than ever in this brilliant 4K Trucolor restoration.

Kate Plays Christine

Robert Greene

Director Robert Greene and actress Kate Lyn Sheil blur fiction and reality as they investigate and reconstruct the story of newscaster Christine Chubbuck, who infamously committed suicide live on-air in 1974.

Le Ride

Phil Keoghan

Amazing Race supremo Phil Keoghan jumps onto a 1928 bike to ride the Tour de France as experienced by Kiwi Harry Watson, one of the first English-speaking cyclists to enter, let alone complete the race.

Life, Animated

Roger Ross Williams

This incredibly moving and fascinating doco takes us into the interior life of autistic Owen Suskind, and explores how his love of Disney animated features gave him the tools as a child to communicate with the world.

Little Men

Ira Sachs

Two New York boys fight to keep their parents’ personal business from sabotaging their connection in Ira Sachs’ tender tale set against the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighbourhood.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog, director of such notable classics of the non-fiction realm as Grizzly Man, turns his inimitable eye on the galloping evolution of the internet, its geniuses and its ominous implications for creation at large.

Lovesong

So Yong Kim

Jena Malone and Riley Keough play former college friends whose infrequent meetings run deep in director So Yong Kim’s intimate, beautifully nuanced study of friendship and the attraction of opposites.

McCabe & Mrs Miller

Robert Altman

A stunning digital restoration of Robert Altman’s classic, lyrical reinvention of the American Western, made in 1971. Warren Beatty stars as a gambler going into business with Cockney madam Julie Christie. Songs by Leonard Cohen.

Midnight Special

Jeff Nichols

Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher star in this dazzling, genre-defying sci-fi/chase movie from the director of Mud and Take Shelter.

Miss Sharon Jones!

Barbara Kopple

Academy Award-winning documentary maker Barbara Kopple delivers definitive proof, from show-stopping testimony in a small South Carolina church to Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre, that nobody raises the roof like Sharon Jones.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Morgan Neville

On a quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein’s ‘universal language of music’, renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma travels the old ‘Silk Road’ with virtuoso musicians from diverse instrumental traditions to collaborate on rousing new musical explorations.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2016

Check out the latest and best Māori and Pasifika short films as selected for NZIFF by Leo Koziol, Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, and Craig Fasi, Director of the Pollywood Film Festival.

Nuts!

Penny Lane

Loaded with wry humour and surprising rug-pulls, Penny Lane’s supremely strange biography of 1920s impotence-cure mogul J.R. Brinkley is the documentary oddity every festival watch-list needs at least one of.

Obit

Vanessa Gould

Vanessa Gould’s fond and fascinating documentary introduces us to the unseen women and men responsible for crafting the obituaries of the New York Times.

One-Eyed Jacks

Marlon Brando

A singular Western rightfully restored for the big screen, Marlon Brando’s sole directorial effort and legendary film maudit arrives fresh from its enthusiastic reappraisal at Cannes.

Operation Avalanche

Matt Johnson

Everyone knows the moon-landing was faked for the television cameras, but nobody had quite so much evidence before actor/director Matt Johnson uncovered this astounding behind-the-scenes footage, starring himself.

Paterson

Jim Jarmusch

Direct from Cannes, Jim Jarmusch’s beautifully calibrated ode to art and ordinariness stars Adam Driver as a New Jersey bus driver who writes poetry in his downtime and Golshifteh Farahani as his cupcake chef wife.

Radio Dreams

Babak Jalali

In this deadpan comedy, a high-minded Iranian writer pursues his ambitious goal of cultural exchange, bringing together Metallica and Kabul Dreams, Afghanistan’s first rock band, at a lo-fi radio station in San Francisco.

Safety Last!

Fred Newmeyer, Sam Taylor

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Live Cinema at NZIFF brings back the most thrill laden classic of silent comedy. Marc Taddei conducts Carl Davis’ original scores for Harold Lloyd’s Safety Last! and his rarely seen short film An Eastern Westerner.

Shadow World

Johan Grimonprez

Based on a behind-the-scenes exposé written by former South African politician Andrew Feinstein, this excoriating doco from Johan Grimonprez offers a superb and succinct examination of the global arms trade.

Sixty Six

Lewis Klahr

Bringing the work of master collagist Lewis Klahr to New Zealand for the first time, this new collection of short films offers a terrific introduction to his eye-zapping assemblages of 60s pop culture ephemera.

Songs My Brothers Taught Me

Chloé Zhao

A heartfelt dramatised contemplation of life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, experienced partly through the eyes of a 13-year-old girl steeling herself for the departure of her adored older brother.

Swiss Army Man

Daniel Scheinert, Daniel Kwan

Paul Dano discovers all the tools he needs for survival in Daniel Radcliffe’s multi-purpose corpse in this wildly weird desert island comedy from viral and music video oddballs the Daniels.

Thithi

Raam Reddy

From India’s southern state of Karnataka, this award-winning comic gem made by first-time director Raam Reddy charms with its easygoing naturalism, evocative setting and colourful cast of characters.

Tower

Keith Maitland

Blending animation with live action, oral history and archival footage, Keith Maitland’s SXSW winner is a suspenseful doco that recreates the terrible day of America’s first mass shooting on a campus.

Unlocking the Cage

Chris Hegedus, D.A. Pennebaker

After a lifetime of preparation, US animal protection attorney Steven Wise builds a groundbreaking suit seeking legal autonomy for chimpanzee clients. Expertly documented by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker.

Weiner

Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

An amazingly up-close and personal view inside the New York mayoral campaign that became a media frenzy when the charismatic candidate with the excruciatingly appropriate name couldn’t keep himself from sexting.

Zero Days

Alex Gibney

Backed by insider analysis of the Stuxnet sabotage of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, Alex Gibney’s gripping new documentary argues that the architects of cyberwarfare have been both brilliant and insanely reckless.