New Zealand Films Shine at 2024 Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival

We Were Dangerous

Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) is delighted to announce the line-up of exceptional New Zealand-made feature films, documentaries, and shorts in the 2024 programme, showcasing the increasingly rich talent and diverse storytelling in New Zealand filmmaking.

Twelve full-length films and 19 shorts make up the Māhutonga strand of our programme – a selection of stand-out New Zealand features and documentaries curated by 2024 Artistic Director Paolo Bertolin, Head of Programming Michael McDonnell, and Junior Programmers Amanda Jane Robinson and Huia Haupapa, and shorts selected by long-time co-curators Leo Koziol and Craig Fasi, and 2024 guest selector Gerard Johnstone. The Māhutonga strand is proudly supported by Creative New Zealand.

Bertolin says, “Aotearoa cinema has reached a defining crossroad. The 12 features and four combined programmes of shorts in Māhutonga reflect the diversity and wealth of subjects and styles in local storytelling. With their films, New Zealand filmmakers provide a vibrant kaleidoscope that enables audiences to look at the past and the present through distinctive perspectives.

“In this selection, our audiences will discover films that are entertaining, thought-provoking, and deeply affecting. Most of all, they will find a space for conversation and exchange on the beauty and complexity of life in Aotearoa. It is our privilege to provide a platform for these inspired and inspiring filmmakers to meet our audience in the communal experience of cinema.”

We Were Dangerous, directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu and fresh from winning the special Jury Award for Filmmaking in the Narrative Feature Competition at SXSW, will open NZIFF in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on 31 July and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on 7 August, and all regions except Christchurch. Head South, directed by Jonathan Ogilvie and filmed in Christchurch, will open the Ōtautahi Christchurch season on 15 August following sell-out screenings at Sydney Film Festival.

The other New Zealand-made feature films in the 2024 programme are A Mistake (2024), directed by Christine Jeffs; Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara (2024), directed by Kent Belcher; Grafted (2024), directed by Sasha Rainbow; I Am a Dark River (2024), directed by Tessa Mitchell; Marimari (2024), directed by Paul Wolffram; Night Piece (2024), directed by Bridget Sutherland; Taki Rua Theatre - Breaking Barriers (2024), directed by Whetū Fala; The Haka Party Incident (2024), directed by Katie Wolfe; and The House Within (2024), directed by Joshua Prendeville. Never Look Away (2024), directed by Lucy Lawless, and announced in our first films release, is also in the Māhutonga strand. 

These feature films sit alongside our two regular short films sections in NZIFF – Ngā Whanaunga Māori and Pasifika Shorts, selected by long-time co-curators Leo Koziol and Craig Fasi, and New Zealand's Best 2024, selected this year by guest selector Gerard Johnstone. This year we are also introducing the Short Connections programme of five promising new Aotearoa shorts that deftly capture the bonds and binds between us.

New Zealand film will be celebrated at a special Aotearoa Film Focus weekend, presented by the University of Auckland Faculty of Arts, taking place from 15 to 18 August at Auckland’s ASB Waterfront Theatre. Across three days and four nights, audiences can enjoy films, a new exhibition by the New Zealand Cinematography Society – Still Stories, panel discussions, a workshop, a masterclass, filmmaker Q&A events, and a gig! Exclusive to AFFW will also be a tribute to iconoclastic director Garth Maxwell, showcasing his film Naughty Little Peeptoe, which has recently been acquired by MoMA, plus the remastered version of his early work Come With Us.

Bertolin says, “Aotearoa Film Focus Weekend will spotlight the vivid resurgence of local cinema, thanks to an exciting new generation of filmmakers, but also the work of more established directors. We wish to engage audiences, especially young people, with New Zealand cinema, creating a dialogue that goes beyond the sheer screening of films. And we hope that this connection will last beyond the festival, truly benefiting both filmmakers and audiences.”

NZIFF 2024 will screen at The Embassy, Roxy Cinema and Light House Cinema Cuba in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington (31 July – 11 August), The Civic, Hollywood Avondale and ASB Auckland Waterfront Theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (7 – 18 August), The Regent Theatre in Ōtepoti Dunedin (14 – 25 August), State Cinemas in Whakatū Nelson (14 – 25 August), Lumière Cinemas in Ōtautahi Christchurch (15 August – 1 September), Luxe Cinemas in Tauranga Moana (15 – 28 August), MTG Century Theatre in Ahuriri Napier (21 August – 1 September), LIDO Cinema in Kirikiriroa Hamilton (21 August – 4 September), Len Lye Cinema in Ngāmotu New Plymouth (21 August – 4 September), and Regent 3 in Whakaoriori Masterton (21 August – 4 September).

Tickets for all screenings will be on sale for Wellington and Auckland from 10am Friday 12 July and 10am Friday 19 July respectively, with tickets for all other centres going on sale in late July. Tickets can be purchased online at or in-person at the NZIFF Box Office on Allen Street, Wellington, and at The Civic on Wellesley Street West, Auckland. Keen festival-goers can get advanced booking access and discounts by purchasing multi-passes now at our shop

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