Latest News

New Zealand’s Best 2018 Finalists Announced
Run Rabbit

Six short films have been selected by Leon Narbey as finalists for our annual New Zealand’s Best Short Film Competition. 

The finalists will compete for a total of three prizes, with winners to be announced at the closing night event of the Auckland leg of NZIFF.

The six finalists are Charmer (dir: Judah Finnigan), Falling Up (dir: Chelsie Preston Crayford), My Friend Michael Jones (dir: Ian Leaupepe, Samson Rambo), No Shame (dir: Brendan Donovan), Run Rabbit (dir: Robyn Paterson), and Sail Away (dir: Ella Becroft, Tama Jarman).

“I was given an excellent cluster of films, each so different with their social concerns and visual poetry triggering emotions and making observations about us. Choosing the best six was an extremely hard decision,” says Leon Narbey.

Audiences at the New Zealand’s Best screenings in Auckland and Wellington will be asked to vote for their favourite short. The Audience Award winner takes away a 25% share of the box office takings from the New Zealand's Best screenings in the four main centres. In 2017 this prize was valued at $4,500.

Madman Entertainment will again support the title award, the Madman Entertainment Best Short Film Award. The cash prize of $5,000 is donated by

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Thursday 31 May 2018

Celebrating New Zealand Filmmakers
Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

As we prepare to undertake the scheduling of NZIFF 2018, we take a moment to celebrate our homegrown filmmakers by adding a further four films to our Early Announcements.

New Zealand stories are represented on screen with the world premiere tribute to pioneering Māori female filmmaker Merata Mita, and bringing a European interpretation of The Piano to the culture that inspired it, through to personal journeys of troubled upbringings that include frank conversations about sexual abuse, and suicide.

NZIFF has worked long and hard to provide this platform for striking work made within our own shores and we salute the filmmakers and their commitment to putting New Zealand and New Zealanders on screen.

World premiere: Angie

Director: Costa Botes

Angie Meiklejohn, prominent and articulate Centrepoint survivor, is joined by her siblings in this lucid exploration of the legacy of sexual abuse, directed without a hint of sensationalism by Costa Botes. 

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World premiere: The Heart Dances – the journey of The Piano: the ballet

Director: Rebecca Tansley 

This elegant new film from the director of Crossing Rachmaninoff takes us backstage at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a brilliantly theatrical European interpretation of a New Zealand classic

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Leon Narbey to select New Zealand's Best Short Films
Leon Narbey

Leon Narbey will be the Guest Selector for our only competition strand, the New Zealand’s Best short film competition.

Five to six selected New Zealand shorts will premiere in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch where audiences are encouraged to vote for their favourite short from Narbey’s shortlist. Previous Guest Selectors have included Gaylene Preston (2017), Lee Tamahori (2016), Christine Jeffs (2015), Andrew Adamson (2014), Alison Maclean (2013) and Roger Donaldson (2012).

Leon Narbey is one of New Zealand’s finest cinematographers and has worked closely with many of New Zealand’s greatest filmmakers. After studying Sculpture and Lighting at Elam School of Fine Arts his first films Room 2 and A Film of Real Time were completed in 1968 and 1971 respectively. He went on to shoot TV news and then he collaborated on important early documentaries Te Matakite O Aotearoa: The Maori Land March (Geoff Steven) and then Bastion Point: Day 507 (with Merata Mita and Gerd Pohlmann) before making his own Man of the Trees questioning the destruction of the world’s forests. In 1987 he directed his award-winning feature Illustrious Energy. As a cinematographer Narbey has shot many feature films and documentaries including Desperate Remedies, The Price of Milk, Whale

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Presenting the 2018 NZIFF Poster Artwork

Buckets of splendour, exotic and native, and a typically discriminating NZIFF patron are celebrated in our artwork for 2018. Illustrator Ken Samonte, inspired by New Yorker covers and the work of Hayao Miyazaki, also references the previous NZIFF illustration style of artist Tom Simpson. Ken worked closely with the Ocean Design team to deliver a bright bouquet of beauty that celebrates the diverse range of films in bloom at NZIFF this year.

“The Film Festival was one of our foundation clients when Ocean was established as a design company back in 1988,” says Ocean Design’s Blair Mainwaring. “That it is Auckland’s 50th New Zealand International Film Festival and Ocean’s 30th anniversary seems particularly apt. 

“We are enormously proud of our creative collaboration with NZIFF, in what must surely be one of New Zealand's longest client/agency partnerships. We’ve also gained enormous pleasure in working alongside Bill and his team to bring his vision to life over the last thirty years. 

“This year’s poster image, designed and art directed by Matt Bluett, has quickly become a favourite in the studio. The metaphor it represents and Ken's visual style makes for a very charming image (we think). We hope you like it!”


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Our First Film Announcements for 2018
Yellow is Forbidden

NZIFF celebrates Kiwi brilliance behind the camera and in front of it – along with a pair of documentary portraits that, seen together, might provoke comparisons between the appetite for brainy women in popular entertainment then and now: in the Hollywood studio era vs. the presumably more enlightened 21st century.

NZ Premiere: Yellow is Forbidden

Kiwi director Pietra Brettkelly takes us into the opulent world of show-stopping Chinese designer Guo Pei as she prepares to make her Paris debut and seeks admission into the exclusive club of haute couture.

“Compelling and stimulating… an intimate, involving portrait of Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei.”  — Keith Uhlich, Hollywood Reporter

Read more about Yellow is Forbidden

NZ Premiere: Leave No Trace

New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie is mesmerising as 13-year-old Tom living off the grid with her war vet father (Ben Foster) in this haunting new film from the director of Winter’s Bone.

“Something deeply compassionate, a story of a father and daughter that speaks truths about some large things.” — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

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NZ Premiere: Matangi / Maya / M.I.A

From refugee daughter of a Tamil revolutionary and aspiring filmmaker to pop stardom and controversy magnet: this

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