NZIFF Booklet

Films by Genre

Women Make Movies

The 5th Eye

Errol Wright, Abi King-Jones

This densely packed doco from the directors of Operation 8 questions the price of New Zealand’s involvement in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, and relates the improbable tale of its 2008 sabotage by the Waihopai Three.

Another Country

Molly Reynolds

Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil (Charlie’s Country) returns to his Arnhem Land hometown with filmmaker Molly Reynolds to explain ‘what happened to my culture when it was interrupted by your culture’.

As I Open My Eyes

À peine j’ouvre les yeux

Leyla Bouzid

Tradition butts up against progress in Leyla Bouzid’s debut, a musically charged French-Tunisian film that follows a young woman in a band as she navigates familial and cultural strictures on the eve of the Jasmine Revolution.

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.

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.

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.

Chasing Asylum

Eva Orner

Defying the media bans inside the camps, this combination of whistle-blower testimony and illegal footage leaves no doubt about the cruel reality of Australia’s off-shore refugee detention centres.

Chevalier

Athina Rachel Tsangari

Six gentlemen of leisure sail the Aegean in a gleaming yacht and compete to determine which of them is ‘The Best in General’ in this bone-dry take on contemporary manhood, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg).

The Dancer

La danseuse

Stéphanie Di Giusto

French singer Soko and Lily-Rose Depp star in this exquisitely dressed, spectacularly danced drama inspired by the true story of two rival pioneers of modern dance in late 19th-century Paris.

Don’t Call Me Son

Mãe só há uma

Anna Muylaert

A 17-year-old boy is transplanted from the poor neighbourhood that nurtured him to the home of his well-to-do birth parents in this potent Brazilian drama of family and sexual identity from the director of The Second Mother.

Embrace

Taryn Brumfitt

“Body confidence does not come from trying to achieve ‘the perfect body’. It comes from embracing the one you’ve already got.” Australian body image activist Taryn Brumfitt exemplifies her message in this lively doco.

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.

A Flickering Truth

Pietra Brettkelly

New Zealand filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly’s moving portrayal of one man’s journey to restore thousands of hours of film heritage in post-Taliban Afghanistan, a journey that uncovers the very nearly forgotten history of his ravaged country.

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.

The Idealist

Idealisten

Christina Rosendahl

A plane crash, government corruption and nuclear warheads are just some of the ingredients for this taut Danish docu-drama, set in the aftermath of the Cold War. Based on a book by the award-winning journalist Poul Brink.

The Innocents

Les innocentes

Anne Fontaine

Based on a true story from post-World War II Poland, this satisfying drama follows a young female French doctor who finds herself caught up in the lives of nuns, traumatised and shamed by their wartime suffering.

Looking for Grace

Sue Brooks

Sue Brooks (Road to Nhill, Japanese Story) applies her unique blend of comedy and drama as distraught parents (Radha Mitchell and Richard Roxburgh) hit the road in pursuit of runaway teenage daughter Grace (Odessa Young).

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.

The Lure

Córki dancingu

Agnieszka Smoczyńska

A bizarre, sublimely surreal vampire-mermaid musical from Poland about two siren sisters who lure their prey from the stage of a trashy Warsaw nightclub.

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.

No Home Movie

Chantal Akerman

The late, great Belgian filmmaker and cultural nomad Chantal Akerman crafts a moving portrait of her relationship with her housebound mother, an Auschwitz survivor whose chronic anxiety greatly shaped her daughter’s art.

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.

The Rehearsal

Alison Maclean

In Alison Maclean’s vibrant screen adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s debut novel, a first-year acting student (James Rolleston) channels the real-life experience of his girlfriend’s family into art and sets off a moral minefield.

Sand Storm

Sufat chol

Elite Zexer

Elite Zexer’s mesmerising debut feature portrays the emotionally layered relationship between a Bedouin mother and her spirited daughter, both bound by village custom while struggling to adapt to a changing world.

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.

Things to Come

L’avenir

Mia Hansen-Løve

Isabelle Huppert essays a self-possessed woman confronting unexpected changes in her life and work in Mia Hansen-Løve’s heartfelt and perceptive portrait of middle age.

Thirst

Jajda

Svetla Tsotsorkova

In this richly atmospheric debut, a hot summer in the Bulgarian countryside gets hotter when a family acquires two extra inhabitants on their parched property – a well-driller and his unruly teenage daughter.

Tomorrow

Demain

Cyril Dion, Mélanie Laurent

In ten countries around the world this stimulating French doco (and box office hit) finds concrete examples of solutions to environmental and social challenges in agriculture, energy, economy, education and governance.

Toni Erdmann

Maren Ade

Hailed at Cannes as a brilliantly original comic masterpiece, Austrian writer/director Maren Ade’s epic of parent-child dysfunction centres on a father assailing his uptight corporate daughter with crazy pranks.

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.

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

Ada Ushpiz

This new documentary provides insight and historical perspective on the life and work of philosopher Hannah Arendt, illuminating her relevance to some of the most troubling phenomena of our own times.

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.

When Two Worlds Collide

Heidi Brandenburg Sierralta, Mathew Orzel

When mining and clear-cutting contracts threatened their native lands, indigenous Peruvians took to the streets. This film documents their years of struggle against the ruthless tactics of a furiously antagonistic government.

Wide Open Sky

Lisa Nicol

In this charming doco, gifted teacher and musician, Michelle Leonard, travels to under-resourced outback NSW auditioning children then schooling the chosen 130 to perform in the annual Moorambilla Voices choir.

Wild

Nicolette Krebitz

A chance encounter with a wolf proves to be inexorably life-changing for the lonely young woman at the heart of this striking German drama, which takes the idea of getting back to nature to an irrational extreme.