NZIFF Booklet

Films by Section

Framing Reality

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Steve James

A small family-owned bank serving Chinatown businesses, Abacus was the only US lender indicted for fraud post 2008. Steve James (Hoop Dreams) embeds with the Sung family through their spirited fight for vindication.

Austerlitz

Sergei Loznitsa

How should we remember the Holocaust? As tourists visit Nazi death camps in increasing numbers, Sergei Loznitsa sets up his camera at Sachsenhausen and Dachau and simply observes the behaviour of the visitors.

Dealt

Luke Korem

Winner of an Audience Award at SXSW, this fascinating feel-good doco introduces us to blind card magician Richard Turner, who learns a few new tricks as he comes to terms with visual impairment.

Dina

Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles

This affecting Sundance-winning documentary trains an empathetic gaze on forthright Dina and her romantic, touch-shy boyfriend Scott as they approach marriage and navigate one another’s considerable foibles.

I Am Not Your Negro

Raoul Peck

This Oscar-nominated documentary draws an astonishing, challenging and utterly contemporary examination of race in the United States entirely from the writings and interview footage of civil rights icon James Baldwin.

Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial & Depiction

Joe Berlinger

Studying the suppressed Armenian Genocide of 1915 from the set of an epic Hollywood movie, Joe Berlinger makes a powerful and timely case for film as both truth-teller and wound-healer.

Kedi

Ceyda Torun

More than just another example of cute kittens on camera, this documentary about the cats of Istanbul and the people who watch out for them exudes charm and insight that a million YouTube videos cannot match.

Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith

Stuart A. Staples

“From acrobatic flies to suckling bees, Smith’s stop-motion nature films astonished viewers a century ago. Now Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples has set them to music in a dark and dreamy movie.” — Patrick Barkham, The Guardian

Napalm

Claude Lanzmann

Bringing an egocentric but telling perspective to the subject of North Korea’s isolation, Claude Lanzmann (Shoah) revisits Pyongyang to explore the significance of a romantic encounter that has haunted him for 60 years.

Nowhere to Hide

Zaradasht Ahmed

The top prize-winner at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam: a first-person account of four turbulent years in the life of a resilient medic and his young family living in Iraq’s ‘triangle of death’.

Quest

Jonathan Olshefski

Condensing a decade’s worth of filming into an engrossing 105 minutes, Jonathan Olshefski’s documentary follows a buoyant young African American family and their working-class neighbourhood through the Obama years.

Starless Dreams

Royahaye dame sobh

Mehrdad Oskouei

Mehrdad Oskouei’s lucid, empathetic documentary gives voice and spirit to young women locked up in a Tehran detention facility for murder, theft or simply running away from home – and whose lives were often worse outside.

Step

Amanda Lipitz

Fighting the tough realities of their disadvantaged neighbourhood, Step follows three irrepressible young women in an enlightened Baltimore school as they prepare for college – and rehearse for step dance glory.

To Stay Alive: A Method

Erik Lieshout

Iggy Pop and French writer Michel Houellebecq head up a superbly crafted documentary about struggling artists, many struggling with mental illness, who fight against the odds to make their art.

Trophy

Shaul Schwarz

This thorny doco about commercialised wildlife conservation in Africa juxtaposes the potent emotional appeal of animal rights activism and the ‘if it pays, it stays’ rationalism of big game hunters.

Unrest

Jennifer Brea

Suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome but told by her doctor it was all in her head, journalist and academic Jennifer Brea started filming from her bed, contacting other sufferers via Skype, to explore the little understood condition.

The Venerable W.

Le vénérable W.

Barbet Schroeder

Barbet Schroeder (General Idi Amin Dada, Terror’s Advocate) completes his trilogy of evil with this chilling documentary about the Buddhist monk whose Islamophobic rhetoric is stoking ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

The War Show

Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon

This startling documentary frames life under Assad from the perspective of a radio DJ and her activist friends, whose main weapon – the video camera – seizes both frightening and intimate moments in the Syrian conflict.

We Don’t Need a Map

Warwick Thornton

Filmmaker Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah) investigates his country’s ownership of the Southern Cross, in a genial film essay that surveys the heavens from the cultural and political perspectives of Australia now.