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Back to the Future at NZIFF

Thursday 15 February 2018

Back to the Future at NZIFF
La Piscine

We hope you’re enjoying the turbulent summer and finding quality respite from the wild weather at a cinema near you. It’s been a bumper season for ‘specialist’ releases, as the trade press has it, and if you haven’t checked out NZIFF staff favourites The Shape of Water or Lady Bird (opening in cinemas today), we seriously think you should.

However many movies you’ve been watching over the summer, it’s a sure bet that the NZIFF programmers have been watching more. Our inboxes are overflowing with submissions and with films that broke at Sundance last month. We are also beginning to see some very strong contenders from Aotearoa. Yay! As of yesterday Sandra Reid and Michael McDonnell have forsaken sunshine (and rain) for the ice (and snow) of the Berlinale and its reliably intense programme of international cinema.

What we have not been seeing, to our dismay, is enough strong new restoration work to field a substantial Autumn Classics season in 2018. As much as we hate a break in transmission we have decided we won’t be fielding a big screen classic programme this May. We certainly hope that we will have new work at our disposal to make a brilliant leap back into the living past in Autumn 2019.

In the meantime, the 50th birthday of the New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland this year cries out for some meaningful retrospection, and we are considering myriad options to draw from our programming history to mark the occasion. We are also on the look-out for stories about the Festival in Auckland, not to mention photos, so please contact us at  if you have a story or pictures you’d like to share. A similar project to celebrate 40 years in Wellington in 2011 yielded some great stories, a selection of which you can find here. (The pictured image is taken from La Piscine, the gorgeous 1969 film that inspired A Bigger Splash, and which opened the second Adelaide/Auckland International Film Festival on 17 July 1970).

It’s been a lively 49 years so far, and the films we are seeing now are making us very excited already about hitting 50 in the city where it all began.

Bill Gosden and the NZIFF staff

15 February 2018

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