2018 News

Long-serving NZIFF Director retires in 2019
Bill Gosden contemplates the Film Society schedules in the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies office in the early 1990s.

After 40 years of service Bill Gosden, Director of the New Zealand International Film Festival, will retire in March 2019. NZIFF will begin a recruitment process to find a new Film Festival Director to programme the premier event.

“This year we have celebrated 50 years of NZIFF in Auckland and there, in Wellington and over the country as a whole seen the best attendances ever. Now, sadly, we accept Bill’s decision to retire at the end of March for health reasons. Bill, over 40 years, has created not only the New Zealand International Film Festival as an unmissable annual event, but also audiences with an appetite to be surprised and rewarded by the best of the world’s cinema. We will all miss him and what he has brought to our cultural life during his tenure, and wish him the very best,” says Catherine Fitzgerald, Chair of the New Zealand Film Festival Trust.

The Trust oversees the not-for-profit event which has employed Bill since 1979, and for which he has curated/directed since 1981. His first curated national festival took place in 1984. Under Bill’s leadership the film festivals around NZ have grown to programme over 160 films for NZIFF events in

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The great liberator of the New Zealand screen has died
Geoff introducing Utu Redux at MTG Napier, NZIFF 2013

The great liberator of the New Zealand screen has died. Though Goodbye Pork Pie in 1981 was not the first New Zealand feature to hit the screen, nor even the first by Geoff Murphy, it was the first to shrug off the self-consciousness of a fledgling industry and seize the medium to express a whole-hearted, alternative view of New Zealand. The momentum and sheer joy of it were intoxicating – and its success was a balm to a country about to be divided by the Springbok tour.

Murphy and his creative band of brothers dived deeper to follow their crowd-pleaser with something much more ambitious, resonant and beautiful. Utu, especially in its revisited form from 2013, remains the apogee of epic filmmaking in, about and for Aotearoa. While Pork Pie encapsulates a specific time, Utu is a film for the ages, better understood now than when it first appeared.

If Geoff Murphy had authored only these two films his impact on the culture might already be described as indelible. His legacy is so much greater than that, an extended whanau of filmmakers, not least his own sons and daughter. We think of them now, and his wife Dianne, as we mourn

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Record Year for NZIFF

The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has achieved a record year of attendance around New Zealand, breaking the national attendance record set in 2004.


There were 263,017 admissions to NZIFF in 2018 superseding the previous record of 262,260 admits. 181 feature films and short film collections from 40 countries made up the complete programme, which opened in Auckland on 19 July. The festival then screened at a further 13 towns and cities around NZ, concluding on 23 September with an extra screening of Celia. Celia, Amanda Millar’s personal documentary about her friend and social advocate Celia Lashlie proved to be one of the most popular films on the programme this year.


Attendances in Auckland, Wellington and Timaru were the best-ever and extra days of screenings had to be added to accommodate more screenings of the most popular titles. The Auckland Animation NOW! programme, now in its second year as a dedicated festival of animation, also grew.


“At a time when we’re all competing with more distractions than ever we’re thrilled that spending time together at the cinema is still an attractive idea for New Zealand audiences. Other popular films  screened throughout the country included Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters;

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We Asked For It: Your Feedback on NZIFF 2018
Buster Keaton in The General

Thank you to the 3790 NZIFF ticket buyers who took the time to answer our annual questionnaire. We’ve compiled a digest below for your entertainment and edification.
Our work on NZIFF 2019 is bound to incorporate some of the suggestions you have made. The 98% of respondents who indicated the intention to attend again in 2019 have provided all the motivation we could ask for.

Some were extremely complimentary.

Programme: Asked what you liked about NZIFF, the most common reply was the variety and diversity of the films on offer.

Venues: The Civic, The Isaac Theatre Royal, Reading Cinemas, Hoyts Christchurch, The Embassy, The Regent, ASB Waterfront Theatre and the Petone Lighthouse all received multiple great reviews.

Website: the site and its management were both highly praised. What little criticism there was suggested that not all users are finding their way to the wealth of options it offers.

Ticketing: the on-sale date problems in Wellington remain an embarrassment in Wellington, and boy, do some of you love to lecture us about it, but in every other respect the capital’s booking system lords it over the rest. It was, after all, custom-designed for our event. NOT being able to select your

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New Zealand’s Best 2018 Winners Announced
Falling Up

Congratulations to the winners of the seventh annual New Zealand’s Best 2018 short film competition. The winning shorts were announced on stage at the Civic Theatre in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2018 was awarded to Falling Up.

Director Chelsie Preston Crayford received a cash prize of $5,000.

The Jury citation follows:

“It's days later and we're still thinking about Falling Up, a film that effortlessly unravels not only the exhaustion and heartache and grief of being a recently-separated young mum, but the mundane joy, the unending love, and the moments of quiet triumph.

Chelsie Preston Crayford balances roles as mother, writer, director, and performer in a film that captures a rare emotional complexity. Falling Up had us laughing one moment and close to tears the next. A masterful, stand-out film in this year's line-up.”

The inaugural Creative New Zealand Emerging Talent Award was awarded to Charmer.

Director Judah Finnigan receives a cash prize of $4,000.

The Jury citation follows:

“It's astounding that Charmer is Judah Finnigan's first foray into film: his direction is assured and his writing is sharp as hell. Matt Henley's cinematography and Chris

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