Three weeks after our final Dunedin screening the action has moved to the provinces. At the NZIFF office in September we traffic in reports, not movies, passing on the news – most of it very good – to the many individuals and organisations who contributed to a bumper 2015. We’re keen to hear your reports too, while the weather’s still brisk and impressions are fresh.
After a worrying decline in admissions last year, NZIFF in Dunedin rallied significantly to hit 15,401 admissions in 2015. It was a Super Documentary year at NZIFF 2015 with Amy very much dominating the spotlight – or maybe just lending it to us – from the moment we announced the screenings. The other truly big one was Sherpa. If you missed Jennifer Peedom’s breathtaking film at the Regent you may be waiting until next year for the release, buoyed, let’s hope, by the Oscar nomination it so richly deserves.
The features to draw big crowds were our opener, The Mafia Kills Only in Summer, 45 Years, Phoenix, Grandma and what’s possibly the worst first date movie about dating ever made, The Lobster. Our choice of centrepiece was to take a battering from the unconvinced, not that I recall ever having claimed that The Assassin was an action movie. And yet, the numbers were big for this transportingly beautiful (and exquisitely kinetic) film; and its stout defenders are numerous. NZIFF 2015 may have fuelled disagreements, but it rarely felt disagreeable. In fact I kept hearing that it felt exceptionally lively.
It’s time already for me to head to Toronto and begin the search of NZIFF 2016, though the annual debrief is far from over. Your feedback, via the accompanying questionnaire, has an important role to play. Don’t be too shy to tell us what you suppose we already know: being well-armed with information about patron dissatisfaction has helped us work for change in the past. By all means tell us what you think we’re doing right. And don’t hesitate to point out gaps in service or information you feel we might never have thought of. Your bright ideas are eagerly awaited.
All the best
Bill Gosden - NZIFF Director