Films by Genre

Documentary

Angie

Costa Botes

Angie Meiklejohn, prominent and articulate Centrepoint survivor, is joined by her siblings in this lucid exploration of the legacy of sexual abuse, directed without a hint of sensationalism by Costa Botes.

The Atlantic

Atlanten

Jan Röed, Kristian Petri, Magnus Enquist

This spectacular 1994 documentary, shot on and around Atlantic Islands from Iceland to South Georgia, is reprised in a rare 35mm print.

Bisbee ’17

Robert Greene

History repeats itself in this lyrical, emotionally resonant doco on the centenary of the Bisbee Deportation, in which thousands of immigrant miners were transported into the New Mexico desert and left to fend for themselves.

Bludgeon

Ryan Heron, Andy Deere

The armour is heavy and the stakes are high in this warm-hearted and charmingly offbeat documentary about a group of modern knights competing to represent New Zealand in the brutal sport of ‘medieval combat’.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Alexandra Dean

Alexandra Dean’s debut documentary is a revelatory and entertaining portrait of an adventurous woman and talented inventor better known to the world as the embodiment of Hollywood sex and glamour.

Brimstone & Glory

Viktor Jakovleski

From the team behind Beasts of the Southern Wild, this euphoric and immersive documentary drops us in the middle of a dazzling, dangerous fireworks festival with astonishing results.

Celia

Amanda Millar

Amanda Millar’s moving documentary celebrates the enduring legacy of Celia Lashlie, a passionate advocate for social interventions that equipped those long deprived of choice with the tools for responsible decision making.

Chulas Fronteras

Les Blank

A beautiful, timely restoration of Chulas Fronteras (meaning ‘Beautiful Borders’), folklorist/cine-poet Les Blank’s classic ode to Norteña music and the migrant culture that exists along the Texas–Mexican border. 

The Cleaners

Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck

A thoroughly unnerving picture of our times, this gripping doco immerses us in the surreal world of the content moderators who decide what we see (or don’t see) on social media.

Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders

Joe Berlinger

Joe Berlinger (Paradise Lost) revisits the infamous Clutter family murders to interrogate the history and the small Kansas town known to the world through Truman Capote’s bestseller In Cold Blood.

The Devil We Know

Stephanie Soechtig

Championed by filmmaker Morgan Spurlock and consumer activist Erin Brockovich, Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary is an enraging portrait of corporate greed honed to get into your blood.

The Distant Barking of Dogs

Simon Lereng Wilmont

This searching, poignant documentary immerses us in the world of a lively ten-year-old boy and his loving grandmother living perilously close to the frontlines of the war in Eastern Ukraine.

Dog’s Best Friend

Eryn Wilson

A surefire fix for animal lovers and a valuable sketch for skeptics, this warm doco from Kiwi director Eryn Wilson offers us intimate access to an Aussie rehab centre for troubled dogs.

East to East

Vanessa Wells

Four at-risk teenagers from Christchurch’s eastern suburbs get to experience the Coast to Coast up close as both competitors and support crew with the assistance of several multisport legends.

Eldorado

Markus Imhoof

Markus Imhoof’s powerful doco combines agonising encounters with asylum seekers adrift and in limbo with a moving personal recollection of his own relationship with a refugee during WWII.

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library

Frederick Wiseman

Standing in for libraries everywhere, the magnificent New York Public Library is explored and extolled in the great Frederick Wiseman’s latest ode to the importance of essential institutions in politically tumultuous times.

Filmworker

Tony Zierra

This fascinating account of Stanley Kubrick at work from the point of view of right-hand man Leon Vitali offers rare insights into the elusive filmmaking legend – and the total dedication he inspired.

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

Sasha Waters Freyer

“An unusually rich art-doc with an old-New York twang… Sasha Waters Freyer assesses the artist and the man in her documentary about photographer Garry Winogrand.” — John Defore, Hollywood Reporter

Gurrumul

Paul Damien Williams

A soaring, evocative audio-visual journey into the life, culture and landscapes of one of Australia's most beloved singers – the late Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu.

The Heart Dances – the journey of The Piano: the ballet

Rebecca Tansley

This elegant new film from the director of Crossing Rachmaninoff takes us backstage at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a brilliantly theatrical European interpretation of a New Zealand classic re-enters the culture that inspired it.

The Ice King

James Erskine

The life and artistry of trailblazing Olympic figure skater and dancer John Curry are revisited in this timely doco which sheds light on his enduring legacy, featuring rare footage of his legendary performances.

If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd

Stephen Kijak

From the swamps of Florida to a tragic end in a plane that should never have taken off, Stephen Kijak’s doco follows the wild trajectory of the original band, archetypal Southern boys who rocked the 1970s.

In the Realm of Perfection

L’Empire de la perfection

Julien Faraut

The archival footage in this strange and striking doco-biopic documenting tennis hothead John McEnroe’s record-breaking 1984 season has lost none of its power to rattle and rouse.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Gabrielle Brady

Christmas Island’s notorious immigration detention centre is the focal point of this impressionistic documentary, beautifully and innovatively framed around the island’s workers, wildlife and dark past.

I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story

Jessica Leski

Bursting with colour, music and boyband adoration, Jessica Leski’s documentary is a celebration of women coming of age and navigating adulthood through the music and romantic appeal of their beloved boybands.

Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible

Axel Grigor

This up-close, vividly illustrated career survey places one of the world’s most sought-after film editors (and key Baz Luhrmann enabler), Jill Bilcock, in the spotlight she so rightly deserves.

Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect

Mark Noonan

“Half biopic, half career showcase, Mark Noonan’s Kevin Roche: The Quiet Architect examines the life and work of its titular Pritzker Prize-winning architect.” — Luke Maxwell, Dublin Inquirer

The King

Eugene Jarecki

Has America entered its Fat Elvis phase? Director Eugene Jarecki takes a road trip in the King’s Rolls-Royce, explores his question with celebrity passengers and Elvis experts – and records some fine musicians en route.

Kusama – Infinity

Heather Lenz

Now, at 89 years old the top-selling female artist in the world, Yayoi Kusama overcame family opposition, sexism, racism and mental illness to bring her radical artistic vision to the world stage.

Le Grand Bal

Laetitia Carton

Filmmaker Laetitia Carton draws us into the beating heart of the traditional dance festival that attracts dancers and musicians from across Europe every summer to Gennetines in central France.

Liyana

Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp

Affecting and uplifting, this beautiful hybrid of documentary and animated fiction tells the story of a young girl as imagined by a group of orphaned Swazi children. Recommended for audiences 10+

Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle

Muchos hijos, un mono y un castillo

Gustavo Salmerón

This highly entertaining portrait follows the changing fortunes of a Spanish family headed by an eccentric matriarch, whose improbable teenage dreams came true. A popular hit and award winner at home and abroad.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Steve Loveridge

From refugee daughter of a Tamil revolutionary and aspiring filmmaker to pop stardom and controversy magnet: this stimulating documentary about Sri Lankan musician M.I.A. dances to its own idiosyncratic beat.

Māui’s Hook

Paora Te Oti Takarangi Joseph

The new film by Māori psychologist and filmmaker Paora Joseph (Tātarakihi: Children of Parihaka) invites open discussion of suicide through the brave testimony of five grieving families travelling to Cape Reinga.

McKellen: Playing the Part

Joe Stephenson

In this illuminating documentary portrait, Sir Ian McKellen looks back at the six decades of his glittering career, from his early success on UK stages through to his towering performances in film.

McQueen

Ian Bonhôte, Peter Ettedgui

This thrillingly flamboyant film explores British designer Alexander McQueen’s humble beginnings, his tight knit band of collaborators, his creative genius – and exalts the disturbing splendour of his work.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

Heperi Mita

Merata Mita, pioneering Māori filmmaker and international champion of women in indigenous film, is celebrated by her youngest son, archivist Heperi Mita, collaborating with his siblings to deliver a richly personal portrait.

Michael Smither: Of Crimson Joy

Tony Hiles

Filmmaker Tony Hiles observes his friend Michael Smither, the painter, composer – and, in this film, singer too – as he rethinks work he deems unsuccessful and finds consolation and inspiration in poetry.

Minding the Gap

Bing Liu

This electric time-lapse portrait of three skateboarders dropping into manhood bears all the hallmarks of its executive producer Steve James (Hoop Dreams): empathetic, unsentimental and profoundly involving.

Monterey Pop

D.A. Pennebaker

The first true rock-doc – and still the best – blazes with breakout performance from Hendrix, Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding, The Animals and more. Looking and sounding better than ever in this 50th anniversary 4K restoration.

A Mother Brings Her Son to Be Shot

Sinéad O’Shea

Executive produced by Joshua Oppenheimer, journalist Sinéad O’Shea’s film explores the repercussions of one woman’s fateful decision in a corner of Ireland where gangsterism and politics are indistinguishable.

Oko na Roki

The Eye in My Hand

Martin Sagadin

Filmmaker Martin Sagadin sets out to capture memory with the ‘camera in his hand’ in arrestingly beautiful, often rapturous images, shot in town and country, at work and at play, with his partner, their friends, and their dogs.

Our New President

Maxim Pozdorovkin

Maxim Pozdorovkin’s satirical documentary, fabricated entirely from Russian propaganda and YouTube videos, dives headfirst into the world of fake news – and Russia’s blind love for Donald Trump.

Paul Callaghan: Dancing with Atoms

Shirley Horrocks

Shirley Horrocks, cine-biographer of many notable New Zealand artists, delivers an invaluable survey of the work and legacy of one of our most exceptional scientists and public figures.

Pick of the Litter

Dana Nachman, Don Hardy

“Puppies rule in Dana Nachman and Don Hardy’s seriously cute account of the breeding and training program that prepares service dogs to become guides for the visually impaired.” — Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

The Price of Everything

Nathaniel Kahn

How did the contemporary art market become so lucrative? In this hilarious and unnerving documentary filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn (My Architect) elicits revealing answers from buyers, sellers, critics and the artists themselves.

RBG

Betsy West, Julie Cohen

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. RBG is a revelatory documentary exploring her exceptional life and career.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: async at the Park Avenue Armory

Stephen Nomura Schible

Filmed during the production of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, this concert marked the first public unveiling of Sakamoto’s new opus async, widely hailed as one of the best albums of the last year.

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Stephen Nomura Schible

The Oscar-winning Japanese composer (The Last Emperor; Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence), synth-pop pioneer, electronica experimentalist and environmentalist reflects on his work and influences in this intimate portrait.

Science Fair

Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster

Festival Favourite Award winner at Sundance, this immensely engaging doco shares the lively personalities and inspiring projects of nine teenage scientists as they converge at a major international competition in LA. Recommended for audiences 10+

A Sculptor’s Journey

Jeff McDonald

Sculptor Sabin Howard enlists the technical expertise of the whizzes at Weta Workshop to help envision a massive WWI sculpture he has been commissioned to design for Washington DC.

She Shears

Jack Nicol

Presented by Miss Conception films, who focus on female-led stories, this fresh dispatch from the heartland introduces two legendary shearers – and three in the making – as they head for black-shirt glory at the Golden Shears.

Shut Up and Play the Piano

Philipp Jedicke

Rapper, piano virtuoso, performance artist, gifted collaborator or evil, smirking genius, Jason Beck aka Chilly Gonzales crowd-surfs the academy and puts on a hell of a show in the year’s wildest, funniest music doco.

The Song Keepers

Naina Sen

Director Naina Sen embeds with the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir as they prepare a repertoire of Baroque hymns, taught by 19th-century Lutheran missionaries, and take it back to amazed audiences in Germany.

Speak Up

A voix haute

Stéphane de Freitas

The struggle and power in finding one’s own voice is celebrated in this inspirational doco as a diverse group of French students undergo intensive training for a prestigious public speaking competition.

Three Identical Strangers

Tim Wardle

‘Stranger than fiction’ doesn’t come close. In an age of hot takes and hype machinery, this mind-blowing doco is the rare WTF true story entirely worthy of its breathless hyperbole.

United Skates

Dyana Winkler, Tina Brown

In Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s performance-driven doco, African-American communities across the US battle in a racially charged environment to save a vital roller-skate subculture.

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

Lorna Tucker

A fast, funny documentary on the life, looks and times of the British fashion designer, business woman, environmental activist – and unreconstructed punk – Vivienne Westwood.