NZIFF Booklet

Films by Country

USA

American Animals

Bart Layton

Rising stars Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and Evan Peters (American Horror Story) lead this enthralling true-crime thriller that is as thematically probing as it is straight-up propulsive.

Animation NOW! Dark Hearts

A powerful collection of animation exploring the singular creative visions of artists in touch with the dark side of the human condition.

Animation NOW! Morph ‘n’ Move

The impossible and improbable comes to life in this kinetic collection of animation that not only pushes the envelope, but busts it wide open.

Arctic

Joe Penna

This snowbound endurance thriller, shot spectacularly on location in Iceland, stars Mads Mikkelsen as the sole survivor of an air crash, stranded somewhere in the barren wastlelands of the Arctic.

Beirut

Brad Anderson

A taut, twisty hostage thriller with shades of Le Carré, Beirut brings Jon Hamm and his brand of suave, world-weary charisma to war-torn Lebanon. Co-starring Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Desert Hearts

Donna Deitch

The landmark lesbian love story returns to the giant screen as vibrant, beautiful and celebratory as ever.

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.

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.

First Reformed

Paul Schrader

A country priest (Ethan Hawke) questions his faith after an unnerving encounter with a radical environmentalist in this searing thriller from the writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

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

The General

Buster Keaton, Clyde Bruckman

Buster Keaton, the stone-faced genius of silent-era comedy, at his funniest and most thrilling in an exquisite new digital restoration of the most serenely locomotive movie ever made. Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performing Carl Davis’ excellent score, conducted by Peter Scholes.

The Green Fog

Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson

Guy Maddin’s latest cinematic fever dream is a madcap medley of excerpts from Hollywood movies and TV shows, re-edited into a lost surrealist melodrama inspired by Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

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.

Juliet, Naked

Jesse Peretz

Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke and Chris O’Dowd are perfectly cast in this romcom, based on Nick Hornby’s novel about an indie rock obsession that leads to romance.

Keep the Change

Rachel Israel

Two autistic adults strike up a transformative relationship in Rachel Israel’s charming comedy, based on the romantic adventures of her unlikely star.

A Kid Like Jake

Silas Howard

It’s Halloween and Jake wants to be Rapunzel. Claire Danes and Jim Parsons are sensational as a Brooklyn couple with divergent responses to their four-year-old’s ‘gender-variant play’ in Silas Howard’s comedy-drama.

The Kindergarten Teacher

Sara Colangelo

Maggie Gyllenhaal is riveting as a teacher and aspiring poet thrown off kilter by the conviction that only she can guard and nurture the lyric talent of a gifted five-year-old student.

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.

Leave No Trace

Debra Granik

New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie is mesmerising as 13-year-old Tom living off the grid with her war vet father (Ben Foster) in this haunting new film from the director of Winter’s Bone.

Liquid Sky

Slava Tsukerman

Stunningly restored after years of neglect, the quintessential cult item of 1982 drills into a gender fluid New York New Wave club scene of fashionista warfare, hard drugs and extra-terrestrial visitation.

Little Woods

Nia DaCosta

Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok) and Lily James are terrific as adoptive sisters running pharmaceuticals across the border to keep their heads above water in this gripping backwoods thriller from writer/director Nia DaCosta.

Lucky

John Carroll Lynch

After an idiosyncratic career of iconic roles for everyone from Wim Wenders to David Lynch, the late Harry Dean Stanton hangs up his hat with this wryly funny, affecting character study.

Madeline’s Madeline

Josephine Decker

Bracingly fresh and riotously entertaining, this portrait of a talented young actress torn between her overbearing mother and an ambitious director stars Miranda July, Molly Parker and striking newcomer Helena Howard.

Mandy

Panos Cosmatos

“Panos Cosmatos’ follow-up to Beyond the Black Rainbow is a gloriously lurid mock-80s revenge quest that aims a raging, roaring Nicolas Cage at villains from another dimension.” — Katherine McLaughlin, Sight & Sound

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.

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.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Desiree Akhavan

Chloë Grace Moretz delivers a heartbreaking and nuanced performance as a queer teen shipped off to a gay conversion camp in Desiree Akhavan’s touching drama, this year’s Sundance Grand Jury winner.

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.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2018

A collection of Māori and Pasifika short films curated by Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, with guest co-curator Craig Fasi (Niue), Director of the Pollywood Film Festival.

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

Piercing

Nicolas Pesce

Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother) directs Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska in this stylish, fiendishly audacious murder ballet. Based on Murakami Ryu’s cult novel.

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.

Puzzle

Marc Turtletaub

When Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) receives a jigsaw for her birthday, it opens a surprising new avenue in her life and leads her to meet Robert (Irrfan Khan), an avid competitive puzzler who triggers a reassessment of her situation.

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.

The Rider

Chloé Zhao

Chloé Zhao directs “this poetic, laconic and ineffably beautiful drama [with] an unerring feel for its subject, a young cowboy struggling against his implacable fate in the American West.” — Joe Morgenstern, Wall St Journal

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+

Searching

Aneesh Chaganty

Not the first film to unfold completely on computer screens, just the most exciting and emotionally resonant, this crime thriller takes us on a father’s (John Cho) frantic online search for his missing daughter.

Skate Kitchen

Crystal Moselle

The Wolfpack director Crystal Moselle returns with a free wheeling, often funny fiction debut about young female skateboarders in New York City, featuring real-life crew Skate Kitchen.

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.

We the Animals

Jeremiah Zagar

A beautifully photographed, captivating expression of hardscrabble family life and a sensitive boy’s growing self-awareness, this inspired adaptation of a remarkable book evokes memory and imagination in equal effect.

Wildlife

Paul Dano

In Paul Dano’s ace directing debut, Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal capture the cracks that occur in a marriage when a young wife kicks against the constraints of 1950s domesticity.