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NZIFF Presents Psychological Thriller at Cannes Marché du Film
The Rule of Jenny Pen - Image created by Maria Rubinke, Open Minded, 2011, porcelain - Courtesy of the artist and Martin Asbaek Gallery

Excitement is mounting in the global film industry as Cannes Film Festival gets underway in two weeks time on 6 July. And this year, for the first time ever, NZIFF is presenting a film project in the prestigious Fantastic 7 finance market of the Cannes Marché du Film.

The market is the film industry’s biggest get-together with more than 12,500 participants and 1600 buyers.

Fantastic 7 spotlights upcoming productions in the global genre industry presenting them to international co-producers and distributors during the Cannes Film Festival in July.

The initiative, now in its third year, is a highly-curated showcase of only seven projects presented by seven different festivals from all over the planet – from 2021 onwards NZIFF joins the Fantastic 7 alongside SXSW (USA), Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival (Catalonia), Toronto International Film Festival (Canada), Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt), Guadalajara International Film Festival (Mexico) and BIFAN – Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (South Korea).

NZIFF will present James Ashcroft’s feature film in development, The Rule of Jenny Pen, selected in consultation with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC).

The film will follow Ashcroft’s success earlier this year with his debut feature film Coming Home in the Dark

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2021 Film Festival Venues and Dates
New Zealand International Film Festival Delays 2021 Opening To Align with Cannes
The 2021 film festival will see a return to The Civic with its iconic flamingo curtain. Pictured here is opening night from 2019. Credit: Veronica McLaughlin

Here’s the news you’ve been waiting for – Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is happening in 2021 and dates are now confirmed with the festival taking place from late October this year.

The film festival normally opens in July/August, but in light of the severe impact Covid-19 has had on live events, the New Zealand Film Festival Trust and management have been carefully considering the national film festival’s shape and timing for 2021.

The 2021 festival will return to a fully cinema-based event to take place in 30 cinemas in 13 towns and cities nationwide including the festival’s four flagship venues – The Civic in Auckland, The Embassy in Wellington, Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, and Dunedin’s Regent Theatre. In Auckland, the film festival also returns to SkyCity Theatre.

The film festival will open in Auckland on Thursday 28 October, followed by Christchurch on the following day, with Dunedin and Wellington to follow a week later. The remaining nine centres span November and the first week of December.

Critical Factors
Two critical factors are behind the decision to move to dates later in the year: the timing of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and supply of high-profile international films.

Festival director

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Rosa Woods / Stuff

It’s with great sadness we acknowledge the passing of Bill Sheat – founder of the New Zealand Film Festival Trust which runs NZIFF, and the founding chair of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Bill (CNZM OBE) passed away early on Wednesday 20 January. Bill (90) will be remembered for the massive contribution to film and the arts over 60 years and particularly for his foresight in the founding not only of the NZFFT, but of Creative New Zealand and Wellington’s Downstage Theatre, the establishment of Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and New Zealand Film Commission, and leading the fight to save Wellington’s Opera House and Embassy Theatre. Honoured with an OBE in 1973 and CMNZ in 2011, Bill was made a Wellington Icon at the Wellington Gold Awards in 2019.

New Zealand Film Festival Trust Chair Catherine Fitzgerald said: “Bill’s lifelong commitment to the arts, especially film and the performing arts is without compare. Bill’s confidence that a uniquely New Zealand arts culture must be created and led by New Zealanders has inspired many.”

The New Zealand Film Festival Trust and the New Zealand International Film Festival extend their condolences to Bill’s family, friends and colleagues.

Read more about Bill’s

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Godfather of Napier Film Peter Goodbehere Honoured
Photograph courtesy Hawke's Bay Today

For more than 50 years Peter Goodbehere has championed film, and in January he received the Queen’s Service Medal for service to film.

He joined the Wellington Film Society in the 1950s while working for the New Zealand Broadcasting Service. After being transferred to Napier, he set up the Napier Film Society and served as president for 41 years until it disbanded. Peter’s dedication to film led to the creation of Century Cinema. 

And he still enjoys a good film, but his favourite is Orson Welles’ 1941 film Citizen Kane: “It’s still thrilling to watch.”

Read more about Peter Goodbehere half century work in the film industry here