Image: Wellington school children attend a special NZIFF screening at the Embassy Theatre (Photo credit Ambrose Hickman). View our visual summary of the survey feedback over on our Facebook page.
Deciding What to See
“My wife chose the movies and I was happy with her choices”.
We enjoyed lavish praise for the new website, but note that the printed brochure still takes prime place as a guide to film selection. In 2015 we’ll be acting on the numerous requests for a PDF of the printed publication on our site. We were surprised and relieved to see how few people admitted to seeing the film still in the programme as a key influence. (You’d be amazed how many producers continue to sell themselves short by providing lacklustre stills.)
Rotten Tomatoes was named so often as an external source of guidance that we’d like to drill further: is it the audience ratings there or the critics’ approval rankings that hold sway? We were pleased to note the high use of two sponsor sites too: Flicks.co.nz and Letterboxd.
One respondent noted that we weren’t always on the ball about getting trailers on to our site. We’ve often booked films before the trailers have
The queues aside – and how genial and orderly they invariably are – VIFF is the festival that reminds me the most of our own, until I am reminded by the announcement at every screening that VIFF must secure $3 of grant, donation or sponsorship income for every $1 taken at the box office. (At NZIFF we’d probably be happy with $1 for every $5 if you’d like to help out.)
Nonetheless VIFF gives off every indication of being an audience-driven extravaganza, with big crowds eagerly engaging with every film and Q and A I have seen. Those queues, btw, are very social; reputedly the scene of many a life-changing encounter. How better to open a new chapter in your life than with a witty remark to a complete stranger about the duration of the new Nuri Bilge Ceylan movie or by confessing your ambivalence about the colour-blind casting gag in the new Kristen Wiig movie, Welcome to Me? That seemed to be working yesterday for the guy behind me.
VIFF is my third consecutive festival since NZIFF this year. I have now seen a great many not-so-great films at TIFF, attended press screenings for the NYFF, and traded tales with various
Suddenly it’s September, and time for me to embark on the search for NZIFF 2015. Toronto calls, before we’ve had time to take stock of what we learned at NZIFF 2014. We invite you to assist us with this process. But it’s not too early to offer a few observations from the flight deck.
NZIFF in Wellington bounced back from last year’s post-quake doldrums to hit an amazing 70,000 attendances, a 12.5% increase. How absolutely positive is that? The big surprise on our Greatest Hits list this year was the runaway success of Living is Easy with Eyes Closed. Strawberry Fields Forever! Two other titles wearing their brands much more overtly – on very elegant sleeves – Dior and I and Yves Saint Laurent were also mobbed. Particle Fever and 20,000 Days on Earth joined the Dior film as our documentary hits, with Wim Wenders’ extraordinary The Salt of the Earth only just nudged out of a place on our top ten box office hit list.
And how about the New Zealand films? We couldn’t be happier about sharing in the glory of The Dark Horse
The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film was awarded to Ross & Beth, directed and written by Hamish Bennett and produced by Orlando Stewart.
The jury selected Abigail Greenwood, director of the film Eleven, for The Friends of the Civic Short Film Award for distinctive creative achievement.
A special jury of cinematographers selected Grant McKinnon, cinematographer for Ross & Beth as the winner of the inaugural Allen Guilford Cinematography Award from the New Zealand Cinematographers Society (NZCS).
And the 2014 Audience Award, voted by viewers in Auckland and Wellington, went to Ross & Beth.
The three judges were Eleanor Catton, 2013 Man Booker prize winner and author of The Luminaries, visiting filmmaker Rolf de Heer (Charlie’s Country,Ten Canoes) and Michael Eldred, representative for Madman Entertainment. The jury statement reads as follows:
"The jurors were united in their admiration for the shorts presented, their variety and the standard of film making contained within them. Each of the shorts, in giving us something to admire, was a worthy finalist.
For fluid, effective story-telling with both camera and performance, the Friends of the Civic Award goes to Abigail Greenwood for Eleven.
For its completeness as a short film, its mastery of
(image credit: Anneliese Keugler)
We had a blast at the live Q&A with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. The Q&A was led in person by the film’s New Zealand director Florian Habicht with Jarvis Cocker beaming in via Skype. Jarvis was virtually in the cinema from London (for our Auckland screening) and from Iceland (for our Wellington screening) following the main screenings of Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets.
For more images of the Skype Q&A events visit our Facebook page.