NZIFF Booklet

Films by Country

USA

Amazing Grace

Alan Elliott, Sydney Pollack

Rescued from 45 years in legal and technical limbo, this extraordinary music film capturing Aretha Franklin in full flight deserves your respect – and the biggest screen and sound system possible.

The Amazing Johnathan Documentary

Ben Berman

In the world of magic, nothing is what it seems as a terminally ill magician prepares for his swansong – and the ultimate trick on the maker of this bizarre documentary.

American Woman

Jake Scott

A sweeping character study centred on a teenager’s disappearance – and a mother’s determination to live through the tragedy – in blue collar Pennsylvania. With Sienna Miller, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks.

Animation for Kids 4+

Animation is such an engaging art form – perfect for inspiring the wide-open imaginations of our youngest NZIFF audience members. Not that the inspiration stops there – these eclectic and entertaining films are sure to appeal to both the young and young at heart. — NM

Animation for Kids 8+

We again alternate big themes and existential musings with essential hilarity, showcasing 12 terrific short films from all corners of our big wide world. Certain to stimulate and charm both sharp young minds and indie animation-loving grown-ups. — NM

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut

Francis Ford Coppola

Welcome back to the jungle with Brando, Duvall, Fishburne and Hopper for Francis Ford Coppola’s final – and finest – version of the ultimate Vietnam War epic.

Aquarela

Victor Kossakovsky

The elemental power and glory of water is captured with high frame rate, ultra-definition cameras in film artist Victor Kossakovsky’s spectacular visual documentary.

The Art of Self-Defense

Riley Stearns

One of the most buzzed titles from this year’s SXSW fest, this jet-black deadpan comedy deploys a killer ensemble of Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola and Imogen Poots to deadly effect.

Ask Dr. Ruth

Ryan White

As her 90th birthday approaches, irrepressible Dr Ruth, the famed American sex therapist, reflects on her life and career in a film as spirited as she is.

Brittany Runs a Marathon

Paul Downs Colaizzo

Jillian Bell (Workaholics, Rough Night) stars in this Audience Award-winning Sundance comedy about a New York slacker who takes up running in the hopes of getting her life back on track.

Hail Satan?

Penny Lane

From America’s satanic panic to the battle of the Baphomet monument, Hail Satan? is an eye-opening comedic romp exploring the good – and sometimes not so good – work of The Satanic Temple.

Halston

Frédéric Tcheng

The astounding career and chequered business history of the American design genius who revolutionised fashion in the 1970s are recalled in this fittingly epic new documentary from the director of Dior and I.

Inventing Tomorrow

Laura Nix

An empowering celebration of young thinkers channelling their energy, passion, creativity and super smarts towards serious environmental change, while navigating the inevitable doubts and insecurities of teenhood.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

Nick Broomfield

A deep dive into the myth of Leonard Cohen, the singer’s defining relationship with Marianne Ihlen, and prolific documentarian Nick Broomfield’s own personal connection to Cohen’s famous lover and muse.

Martha: A Picture Story

Selina Miles

Meet New York’s legendary-yet-unlikely street art photographer who influenced a whole generation of graffiti artists – and at the age of 75, is still capturing beauty on the fringes, with verve.

Meeting Gorbachev

Werner Herzog, André Singer

Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev gets his due in [Werner Herzog’s] engaging and touching valedictory to one of the most pivotal figures of the 20th century.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

mid90s

Jonah Hill

Actor Jonah Hill directs with dead-on authenticity and unruly spirit this throwback to ’90s skate culture, based on his teenage years as a troublemaking skater in downtown LA.

Midsommar

Ari Aster

Ari Aster’s buzzworthy follow-up to the terrifying Hereditary centres on an American couple whose festive encounter with Swedish pagan cultists slowly but surely descends into madness. Late confirmation.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

Stanley Nelson

Stanley Nelson’s rich and multifaceted biography of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis delivers a clear-eyed portrait of the man behind the music.

Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2019

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. Curators’ comments on each film appear in italics.

One Child Nation

Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang

A frank documentary about the wide-reaching impact of China’s one-child policy, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang unearth the frightening reality of the regime they were raised under. Winner Grand Jury Prize, Sundance 2019.

Photograph

Ritesh Batra

A street photographer convinces a shy stranger to pose as his fiancée in this sweet and tender romance that unfolds amongst the chaotic streets of Mumbai. From the director of The Lunchbox.

Walking on Water

Andrey Paounov

Octogenarian Christo wraps up a miraculous career with a spectacular network of fabric walkways over an Italian lake, in an oft-humorous closeup look at the process of creation, clashes of egos and perils of nature.

Where’s My Roy Cohn?

Matt Tyrnauer

A searing portrait of notoriously malicious lawyer Roy ‘don’t tell me about the law, just tell me who the judge is’ Cohn delves into the dark arts of American politics.

Yuli

Icíar Bollaín

Moving between fiction and reality, and harnessing the power of both drama and dance, Cuban ballet dancer and choreographer Carlos Acosta shares his life story, from a barely interested kid to one of the greats.