Announcing Thirteen New Zealand Film Premieres

Thursday 20 June 2019


With scheduling in full swing, we’re taking a moment to celebrate our homegrown filmmakers.  

Rich in documentaries, this year’s selection of NZ films feature nine World and four New Zealand Premieres.   

Today’s reveal adds 12 new titles to the Aotearoa strand, completing the line-up with the already announced Kiwi documentary A Seat at the Table.  The diverse line-up of documentaries spans portraits of local talent such as renowned photographer Peter Peryer, master carver and Māori artist Rangi Hetet, and champion Kiwi boxer Billy Graham. Narrative features include a slice of life on a Northland dairy farm and a comedic family farce set in suburban Upper Hutt.

With less than a week until the full Auckland programme launch, we’re as excited as you are to dive into what the festival has to offer this winter.

The confirmed New Zealand films for 2019 are:

Capital in the 21st Century  

A sweeping – and sobering – account of the way that concentrated wealth has both shaped our past and is creating a deeply unequal future. Based on economist Thomas Piketty’s bestselling book.

For My Father's Kingdom

Pasifika filmmakers Vea Mafile’o and Jeremiah Tauamiti direct this intimate, clear-eyed documentary centred on the faith, love and fatherhood of Saia Mafile’o, and his four children.

Herbs: Songs of Freedom

Director Tearepa Kahi’s follow-up to the infectious Poi E is a rousing celebration of Pacific reggae legends Herbs, the band’s members and its action as an inspiring musical front for social rights and harmony.


Marshall Napier, Cohen Holloway and Rachel House shine in Hamish Bennett’s beautifully judged, poignantly funny drama of life and community on a struggling Northland family dairy farm.

Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing

Shirley Horrocks’ richly illustrated portrait of the life and career of one of New Zealand’s most important photographers, who dedicated his life to seeing and making works of art out of the everyday.

Helen Kelly - Together

An intimate, inspirational portrait of Helen Kelly in the last year of her life, Together tells the story of a woman whose advocacy and generosity changed the lives of countless New Zealanders.

By the Balls

Sport and politics most definitely do mix in this gripping look back at a brutal and turbulent time for New Zealand rugby, told from the point of view of the players themselves including David Kirk and Buck Shelford.

Births, Deaths & Marriages

Director Bea Joblin’s spirited debut feature boasts snappy dialogue and spot-on performances from a cast including Geraldine Brophy, Sophie Hambleton and Jamie McCaskill. A pungent kiwi slant on classic domestic farce.

MO TE IWI: Carving for the People

An intimate journey through the life and work of master carver Rangi Hetet and a celebration of his lifelong devotion to the traditions of Māori carving and Māori art.

Billy and The Kids

An insightful look inside the boxing academies run by champion Kiwi boxer Billy Graham, through the eyes of the kids whose lives they have changed.

Michael Smither 10

The final episode in Tony Hiles’ ongoing project chronicling his friend Michael Smither, finds the artist and composer in his studio wrestling with current paintings and reflecting on art and life.

Come to Daddy

Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie and Madeleine Sami lead Kiwi director (and NZIFF/Incredibly Strange programmer) Ant Timpson’s deranged comic thriller about a father-son reunion that goes very, very south.

A Seat at the Table

Savour 100 minutes of eye-popping camera work, picturesque vineyards and gratuitous grape-fondling shots in this glorious toast to the talent and the stories behind New Zealand’s world-famous wine industry.

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