NZIFF Booklet

Films by Language

English

2040

Damon Gameau

In this inspiring vision of the future, That Sugar Film director Damon Gameau travels the world in search of technologies and practices that will reduce our dependence on carbon, pull people out of poverty and help create a better 2040.

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.

Animals

Sophie Hyde

Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) are thirty-something best friends in Dublin, where partying hard is still their way to have fun, but the reality of getting older is getting harder to ignore.

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.

Apollo 11

Todd Douglas Miller

An essential big screen experience, this spectacular documentary utilises a treasure trove of painstakingly restored footage to show us the Apollo 11 moon landing as it has never been seen before.

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.

Backtrack Boys

Catherine Scott

A love for wild dogs and a love for wild kids inspire Australian Bernie Shakeshaft’s remarkable programme to transform the lives of both, intimately observed over two years in Catherine Scott’s acclaimed documentary.

Bacurau

Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles

Fierce politics and top-notch furious filmmaking collide to potent effect in this Cannes-lauded portrait of a near-future fight for survival in the remote reaches of northern Brazil.

Beats

Brian Welsh

As EDM and ecstasy-fuelled raves are targeted by 90s lawmakers, two downtrodden Glasgow teenagers are determined to taste the action. Director Brian Welsh (The Entire History of You) makes it a night to remember.

Bellbird

Hamish Bennett

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.

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché

Pamela B. Green

Blending archival footage with interviews from A-listers Ava DuVernay, Geena Davis and Agnès Varda, among others, Green’s fizzy doco dives into the birth of motion pictures, and the pioneering woman who was there from the start.

The Biggest Little Farm

John Chester

A city slicker couple turned progressive eco-farmers transform a barren orchard into a thriving landscape in this inspirational sustainability documentary.

Billy and The Kids

Mark Albiston

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.

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.

By the Balls

Charlotte Purdy, Simon Coldrick

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.

Capital in the 21st Century

Justin Pemberton

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.

Carmine Street Guitars

Ron Mann

Ron Mann’s absorbing documentary portrays a week in the life of old-school guitar maker Rick Kelly and his Greenwich Village workshop with its devoted clientele of rock royalty.

Celeste

Ben Hackworth

Radha Mitchell is radiant as a retiring diva in this intoxicating tale of love, betrayal and Schubert’s lieder set in a remote and beautiful enclave of bohemian community in the North Queensland rainforest.

Chris the Swiss

Anja Kofmel

Recalling the work of Marjane Satrapi and Ari Folman, Anja Kofmel recreates the strange life and death of her war reporter cousin in a bold, moody hybrid of docu-portrait and animation.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld

Mads Brügger

What starts out as an investigation into the plane crash that killed UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961 soon spirals into something even darker under the direction of Danish provocateur Mads Brügger.

Come to Daddy

Ant Timpson

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.

The Day Shall Come

Chris Morris

Anna Kendrick plays a dysfunctional FBI agent tricking an idealistic preacher into plotting terror in The Day Shall Come, Chris Morris’ ballsy, very funny follow-up to festival hit Four Lions.

Escher: Journey into Infinity

Escher: Het oneindige zoeken

Robin Lutz

This vivid portrait explores M.C. Escher’s life and imaginative world through his own words and visions. Narrated by Stephen Fry.

The Farewell

Lulu Wang

Deft and deeply felt, with a star-making turn from Awkwafina, Lulu Wang’s widely praised drama tells the story of a Chinese American family paying their last respects to a mother and grandmother who doesn’t know she’s dying.

Fly By Night

Sebelum pagi berakhir

Zahir Omar

This gripping heist-thriller… depicting a dark underbelly of Kuala Lumpur teeming with violent triads and corrupt cops… raises the bar of Malaysian genre cinema.” — New York Asian Film Festival

For My Father’s Kingdom

Vea Mafile’o, Jeremiah Tauamiti

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.

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash

Thom Zimny

Springsteen on Broadway director Thom Zimny offers a defining, authorised documentary on Johnny Cash, capturing the icon’s singular voice as a musician while stripping back his legend to the most compelling essentials.

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.

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

RaMell Ross

This artful and poetic study of ordinary black lives from acclaimed photographer-turned-filmmaker RaMell Ross competed for Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards.

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.

High Life

Claire Denis

A forbidding spaceship carrying death row inmates hurtles towards oblivion in Claire Denis’s long-awaited, intensely hypnotic sci-fi opus.

The Hole in the Ground

Lee Cronin

Paranoia takes hold of a single mother after her son, feared missing in the woods near an ominous sinkhole, returns unharmed yet with a disturbingly changed demeanour.

In Fabric

Peter Strickland

A cross between Suspiria and an old Farmers catalogue, the latest from retro genre stylist Peter Strickland, centring on a demonic dress at a posh department store, gleefully satirises fashion and consumerism.

In My Blood It Runs

Maya Newell

Told from the perspective of an insightful 10-year-old Aboriginal boy, this sensitive documentary considers the value of an education that balances the integrity of indigenous lifeways against persistent colonisation.

Inna de Yard

Peter Webber

Beyond Bob Marley, Inna de Yard dives deep into the soul of reggae music, the die-hard singers and songwriters who were there from the beginning, and the Jamaican sound and spirit.

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.

It Must Be Heaven

Elia Suleiman

Palestinian director Elia Suleiman’s artfully composed, comedic contemplation of his place in the world discerns universal truths and absurdities in the minutiae.

Jawline

Liza Mandelup

Charting the rise of aspiring star Austyn Tester, Liza Mandelup’s dreamy feature-length debut is a stranger-than-fiction portrait of wannabe online influencers. US Documentary Special Jury Award, Sundance 2019.

Judy & Punch

Mirrah Foulkes

Punch & Judy’s traditional puppet theatre receives an offbeat and subversive twist in this deliciously dark tale of revenge starring Mia Wasikowska.

Kind Hearts and Coronets

Robert Hamer

The classic, quintessentially British comedy of bad manners returns in a superb digital restoration. With Dennis Price as the most elegantly murderous of social climbers and Alec Guinness as all eight of his victims.

Koyaanisqatsi

Godfrey Reggio

As big as big-screen experiences get, Godfrey Reggio’s dialogue-free epic meditation on nature and man showcases a phenomenal Philip Glass score and stunning time-lapse photography from across the globe.

La Flor: Part I

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

La Flor: Part II

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

La Flor: Part III

Mariano Llinás

Spanning international espionage, torch song melodrama, supernatural horror and silent film homage, Mariano Llinás’ eccentric and expansive narrative epic is a Herculean film creation – and at 14 hours, a record-breaking one. Screening in three parts.

Maiden

Alex Holmes

Utilising a treasure trove of archival footage, director Alex Holmes celebrates the history of Maiden Great Britain, the first all-female crew to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Maria by Callas

Tom Volf

This adoring documentary captures the life, art – and, above all, spine-tingling talents – of a diva extraordinaire revered by opera devotees and ripe for discovery by everyone who’s not.

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.

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.

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.

Modest Heroes: Ponoc Short Films Theatre, Volume 1

Chisana eiyu: Kani to tamago to tomei ningen

Yonebayashi Hiromasa, Momose Yoshiyuki, Yamashita Akihiko

Good things come in small packages in this impressive three film anthology from Studio Ponoc, highlighting the creative power of short-form animation – and showcasing Japan’s finest animators at work.

Monos

Alejandro Landes

Like Lord of the Flies by way of Yorgos Lanthimos, this bold, bizarro Sundance sensation takes the feral power struggles of youth gone wild to the misty mountains and lush jungles of Colombia.

Monrovia, Indiana

Frederick Wiseman

The small farming town of Monrovia, a stronghold of Republican voters and Midwestern values, is the subject of this quietly probing new documentary from the legendary Frederick Wiseman.

Mope

Lucas Heyne

Boogie Nights meets Pain & Gain in this tragic, oddly compelling story of two low-end porn actors who sought fame but gained infamy, all based on real events.

MO TE IWI – Carving for the People

Robin Greenberg

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.

Mr Jones

Agnieszka Holland

Soaring across Poland, Scotland and the Ukraine, Agnieszka Holland’s absorbing biopic illuminates the exploits of unsung Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, who bravely investigated the Soviet famine of 1932–33.

Mrs Lowry & Son

Adrian Noble

Timothy Spall plays English painter L.S. Lowry – here a frustrated artist in 1930s Lancashire – and Vanessa Redgrave his bed-ridden, domineering mother, in this popular play-turned-biopic.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence

Richard Lowenstein

Richard Lowenstein, who directed Michael Hutchence in Dogs in Space, combines rare archive footage and intimate insights from the people who were close to the INXS rock icon, in this major documentary.

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.

The Nightingale

Jennifer Kent

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Jennifer Kent’s brutal revenge saga is an unrelenting reckoning with white male oppression – and not for the faint of heart.

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.

Peterloo

Mike Leigh

Four years after Waterloo a different kind of battle was fought on British soil, Mike Leigh delivers a passionate and forceful historical drama about the time when the working class began to fight for their rights.

Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing

Shirley Horrocks

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.

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.

PJ Harvey: A Dog Called Money

Seamus Murphy

PJ Harvey gathers lyrical and musical inspiration in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Washington DC, an unorthodox collection of raw material fused together in a London studio for her 2016 album, The Hope Six Demolition Project.

Port Authority

Danielle Lessovitz

Debuting writer-director Danielle Lessovitz weaves a boy-meets-trans girl romance about identity and belonging around the New York underground ballroom scene.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Push

Fredrik Gertten

As rocketing urbanisation collides with stagnant wages and a lack of affordable housing around the world, Fredrik Gertten’s clarion call to arms shows how global finance giants turn homes into assets.

Ray & Liz

Richard Billingham

Turner prize-nominated artist Richard Billingham directs with visual lyricism and intelligence this tough, transfixing autobiographical drama of working-class life in Thatcher’s England.

Ruben Brandt, Collector

Ruben Brandt, a gyűjtő

Milorad Krstić

Boasting batshit surreal imagery, fist-pumping action sequences and a wall-to-wall shrine of art and cinema references, Ruben Brandt, Collector is a new milestone for animated invention.

A Seat at the Table

David Nash, Simon Mark-Brown

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.

Shooting the Mafia

Kim Longinotto

Veteran documentarian Kim Longinotto turns her lens on legendary photographer Letizia Battaglia, who reflects on a life lived to the fullest amidst violence in mob-controlled Sicily.

Sorry We Missed You

Ken Loach

A most worthy follow-up to I, Daniel Blake, Ken Loach’s new social-realist drama zeroes in on life as an average British family at the mercy of the modern day ‘gig economy’.

The State Against Mandela and the Others

L’État contre Mandela et les autres

Nicolas Champeaux, Gilles Porte

Rare audio recordings alongside animated courtroom sketches bring to life the Rivonia trial in this enthralling snapshot of a pivotal chapter in Mandela and his co-defendants’ fight against apartheid.

Stuffed

Erin Derham

A fully rounded, elegantly observed documentary on the world of taxidermy, its dedicated practitioners and their empathy for the animals whose lives and beauty they lovingly preserve.

This Changes Everything

Tom Donahue

You thought #TimesUp was a new initiative? Think again. This Changes Everything is the rallying cry lovers of cinema, supporters of women, and those who just aspire to see a fairer, more equitable industry have been waiting for.

Under the Silver Lake

David Robert Mitchell

Deadbeat slacker Andrew Garfield delves into the labyrinthine mysteries of La La Land on the hunt for a missing girl in David Robert Mitchell’s oddball neo-noir thriller.

Violence Voyager

Baiorensu boija

Ujicha

Twisted visions of childhood don’t come more unhinged than Ujicha’s delightfully macabre animated misadventure. Inventive genre thrills and spills abound: who knew cardboard viscera could be so disturbing?

Vivarium

Lorcan Finnegan

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots’ goal of becoming homeowners veers into strange and sinister territory in this smart and unexpected sci-fi horror.

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.

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael

Rob Garver

Wittily illustrated and packed with quotations from her film reviews (read by Sarah Jessica Parker), Rob Garver’s doco explores New Yorker writer Pauline Kael’s evolution from failed playwright and struggling single mother to critical powerhouse.

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.

The Whistlers

La Gomera

Corneliu Porumboiu

Breathing new life into the Romanian New Wave, Corneliu Porumboiu crafts a rollicking genre movie set in sun-soaked Spain, where the best laid plans of a bent cop hinge on learning a secret local whistling dialect.

You Don’t Nomi

Jeffrey McHale

This shameless celebration of Paul Verhoeven’s much-maligned Showgirls explores the film’s complicated afterlife, from disastrous release to cult adoration and extraordinary redemption.

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.