NZIFF Booklet

Films by Must See

Staff Picks: Sharon Byrne

12 must-see festival documentaries and feature films from NZIFF's General Manager.

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.

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.

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.

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’.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Varda by Agnès

Agnès Varda

The late, great French filmmaking icon’s swansong is a magical self-reflection on art, movies, invention and Varda’s own lust for life inside and outside of the cinematic frame.

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.

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.

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.