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 or jump-starting the exhilarating ride that is Housebound. Christchurch filmmaker Gerard Smyth’s portrait of Wellingtonian Jean Watson proved the local audience favourite in a line-up of fine kiwi documentaries. And Florian Habicht brought Jarvis Cocker home for one unforgettable night at the Embassy.
We’re sure that the integration of our new ticketing system into our new website along with our no-surprises standardisation of booking fees helped open up NZIFF in Wellington this year. We’re well aware that there’s plenty of tweaking still to be done with this new system, not least in the area of seat allocation. (We’ve received more heartfelt correspondence about this than any other single subject this year.)
Beginning this weekend, NZIFF makes it last stand for 2014 in Palmerston North, New Plymouth and Masterton. Plan a long weekend. It may be many months before you gave another chance to catch some of our most popular films. Or you could head to Toronto with me and catch their North American premieres. Be warned though: the queues are long in Toronto and the chances are good that in Palmerston North, New Plymouth or Masterton you will be able to see The Salt of the Earth or Winter Sleep or Charlie’s Country or Dior and I without lining up at all. The coffee will be better too.
— Bill Gosden, NZIFF Director
If you would like to provide feedback on NZIFF 2014 or ideas for NZIFF 2015 please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.