Festival Programme

Films by Strand

Premieres

Join filmgoers from around the country on opening and closing night, and on every weeknight and weekend of the Festival, in a virtual audience.

Selected online premieres will also feature special guests and filmmaker appearances.

Richard Riddiford

“I’d never share a rope with him” is about as damning a comment as anyone can make about a fellow mountaineer. Sir Edmund Hillary’s words about Earle Riddiford in his last autobiography set the uneasy tone of this nuanced documentary by Earle’s son Richard Riddiford.

Boze Cialo

Jan Komasa

An ex-con masquerading as a priest works to heal the wounds of a grieving congregation with his unorthodox brand of faith and forgiveness in this darkly compelling Oscar-nominated Polish drama.

Héraðið

Grímur Hákonarson

We close the Festival with this quintessentially Icelandic comedy about one woman’s fight against a monopolistic co-op stifling the livelihoods of farmers in a remote valley near Reykjavik. Adroitly blending humour and injustice together with the lightest of touches, it’s a worthy successor to NZIFF18 audience favourite Woman at War.

Andrew Ahn

The definition of a small but perfectly formed gem, the gracefully understated Driveways centres on a young Asian boy who develops a precious friendship with the lonely war vet living next door, played memorably by the late Brian Dennehy.

Monica Zanetti

In this bright, affirmative lesbian teen rom-com, a girl awkwardly angles for the attention of her high school crush with a little help from the ghost of her aunt, a queer activist with a poignant history in the fight for LGBTQI+ rights.

Pablo Larraín

Pure, unadulterated cinema, the latest from Chilean maestro Pablo Larraín is straight fire: a scorching character study of one woman’s pursuit of sexual and political liberation, lit up by Mariana Di Girolamo’s sensational lead performance.

Leanne Pooley

In the increasing public discourse on mental health, Leanne Pooley’s inspiring and fearless documentary tracks an extraordinary young woman’s journey from suicide survivor to advocate for those struggling. The fact it leaves you hopeful and with tangible advice makes it vital viewing.

Sin Señas Particulares

Fernanda Valadez

Travellers and migrants who vanish without a trace – and the desperation of the families they leave behind – come to light in this tense, enveloping drama set in the shadow of the US–Mexico border.

Halina Reijn

Halina Reijn’s astonishingly assured directorial debut tensely interrogates the fantasises of a veteran therapist (Carice van Houten, Game of Thrones), whose attraction to a sex offender patient escalates into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game.

Au nom de la terre

Édouard Bergeon

A revelation at the French box office that’s also bound to resonate with heartland New Zealanders, In the Name of the Land humanely and bittersweetly celebrates the life of a stoic farmer over four decades of struggle.

Lauren Greenfield

Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, NZIFF12) harnesses extraordinary access and the boastful, unrepentant nature of her subject, Imelda Marcos, in this unsettling chronicle of ill-gotten wealth and political corruption.

Anna Marbrook

Director Anna Marbrook honours the last voyage of the great waka maker, sailor and mentor Ema Siope, whose journeys between Aotearoa and Sāmoa in search of healing, and her family’s reckoning with systemic abuse, are powerfully documented.

Pietro Marcello

In the earthy, captivatingly idiosyncratic Martin Eden, a lowly sailor romances a sophisticated young woman while plunging into an epic love affair with literature and intellectual curiosity in 20th-century Italy.

Reiner Holzemer

A belated and buoyant documentary portrait of Martin Margiela, celebrated for his trailblazing designs and humble, enigmatic persona within the flamboyant fashion world.

New Zealand's Best 2020

Help give the year’s best New Zealand short films the homegrown recognition they deserve by voting for your favourite.

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.

Daniel Roher

The saga of The Band, whose iconic farewell concert was immortalised in The Last Waltz, continues to captivate in this new documentary shaped from the perspective of guitarist-songwriter Robbie Robertson, only one of two surviving members.

Haifaa Al-Mansour

Saudi superstar director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s latest is a winning homecoming; a seriocomic look at the daily struggles of a doctor running for council – and her fellow women and outsiders – within an Islamic society undergoing dramatic change.

Natalie Erika James

A female-centric, intergenerational haunted house story of the highest order, Relic takes the terrifying conceit of senile dementia and transforms it into a supernatural entity that engulfs sufferers and those who care for them.

Max Currie

Premiering their forthcoming web series as a special festival presentation, director Max Currie (Everything We Loved, NZIFF14) and writer Cole Meyers’ queer and trans-celebratory drama swells with character and heart.

Lance Oppenheim

A peek behind the curtain of the self-proclaimed “Disneyland for Retirees”, first-time director Lance Oppenheim’s humorous and bittersweet documentary follows four recent arrivals as they search for the American Dream.

Eammon Ashton-Atkinson

The Steelers journey to compete in the World Cup of gay rugby in this hopeful yet emotionally honest sports documentary about playing for pride, whoever your team is.

Justin Kurzel

From Sir Sydney Nolan’s epic paintings to Peter Carey’s Booker Prize-winning novel, Ned Kelly has come a long way to find himself thundering on horseback across a barren moonlit landscape, dressed only in boots and a flowing lace frock, in this dazzling postmodern version of the outlaw legend.

La Vérité

Kore-eda Hirokazu

After conquering Cannes with Shoplifters, Japanese auteur Kore-eda Hirokazu breathlessly transposes his beloved cinema of families, food and slow-burning truths to Paris, with an all-star cast led by two doyennes of the French silver screen.

Benh Zeitlin

Something completely different from the director of Beasts of the Southern Wild (NZIFF12), this swirling, kaleidoscopic take on the adventures of Peter Pan and Wendy in Neverland is uniquely for both mature kids and wide-eyed adults.

Mientras dure la guerra

Alejandro Amenábar

The acclaimed director of The Sea Inside returns with his most handsomely mounted film yet, an expansive yet deep-focus drama detailing events around the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Franco’s fascist dictatorship.

Young Hunter

El cazador

Marco Berger

A smart and nuanced portrait of gay love matched with suspenseful and unexpected turns, Marco Berger’s latest film continues his acclaimed run of dramas exploring queer male desire and romance.