Image: Wellington school children attend a special NZIFF screening at the Embassy Theatre (Photo credit Ambrose Hickman). View our visual summary of the survey feedback over on our Facebook page.
Deciding What to See
“My wife chose the movies and I was happy with her choices”.
We enjoyed lavish praise for the new website, but note that the printed brochure still takes prime place as a guide to film selection. In 2015 we’ll be acting on the numerous requests for a PDF of the printed publication on our site. We were surprised and relieved to see how few people admitted to seeing the film still in the programme as a key influence. (You’d be amazed how many producers continue to sell themselves short by providing lacklustre stills.)
Rotten Tomatoes was named so often as an external source of guidance that we’d like to drill further: is it the audience ratings there or the critics’ approval rankings that hold sway? We were pleased to note the high use of two sponsor sites too: Flicks.co.nz and Letterboxd.
One respondent noted that we weren’t always on the ball about getting trailers on to our site. We’ve often booked films before the trailers have
The queues aside – and how genial and orderly they invariably are – VIFF is the festival that reminds me the most of our own, until I am reminded by the announcement at every screening that VIFF must secure $3 of grant, donation or sponsorship income for every $1 taken at the box office. (At NZIFF we’d probably be happy with $1 for every $5 if you’d like to help out.)
Nonetheless VIFF gives off every indication of being an audience-driven extravaganza, with big crowds eagerly engaging with every film and Q and A I have seen. Those queues, btw, are very social; reputedly the scene of many a life-changing encounter. How better to open a new chapter in your life than with a witty remark to a complete stranger about the duration of the new Nuri Bilge Ceylan movie or by confessing your ambivalence about the colour-blind casting gag in the new Kristen Wiig movie, Welcome to Me? That seemed to be working yesterday for the guy behind me.
VIFF is my third consecutive festival since NZIFF this year. I have now seen a great many not-so-great films at TIFF, attended press screenings for the NYFF, and traded tales with various
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. In this newsletter we invite you to assist us with this process. First, a few observations from the flight deck.
Although we’ve had a great year in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch, NZIFF attendance in Dunedin slumped this year, as worried Regent patrons could frequently be heard observing to one another. Was it the weather: too fair at first, and then too foul? Was it the advent of a new chain cinema, ostensibly bent on pricing every other operator out of town? Surely it wasn’t the zombies? (But did they really have to run their movie programme the very weekend we were screening Housebound and Wild Tales?) Could it be that running our biggest Dunedin programme ever was simply overwhelming people with choice? We’re keen to know what you think – though we do realise that we’re addressing this important question to newsletter subscribers who may have no idea at all why anyone wouldn’t make a beeline for NZIFF.
Our biggest success in Dunedin this year was our opening night
The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film was awarded to Ross & Beth, directed and written by Hamish Bennett and produced by Orlando Stewart.
The jury selected Abigail Greenwood, director of the film Eleven, for The Friends of the Civic Short Film Award for distinctive creative achievement.
A special jury of cinematographers selected Grant McKinnon, cinematographer for Ross & Beth as the winner of the inaugural Allen Guilford Cinematography Award from the New Zealand Cinematographers Society (NZCS).
And the 2014 Audience Award, voted by viewers in Auckland and Wellington, went to Ross & Beth.
The three judges were Eleanor Catton, 2013 Man Booker prize winner and author of The Luminaries, visiting filmmaker Rolf de Heer (Charlie’s Country,Ten Canoes) and Michael Eldred, representative for Madman Entertainment. The jury statement reads as follows:
"The jurors were united in their admiration for the shorts presented, their variety and the standard of film making contained within them. Each of the shorts, in giving us something to admire, was a worthy finalist.
For fluid, effective story-telling with both camera and performance, the Friends of the Civic Award goes to Abigail Greenwood for Eleven.
For its completeness as a short film, its mastery of
This is the third year the Wairoa Film Festival have programmed the Ngā Whanaunga shorts for NZIFF and we are pleased to host the nationwide screenings of this terrific collection as part of the 2014 programme.
The Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2014 is 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 curator Craig Fasi (Niue), Pollywood Film Festival Director.
“This year’s expression of ‘Ngā Whanaunga’, which means relatedness and connectedness between peoples, is once again realised with films from Aotearoa and the Pacific – stunning works made by big screen storytellers at the cutting edge,” says Leo Koziol, Wairoa Māori Film Festival Director.
The short films, with curators’ comments in italics, are:
NZ 2014 | 4 mins
Director: Riwia Brown (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui)
Abandoned on her birthday, Pippa escapes into an imaginary world with her best friend Chubby.
A well told story with a sharp pace enforces the significance of the epidemic of neglect. — Craig Fasi
NZ/Cook Islands 2014 | 14 mins
Director: Lennie Hill (Ngāpuhi)
A father’s sacrifice, a young boy’s promise. The colours and hues