2016 News

What You Said About Us
The Handmaiden was an audience favourite. 

Need we admit that all eyes at NZIFF HQ headed first to our approval ratings? Happily for all concerned 97% of participants indicated that they were likely or very likely to attend NZIFF 2017. 95% were either very satisfied or satisfied with their experience of NZIFF this year. We are guessing that the 24 souls who characterised themselves as very dissatisfied were the same 24 who won’t be joining us next year or recommending that anyone else make that mistake.

It’s great to be able to report to our local body funders (or potential funders) how highly NZIFF rated with respondents as a contributor to civic pride. And our key sponsors will surely be pleased to learn that their presence was appreciated by so many NZIFF patrons.

Few opportunities to file a comment were left untaken. Reading every line has been engrossing, informative, entertaining and occasionally bruising. This summary concentrates on some recurrent themes in the great welter of feedback – and a few of the more vividly expressed words of approval or advice. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the lively and overwhelmingly positive survey.

Information Services

Our printed programme and website still rule when it comes to sourcing

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Goodbye, Dear Carol
Carol Kisby with Lindsay Shelton 

Carol Kisby, one of the founding spirits of the International Film Festival in Wellington died last week. When Lindsay Shelton and the Wellington Film Society set out to establish a film festival for the city in the early 70s Carol and her late husband Merv were the operators of the independent Paramount Theatre in Courtenay Place. Only the Kisbys were prepared to take a chance on this motley crew and their enthusiasm for subtitled films and brainy documentaries. With Merv hunkered down in the office and Carol life and soul of the booking office, they welcomed the first Wellington Film Festival to the Paramount in 1972.

I cannot write any more eloquently about her now than I did in 1985 when we crossed the road to the much grander Embassy and I bade Carol farewell in the souvenir programme for the Fourteenth Wellington Festival.

“Without Merv and Carol Kisby there might not have been a Wellington Film Festival, certainly not the Festival with the degree of independence they allowed to flourish at the Paramount. They are our god-parents who took us in when we were small. And Carol came as close as anybody could to endowing the Festival with a

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La La for Venice
La La Land

I had to sprint to make the plane, but it was worth a little sweat to get to the world’s most insanely beautiful city at the end of August for the 73rd edition of the world’s longest running Film Festival. Little over a week after introducing the Closing Night screening of Elle in Dunedin I was taking my seat for the perfect Opening Night film in Venice.

A big screen musical that’s determinedly contemporary while seamlessly sampling many Hollywood classics, La La Land is a bittersweet valentine to showbiz dreams. Its opening blast, with a cast of thousands bounding about a traffic-jammed LA flyover, threatens overkill. Happily the initial overload ends as suddenly as it began, give or take the odd subsequent mega-orchestral intrusion.

The true pleasures are in smaller things, not least the sinuous long takes that give the choreography full frame. Emma Stone, as a wannabe actress and Ryan Gosling as an earnestly retro jazz pianist, seem perfectly in character when they sing and dance; he lightly and warily, she much less guarded. Though writer/director Damien Chazelle has eschewed the macho clamour of his earlier Whiplash, he once more puts the artistry of his male lead at the

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We've Set a New Record in Wellington (Again)
The opening night audience for Poi E: The Story of Our Song, on 22 July 2016 at the Embassy Theatre. Photo credit: Mark Coote

NZIFF Wellington saw 78,184 admissions to the 160 features, documentaries and short-film compilations that screened at the Embassy Theatre and across seven other venues in the Wellington CBD, Brooklyn, Miramar and Petone. Festival dates were extended by four days due to popular demand, a total of 21 days for the event. (In 2015 NZIFF had set a new record with 75,326 admissions.)

“Wellington and the region have long embraced the film festival, now in its 45th year, as a major cultural event every winter. To the best of our knowledge, on a per capita basis Wellington’s film festival attendance is the best anywhere in the world. With as much as 90% of our annual income derived from box office, NZIFF is very much an audience-driven event,” says Director Bill Gosden.

“We are just as proud of the service we provide to local filmmakers who share in the income from NZIFF screenings. Three Wellington-produced feature-length films – romcom Chronesthesia and documentaries The heART of the Matter and The 5th Eye– made their world premieres to enthusiastic capacity audiences this year.” says Gosden.

Popular hits at this year’s Festival included two more Kiwi documentaries, Poi E and Le Ride, alongside Cannes winner I,

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New Zealand's Best 2016 Winners Announced

The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2016 was awarded to Wait, directed and written by Yamin Tun. The jury noted in their citation that they were particularly impressed with the film’s authorial vision and use of visual language to carry the emotional story. Writer and Director Yamin Tun receives a cash prize of $5,000.

The Jury citation follows:

“We wanted to reward a film and filmmaker who has a clear voice, that managed to stay with us, producing a story that succeeded in mastering the short film form. We were particularly impressed with this film’s authorial vision and use of visual language to carry the emotional story.”

Wait was also selected as the recipient for Wallace Friends of the Civic Award. The finalists for this award were assessed by Sir James Wallace and Associate Producer/Director Grae Burton. Five of the six finalists were considered for the award.  The sixth finalist, The King was produced in association with the Wallace Arts Trust and therefore was not eligible for this award.

The Wallace Arts Trust citation follows:

“In selecting Wait as the recipient for the award all films were given careful consideration in the

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