Festival Trust Refresh Complete

Festival Trust Refresh Complete
Kaine Thompson

The New Zealand Film Festival Trust Board has completed a film festival refresh with appointments of a new Chair and a new Deputy Chair.

Catherine Fitzgerald ONZM, Chair for more than 20 years, indicated her intention to step aside during 2023 as part of a planned refresh which included a revised strategy, Te Ahua o te Whānau Mārama – a 10-year approach – appointment of a new Artistic Director, and refreshed Trust Board membership.

Fitzgerald is succeeded by Kaine Thompson. Thompson joined the Trust Board in April 2023, with Sharon Menzies and Toby Manhire. Thompson sits on a number of national and local arts and social services boards including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Sharon Menzies was confirmed as Deputy Chair and also brings significant screen sector governance experience both in New Zealand and Australia and a proven track record in film financing.    

Thompson says, “We are grateful to Catherine for her deeply committed service as Chair, particularly through extremely challenging times. We are also grateful both Catherine and Robin continue their association with the Film Festival by accepting appointments as Trustees for another term.”

Film-makers, Fitzgerald and fellow long-serving trustee Robin Laing have both accepted appointments for a further term alongside trustees Chris Hormann, Andrew Langridge, Tearepa Kahi, Manhire, Menzies and Thompson.

Menzies says, “The circumstances of the last three years forced us to look at how to preserve the future of this national arts, culture and events treasure. A new strategy, a refreshed approach, appointment of Paolo Bertolin as Artistic Director and Sally Woodfield as Executive Director – this was all challenging but necessary to ensure our audiences would see us back this year and beyond.”

Thompson says, “We were faced with a stark choice in 2023, shut down, like so many arts and culture events have had to do, or to radically refresh. The last three years brought the film festival to the brink. Our Board and our team are committed to our audiences, so we knew retiring the festival was not an option. We are excited about 2024 and future film festivals. Let’s go!”

The 2024 New Zealand International Film Festival opens in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on 31 July before screening in nine other centres around the motu throughout August and until 4 September. First films and new strands can be found here.

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