2017 News

You Said It: the Annual Survey Recap
My Life As A Courgette

Back in September we were brash enough to ask you how much you liked us. (We offered some tasty spot prizes as an inducement to respond.) 2,434 newsletter readers and/or ticket buyers took the time to do it. That added up to a lot of commentary for us to cover, but the feedback is enormously useful, not just for our own planning, but for sharing with partners, venues, suppliers and other colleagues.

The Films

As with every questionnaire we have ever run, the single subject on which no clear direction emerges is the programme. For some happy souls every film this year was a gem, for others NZIFF 2017 went down as a time of misery and ‘sad’ choices. One respondent would like the website amended so he or she would never be presented the option of seeing a French film. Numerous others request more films from a favoured country or field of interest. Some say ‘enough already with the documentaries’. Others say ‘bring on the docs’.


The excellent news for us is that 95% of the 2,434 ticked the boxes indicating they were very satisfied or satisfied with NZIFF in 2017. A mere 0.68% opted for the box

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Another Successful NZIFF in Auckland
Photo credit: Veronica McLaughlin

We bade farewell to NZIFF 2017 in Auckland with the final Extra Days screening of Beatriz at Dinner at the Academy Cinema. As we continue to screen in other parts of the country we’re buoyed by the enthusiasm generated in Auckland.

This year audiences flocked to see Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled alongside other Cannes heavy-hitters The Square and Happy End. The Finnish refugee dramedy The Other Side of Hope was another hit.

Gaylene Preston’s My Year With Helen proved one of the most popular documentaries at NZIFF this year alongside stories about the Voyager space mission (The Farthest), American writer James Baldwin (I Am Not Your Negro), and the cats in Istanbul (Kedi).

NZIFF in Auckland saw 105,226 admissions, a mere 220 admissions shy of the record attendance in 2015. 171 features, documentaries and short film compilations screened at the Civic Theatre, and new venues the ASB Waterfront Theatre, Hollywood Theatre and four other venues across Auckland CBD, Newmarket, Westgate and Manukau.

Mark your calendars, the 2018 dates for NZIFF in Auckland are confirmed for 19 July to 5 August.

As we begin the task of debriefing on the year that was we welcome your feedback. Please email us at

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A Tribute to Sheila Natusch
Sheila Natusch on her honeymoon in 1950

We’re saddened to hear that Sheila Natusch has passed away, Thursday 10 August aged 91. Our hearts are warmed knowing that Sheila was able to view the film about her life, No Ordinary Sheila, with a packed auditorium in the 100 year old Paramount cinema in Wellington on Tuesday afternoon.

Our thoughts are with Hugh Macdonald, Sheila’s cousin and director of No Ordinary Sheila, Christine Dann the producer, and Sheila’s family and friends.

Hugh’s lovingly-made film tells the story of her life; a radiant, defiant and unconventional life story. What a lady. Rest in peace dear Sheila.

From the NZIFF Team 

Animation NOW! 2017 Winner Announced

The Jury Award for best in the Animation NOW! programme has been awarded to Child. Child is a German animated short directed by Viktor Stickel, Iring Freytag, and Linus Stette, and screened in the Animation NOW! Black and White programme at NZIFF 2017. The $5,000 cash prize is sponsored by Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design.

The Jury citation is as follows:

“It was a really tough decision, there was something we really liked about all of them and absolutely loved many qualities within our final short list grouping. Child is beautifully animated with exquisite sound design that unfurls a simple, yet poetic, story. What just pushed Child forward an inch ahead of the others is its cohesion – the animation style, sound, and story are all perfectly integrated; it is hard to imagine any variation being able to be made to any part of this work.”

Douglas Easterly, Head of School for Victoria’s School of Design, announced the winner at the Animation NOW! The Finalists screening on Sunday evening.

Animation NOW! is programmed by NZIFF programmer Malcolm Turner and is a showcase of the best in international animation. The programmes of short films screen in the week ahead of

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New Zealand’s Best 2017 Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the sixth annual New Zealand’s Best 2017 short film competition. The winning shorts were announced on stage at the Civic Theatre in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Madman Entertainment Jury Prize for the Best New Zealand Short Film at NZIFF 2017 was awarded to Waiting, directed by Amberley Jo Aumua. The jury noted in their citation that they were particularly impressed with the screenplay which contributed to the film’s success and that the filmmakers had created a story with lasting impact despite having very few resources. Director Amberley Jo Aumua receives a cash prize of $5,000.

The Jury citation follows:

“In a field brimming with imagination and craft, just about any of the NZ’s Best finalists would have made worthy winners. For us, however, Waiting shone through thanks to an engaging story, raw emotional force and ineffable charm that will linger long in the memory. Samuel Kamu’s powerful screenplay and Amberley Jo Aumua’s assured direction mark them out as prodigious emerging talents. We can’t wait to see what they create next.”

The Wallace Friends of the Civic Award was awarded to Thicket. The finalists for this award were assessed by Sir James Wallace and Associate

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