Festival FAQ

When does NZIFF announce the programme?

Printed programmes and full website programme information will be available three weeks prior to NZIFF opening. We do reveal information about some confirmed films ahead of the full announcement. You will find this on the website under your region. Advance confirmations will be provided directly to My Festival subscribers, fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter.

Please refer to our At Home — Online FAQ for special details regarding the 2020 programme.

How can I submit a film?

We accept submissions from all over the world. Submission deadlines differ for New Zealand/Australia/Pacific Islands and international applicants. For information on rules and regulations, please visit the Submit a Film page. Queries can also be submitted to our Programme Manager Michael McDonnell.

When is the deadline for film entries?

Please visit the Submit a Film page for more information. Submission deadlines differ for New Zealand/Australia/Pacific Islands and international applicants.

Is there any fee to enter a film?

There is no fee for submission to NZIFF.

Is NZIFF a competitive festival?

NZIFF does not currently host a competitive category for feature length films. We do however host a short film competition for New Zealand’s Best short films each year, sponsored by Madman Entertainment. A cash prize of $5,000 is awarded each year to New Zealand’s Best short film. The selected short films in competition are also eligible for the Auckland Live Spirit of The Civic Award ($4,000 in 2019), Creative New Zealand Emerging Talant Award ($4,000 in 2019) and an Audience Award voted by audiences in Auckland and Wellington and funded by 25% of the box office income from the NZ’s Best screenings in the four main centres. Prizes for 2020 TBC.

How can I volunteer at NZIFF when it comes to my town/city?

NZIFF is incredibly dependant on the interest and passion of volunteers to usher our screenings and assist with office tasks in Auckland and Wellington. In the other towns and cities volunteer support is handled by the venues directly.

All available volunteer roles are being announced on our website’s Work With Us page from March until mid-June or until our rosters are full. In May Festival Managers in Auckland and Wellington also contact volunteer ushers from previous years to see if they might be interested and available to volunteer again. If you’d like to express your interest in volunteering with us outside of this period, please fill in this form.

Why doesn’t NZIFF offer a majorly discounted pass to its most avid patrons?

We do offer passes that can be used to purchase discounted tickets, but we cannot offer any form of automatic entry pass. We pay the makers, the sales agents, producers or distributors of the films we are playing an agreed share of the box office. This requires a strict accounting for the exact income pertaining to each session.

Festivals operating pass systems may offer large fixed rentals or other, even more expensive incentives to sales agents, producers or distributors to make their films available. Our funding, which is derived largely (more than 90%) from ticket sales does not make this possible. There are no tax-subsidised Film Festival tickets in New Zealand! We are able to run an extremely expensive festival here thanks to a measure of sponsorship, and an audience prepared to pay normal movie admission prices for what we hope will be a better than normal movie experience.

Why are some films screened at the Auckland and Wellington legs of NZIFF, but not at any other location?

See above. Fortunately online availability and niche cinemas in the smaller centres can fill the gaps, picking up films that have become available for release in New Zealand as a result of their popularity at the Auckland and Wellington screenings. Discerning audiences throughout the country benefit from the work of NZIFF and the support of Auckland and Wellington audiences who have met the substantial establishing costs of so many of the films that we import in the first place. If you succeed in having some of the films you're missing in your local NZIFF screened locally in the year that follows, then we'll be as pleased about that as you are.

Why aren’t there extra screenings of some sold-out films?

Often the screening agreements stipulate the number of screenings that the films can have at NZIFF. Most entrants hope that the NZIFF screenings will prove the first of many screenings for their film in New Zealand. They are often nervous that potential local distributors or exhibitors will resist taking up films that have already had multiple NZIFF screenings.

Why can't I access the film on DVD or online immediately after NZIFF screenings?

Films are often early in their international life when secured for NZIFF. We screen films straight out of Cannes, world premieres of NZ films, and NZ premieres of very recent films. These films may go on to have further festival and theatrical runs in different countries and sales arrangements often prohibit them from online or Home Entertainment release until these theatrical runs have run their course. 

Why doesn't the festival run for longer?

Any festival is necessarily limited in duration. Availability of and access to venues means the duration of our season differs from one region to another. We are grateful to the venues that welcome us for two plus weeks each year, in some cases during prime School Holiday blockbuster periods. In terms of the daily screening schedules we programme to capacity while also considering timetables that suit our audience and venue staff in each region. Sessions often start first thing in the morning and are scheduled throughout the day and late into the night with only 30 minutes between sessions to clear cinemas. 

Auckland Venues

The Bridgeway Cinemas and The Lido

We said farewell to our satellite venues in Epsom and Northcote Point in 2014. Leaving two of Auckland’s favourite arthouse locations was a painful decision, but sadly we cannot sustain the cost of running some of our most popular films in multiple venues. Centralised screenings of our complete programme help secure our continuing selection of films, great and small, from around the world. We thank staff and management of both cinemas for their enthusiasm and support over the years, and apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment to their loyal patrons and our own.

In 2019 funding from ATEED enabled us to take a selection of NZIFF titles to outlying cinemas in the West of Auckland.

Lost Property

Lost property during NZIFF? Our volunteers or venue staff clear the cinema after each NZIFF screening. In Auckland and all other NZIFF centres (except Wellington) the found items are held at the venue for collection and discarded or donated at the end of NZIFF season. Please make your enquiries directly to the venues. During NZIFF in Wellington we hold lost items at the venue until the conclusion of the NZIFF season. Items are then moved to NZIFF head office and kept for 30 days before being discarded or donated. To make an enquiry call 04 365 0162 or e-mail festival@nziff.co.nz.