Who We Are

Our Patron

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is presented by
The New Zealand Film Festival Trust under the distinguished patronage of
Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, Governor-General of New Zealand

The New Zealand Film Festival Trust (NZFFT) is a national organisation, a charitable trust set up in 1996 by the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies Inc. to oversee the annual Auckland and Wellington Film Festivals along with the associated festivals around New Zealand. 

The Trust is governed by the board of trustees, one of which is appointed every year by the elected management committee of the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies.

Catherine Fitzgerald - Chair

Catherine Fitzgerald ONZM has produced a slate of award winning feature and short films (The Orator was nominated by New Zealand for Foreign Language Oscar 2012), which have screened in film festivals worldwide including Berlin, Venice, Cannes, and Sundance, and has contributed creatively to the production of many more. She is a Member of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy, and received South Pacific Pictures Award For Achievement In Film (2014) and SPADA NZ Independent Producer Of The Year Award (2011), among other prizes and honours.

Chris Hormann

Chris Hormann joined the committee of the Wellington Film Society in 2007, was elected Vice-President in 2010 and then President in 2014, a role he held until stepping down in 2019. Chris joined the NZ Federation of Film Societies Management Committee in 2014 (representing Wellington) and was most recently elected President of the Federation in 2020. Chris has had a long interest in cinema, the genesis of which came from attending his first Film Festival in Auckland in 1989. Chris is currently Treasury and Compliance Manager with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment.

Tearepa Kahi

Christchurch/Pukekohe raised film-maker Tearepa Kahi attended Burnside High School, then spent two years in Jim Moriarty’s Māori Theatre Company, performing in high schools, prisons and Marae. He graduated from the University of Auckland with a BA in History whilst continuing to pursue his love of story telling, acting in The Māori Merchant of Venice and directing award winning short films and documentaries. His debut feature film was the 2013 box office hit, Mt. Zion

Robin Laing

Robin Laing is one of New Zealand’s most experienced film producers. She has worked with a number of directors including Gaylene Preston, Christine Jeffs and Niki Caro. She is founding President of WIFT in New Zealand and founding Chair of The New Zealand Film and Television School. In 1993 she was awarded an MBE for services to New Zealand film and in 2008 received a WIFT Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Film Industry.

Andrew Langridge

Dr Andrew Langridge has been involved with the New Zealand International Film Festival for more than 25 years, initially as a member of the Management Committee and President of the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies and, from 1996, as a founding member of the New Zealand Film Festival Trust.  He has Ph.D in English from Auckland University and for seven years served as Senior Concept Developer at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.  He is currently Managing Director of a number of Auckland companies.

Toby Manhire

Toby Manhire is an award-winning journalist and editor, and editor-at-large at The Spinoff. He has contributed to a range of New Zealand titles including The Listener, RNZ and The New Zealand Herald and spent a decade working at The Guardian in London. Toby's involvement with the New Zealand International Film Festival began in the mid-90s when he wrote a history of censorship and the festival for a university honours paper.

Sharon Menzies

Sharon Menzies' (Te Aitanga-a-Mahāki), CMInstD, governance experience spans more than 15 years and includes chair roles, board and advisory positions at a national level in New Zealand and Australia. Sharon is currently the Chair of Film Bay of Plenty and was the Co-President of the New Zealand Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA). During this time Sharon led the development of the film policy vision and strategic direction towards a robust and sustainable New Zealand screen production industry. Sharon is a past President of Women In Film and Television (WIFT NZ). In addition, Sharon’s extensive professional experience as Managing Director of Fulcrum Media Finance, a market leading cashflow financier for film and television in Australia and New Zealand, has allowed her to establish a balanced and fair approach to governance with an emphasis on profitable outcomes through performance of people and processes. In 2020 Sharon was awarded the WIFT Imagezone Entrepreneurship Award and in 2016 Fulcrum was Awarded the Services and Facilities Business of the Year in 2016 by Screen Producers Australia. 

Kaine Thompson

Ngāti Hauā, Tainui 

Kaine Thompson is a consultant working in international trade regulation, public and government relations, local government and the arts.  He is a Trustee of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Board, the Wellington Theatre Awards Trust, the Embassy Theatre Trust and Kia Puāwai/Youth Horizons which is a national organisation established to improve the lives of tamariki, rangatahi and whānau across Aotearoa. He's worked with Stanford University's Global Projects Centre focussing on urban development as part of the global smart cities initiative and was an expert advisory panellist for the United Nations D­­evelopment Programme's Parliamentary Democracy initiative supporting the development of democratic practice in emerging democracies. In his early life, Kaine featured in a number of locally produced films and television series' and has long since maintained an active interest in arts administration. 

Our Team

NZFFT head office is in Wellington and is complemented by an Auckland office. Meet our New Zealand based team:

Paolo Bertolin - Artistic Director 2024

Paolo Bertolin is a film programmer, writer and producer. He is a member of the selection
committee of Venice International Film Festival. He has worked for several international film festivals and institutions, including Cannes' Directors' Fortnight, Locarno Open Doors, IFFRotterdam, Doha Film Institute, Mumbai Film Festival, Beijing Film Festival, Cannes’ Semaine de la critique, Udine Far East Film Festival and Nyon Visions du réel.

As a film critic and journalist, he has written articles for Italian and international publications, including Rivista del cinematografo, Cineforum, Segnocinema, Il manifesto, The Korea Times, Cahiers du cinéma, Positif and Senses of Cinema.

Paolo has production credits on Berlinale Competition entries Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories by Phan Dang Di and A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery by Lav Diaz.

He is a member of the European Film Academy and of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards Academy.

Sally Woodfield - General Manager

Raised in the Waikato countryside, Sally has been involved in the arts and events industry since childhood. She has a background as a journalist and has worked in communications and marketing for more than 20 years specialising in the arts, performance and events sector, and also taken on a number of producing roles.

Sally joined the NZIFF team of contractors as Auckland Publicist for the 2018 and 2019 festivals and in April 2020 she joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust full time as Communications and Marketing Manager based in Auckland. She has since been appointed as General Manager. Sally is an enthusiastic trail runner and has completed four ultramarathons.

Michael McDonnell - Head of Programming

Michael was born in Christchurch and attended Cashmere High School. In 1999 he graduated from the University of Canterbury with a BA (Hons) majoring in History. In 2001 he joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust as an assistant programmer. As a programmer he assists the NZIFF director with film selection and scheduling as well as overseeing the film submission process. In the down time between festivals Michael also works as a programmer-administrator for the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies.

Matt Bloomfield - Production and Events Coordinator

Born in Liverpool, England before being whisked off to Rotorua at the tender age of 11, Matt studied film at Victoria University of Wellington and volunteered at NZIFF during his student days. Since then, Matt has worked at both the New Zealand International Fringe Festival and the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, in between stints living in Spain, Portugal and the UK.

Matt has been a frequent contributor to the travel publication Global Hobo, as well as producing theatre productions as part of the NZ Fringe.

Safia van der Zwan - Head of Marketing and Communications

Safia van der Zwan has extensive experience working in arts and entertainment publicity and marketing across film, TV, and the performing arts in NZ, the UK and Australia. She returned to Auckland in 2021 after living in Sydney for six years where she worked for public service broadcaster, the ABC, promoting premium TV and podcast content. There she worked on prestigious and influential programmes, including Four Corners, Stateless, Mystery Road and FREEMAN.

Prior to moving to the UK, Safia worked for Rialto Distribution, South Pacific Pictures, Silo Theatre and Auckland Art Gallery. She has a Masters in Art History and a Post Graduate Diploma in Communications. Safia enjoys going to the theatre, wandering art galleries, sneaking off to catch a film by herself and reading at the beach.

Safia was National Publicist for NZIFF 2021 and joined the team as a permanent staff member in April 2022.

Leo Koziol - Ngā Whanaunga Programmer

Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka) is founder and director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. It is the longest-running indigenous film festival of New Zealand and will be taking place in a traditional marae (Maori assembly house) for the 15th time this year. Leo Koziol worked as cultural advisor in the Ministry of Maori Development and curates short films for the New Zealand International Film Festival (Ngā Whanaunga Maori Pasifika programme). He also curates for various film festivals in Canada, Italy, Polynesia, the United States and Australia. Leo is curator of the annual CineMarae art exhibition at the Wallace Arts Centre, Auckland. He is the subject of short film "Native in Nuhaka" by award winning film maker Hiona Henare. Leo is a member of the Anishnaabe Bawaadan Artists Collective based in Ontario, Canada. In 2019, he was presented with the Te Aupounamu Māori in Screen Excellence Award. In 2020, he was a guest film expert in the visitor programme of the Goethe Institute at the Berlinale film festival.

Craig Fasi - Ngā Whanaunga Programmer

Director of 'Pollywood Pasifika Film' - Craig Fasi acknowledges 18 years of producing a festival of Pasifika focused film for annual exhibition to NZ and the world. Equipped with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from MIT, determination and passion, Mr Fasi, of Niue decent, boasts 20 years of experience working with Pasifika people in the Film/multi-media art arena. Mr Fasi is an independent with no restrictions in terms of dedication to normalizing Pasifika People working in Film & Multi-media art. “Pasifika content is underestimated – realizing the content into production for screen is key” says Mr Fasi. Working with Council, Education, Government, Corporate & Private organizations continues to sustain and validate the work Mr Fasi contributes to the creative landscape.