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.

Kaine Thompson - Chair

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. 

Sharon Menzies - Deputy Chair

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. 

Catherine Fitzgerald

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.

Our Team

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

Sally Woodfield - Executive Director | Tumu Whakarae

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 taking 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 been the organisation’s General Manager since August 2021 and has since been appointed as Executive Director. Sally is an enthusiastic trail runner and has completed four ultramarathons.

Paolo Bertolin - Artistic Director 2024 | Ringatohu Toi o Whānau Mārama

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.

Michael McDonnell - Head of Programming | Upoko o te Rauhī Hōtaka

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 artistic 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.

Leo Koziol - Ngā Whanaunga Programmer | Kaitohutohu Hōtaka Nga Whanaunga

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 | Kaitohutohu Hōtaka Nga Whanaunga

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.

Matt Bloomfield - Production and Events Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Whakaputanga, Kaupapa Hoki

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.

Kristen Dowsett – Finance and HR Manager | Pouwhakahaere Tahua Pūtea me te Pūmanawa Tangata

Kristen has a background in construction in interior design running her own company for 13 years until she sold it in 2017. Since then, she has worked in Finance Management and Human Resources in Wellington specialising in process analysis and performance management. Following her enduring passion for film she joined the NZFFT in 2023 and has greatly enjoyed being back in a creative environment.

Carla Kingham – Marketing and Communications Manager | Pouwhakahaere Whakatairanga me te Whakapā

Carla has extensive experience working in arts marketing and audience development across the culture sector, working at strategic level for Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations in the UK. She holds an MSt in English and Creative Writing, is a graduate of the Clore leadership Programme, and is an accredited Relational Dynamics coach. Prior to working in marketing and communications, Carla was a freelance theatre director and producer working in England, Scotland and Sweden.

When not watching films or at the theatre, Carla can typically be found exploring mountains or supporting her beloved football team. She arrived in Pōneke Wellington in February 2024 and is delighted to join the NZIFF Festival Team for this year's festival.

Luke Eisemann - Operations Manager | Pouwhakahaere Mahi

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Luke has been with the festival since 2021. While not at NZIFF he works with the NZ Fringe Festival and makes theatre independently. He is quite unsure why a New Zealand film festival keeps hiring an American theatremaker, but will happily continue to make sure everybody gets their tickets in a timely manner until they think better of it.

Margaux Thivin - Film Logistics Manager | Pouwhakahaere Kiriata

Raised in the Southwest of France, Margaux is passionate about cinema, theatre, and musicals since her childhood. She's been involved in theatre since the age of six and went to the Acting Studio Drama School in Lyon. She holds a master’s degree in Cinema Studies from Montaigne University in Bordeaux, then worked in the cinema’s birthplace, the Lumiere Institute in Lyon, and in the film festival industry for the last seven years.

She was employed by several institutions including Lumiere Festival, War On Screen Festival, Mountains On Stage and FIFIBordeaux, experimenting with different responsibilities.

Travelling and hiking around New Zealand for the last months, Margaux is now settling in Wellington for this year’s NZIFF and she is thrilled to be part of the team.

Naomi Khaldi - Production Assistant | Kaiāwhina Whakaputanga

Naomi worked on the production team for the regional news channel RTV in Belgium for the past two years. Prior to that she worked on the production of The Summer of Antwerp, a theatre festival in her hometown. Naomi recently swapped waffles for Kiwis and moved to Wellington at the end of 2023. In her free time she loves playing board games and going for a run.

Louise Adams - Publications & Content Editor | Ringa Takatā Tānga

Louise is an editor and designer, specialising in print publications. She attended the University of Auckland, where she studied English Literature, Art History, and Film, obtaining a BA in 2010. She later attended Media Design School and graduated in 2014 with a Diploma in Digital Creativity. Since then, she has worked in the print media industry, producing newspapers and magazines.

A passionate supporter of the arts in Aotearoa, she is absolutely thrilled to be part of the cultural institution that is Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival.

When she's not ticking movies off her frighteningly long watchlist, she's swimming in the ocean or catching local bands at beloved Tāmaki Makaurau establishments Wine Cellar and Whammy.

Siobhan Waterhouse - National Publicist | Tumu Tā Kōrero ā-motu

For over two decades, Siobhan has worked in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia as a freelance arts publicist, for some of the country’s leading organisations and events. Along with NZIFF, she currently works with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, World of WearableArt, and Auckland Arts Festival, among many others. Prior to working in the arts, Siobhan worked in corporate and agency PR.

Amanda Jane Robinson - Marketing and Audience Development Lead | Ārahi Whakatairanga – Tāmaki Makaurau

Amanda Jane Robinson is a filmmaker based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She has produced numerous short films and music videos and is currently developing several short and feature projects with the New Zealand Film Commission.

Amanda has worked in marketing and publicity within the book publishing industry and has held positions at various screen sector organisations. In 2020 she founded Vetiver Pictures specialising in film production, artist collaborations, and cinema programming – she currently co-programmes the monthly Capitol Cinema Film Club.  

Huia Haupapa - Marketing Lead – Wellington | Ārahi Whakatairanga – Te Whanganui-a-Tara

Huia (Ngāti Mutunga, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Toa) began at NZIFF in 2023 as the Online Content Coordinator after working at the casting platform, StarNow, and earning a major in Film at Victoria University of Wellington.

After six months of working as the Marketing Coordinator at Creative Capital Arts Trust (NZ Fringe and CubaDupa), Huia is back at NZIFF for 2024 as the Marketing Lead – Wellington.

Outside of work, Huia is an avid lover of music, studying piano growing up and now playing session keyboard and doing backing vocals for the artist Eli Superflyy.

Jared McOnie - Marketing Lead – Layout and Design | Ārahi Whakatairanga – Takotoranga me te Hoaho

Originally from rural Waikato, Jared moved down south to Te Whanganui-a-Tara in 2018 to continue his creative studies. Primarily working as a freelance graphic designer, he also has a background in web design, photography, film and video editing.

His introduction to festival-work began at Creative Capital Arts Trust in 2022, where he was the Designer working in-house across both CubaDupa and NZ Fringe Festival. Jared returned the following year, where he would also take on an additional contract overseeing the innovative collaboration between CubaDupa and PickPath as Project Coordinator.

When he's not busy with client projects or festival work, Jared is almost always designing and creating, usually making up posters for his Instagram page, or filming and editing YouTube videos for his design channel. Otherwise, he is likely seen gaming (PS5 and PC, and very rarely the Switch), watching TV and movies (loves a good horror/thriller!) or hanging out with his rescue cat, Whisky.

George Wilson - Toi Māori Intern & Marketing Assistant | Kaiāwhina Whakatairanga

George (Ngāti Porou (Iritekura) / Ngāti Pākehā) is our Māori Arts Intern for 2024 from Toi Māori Aotearoa. The MAI Programme is designed to create opportunities for emerging Māori artists who aspire to build a career in the arts.

George has always been passionate about the creative arts and storytelling. He comes from a performing arts background and has been incorporating Te Ao Māori in his performances since he was young, further fueling his interest in Māori Arts.

George recently graduated from Massey University in Te-Whanganui-A-Tara with a Bachelor of Communications in Expressive Arts. He was selected for a performing arts and language program in Bogota, Colombia, where he gained valuable experience. During his studies, George also completed an internship at BATS Theatre, where he assisted the social media and marketing team.

Naomi Clarke - Administration Assistant and Guest Coordinator | Kaiāwhina Whakahaerenga Kaiwhakarite Manuwhiri

Naomi has moved to New Zealand from her adopted home in Glasgow, Scotland where she was overseeing a grassroots arts education charity, The Sound Lab. From her experiences volunteering and working there since 2016, she became passionate about fostering inclusive opportunities for under-represented people to engage in creativity, and strongly believes the arts should be accessible to all.

After a brief stint exploring the North Island, Naomi began working as the Office and Events Coordinator for Tāwhiri, the team behind the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, and is delighted to be staying in the buzzing cultural hub of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, where she enjoys soaking up the live music scene and eating at many of the city's BYOs.