Who We Are

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, two of which are 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.

Adrienne Bonell

Adrienne Bonell, FCIM, has twenty years’ experience in media and entertainment from a sales and marketing background. Adrienne worked in the music and film industries in the UK for over a decade and since moving to New Zealand in 2008 has focused on the leisure and hospitality sectors at SKYCITY Group, Eden Park Stadium Trust and Auckland Racing Club. She brings expertise in sponsorship, commercial markets and customer experience. Adrienne is a longstanding NZIFF advocate and a passionate supporter of the Creative Arts.

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.

Chris Watson

Chris Watson comes from a background in education, as a Senior Lecturer in Educational Media and Technology at North Shore Teachers’ College and later in Film Studies and Film History at Massey University Palmerston North. He has been involved with New Zealand Film Festival for over 35 years, being a President and Secretary for Palmerston North Film Society (1980-2000), President of the Federation of Film Societies (several terms), and serving as a President or Secretary for Nelson Film Society (from 2001) and actively promoting NZIFF in Nelson.

James Every-Palmer

Dunedin born, James studied law and economics at the University of Otago.  He studied and worked overseas before settling in Wellington where he practises as a barrister. James’ relationship with NZIFF began in the early 2000s while he was a partner at Russell McVeagh (sponsor of the Wellington Gala), where he did pro bono work for NZIFF.

Louise Baker

As Head of Operations at Camperdown Studios Ltd, Louise brings over 35 years of experience in the creative industry, and an operational knowledge of film production to the table. During the last decade, as Head of Corporate Services at Park Road Post Production, Louise has built on her previous roles as Acting CEO of Film NZ and the Group Business Manager of Cranbrook Films to enable teams to work on great projects.  Louise was previously a Board member of Ngā Taonga, the sound and vision archive for NZ.

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.

Tanya Surrey

Tanya Surrey is a litigation lawyer at Macalister Todd Phillips in Queenstown. She is also the current President of the NZ Federation of Film Societies. Tanya has been involved with the Federation for many years and was instrumental in the establishment of the Queenstown Film Society where she was president for seven years. Tanya has been attending film festivals for many years. Tanya greatly enjoys her role as an NZIFF trustee.

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. His new feature film will be released in 2016, entitled POI E: The story behind our song.   

Staff

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

Bill Gosden - Director

Bill Gosden MNZM became the administrator of the New Zealand Federation of Film Societies and the Wellington Film Festival in 1979 and was appointed the Federation's Programme Director in 1980. He was designated director of the Auckland International and Wellington Film Festivals after overseeing their amalgamation in 1984. In subsequent years he has overseen the expansion of NZIFF into a national event. He has worked as a programme adviser to the International Film Festival Rotterdam and curated programmes of New Zealand film in Australia and Brazil.

Sharon Byrne - General Manager

Sharon Byrne graduated from the University of Auckland with a BA majoring in Psychology. She joined the New Zealand International Film Festival in 1998 as the Assistant Director and was appointed as the General Manager in 2006. Previously she worked in independent film exhibition and arthouse film distribution. 

Rebecca McMillan - Communications Manager

Rebecca joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust in 2009 as Publicist, based in Wellington. During that time she has taken great pride in working with NZ filmmakers to promote and premiere their work at NZIFF. Rebecca now manages the Communications team across Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. 

She has a background in corporate marketing, and publicity for not-for-profit organisations, and has a Bachelor of Arts (Media Studies)/Business Studies (Marketing) from Massey University. Outside of NZIFF, Rebecca is a freelance photographer and publicist, and has been a volunteer committee member of the Wellington Film Society for over ten years, which has included two years in a Vice-President role. 

Michael McDonnell - Assistant Programmer

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 NZIFF director Bill Gosden 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.

Sandra Reid - Programmer

Sandra joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust in 1994 to handle publicity and outreach. Her role developed into a programmer position in 1995. In the late 1990s, she returned to Paris, previously her home for ten years, and a base from which she scouts for films and represents NZIFF at major European film festivals (Cannes, Berlinale, London, IDFA). When not immersed in her programming work for the festival, she is a freelance translator.   

Lisa Bomash - Assistant to General Manager

Lisa moved to New Zealand from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She graduated from the State Theatre Art Academy in 2009 with a degree in performing art management and worked in theatre administration, event management and on various art projects since then. Lisa joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust in 2015 as an assistant to general manager, Sharon Byrne. In this capacity, she is assisting Sharon with running the shop as well as overseeing the censorship process for the films on the festival programme.