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 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.

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.

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.

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

Team

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

Marten Rabarts - Festival Director — Kaiwhakatere

Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi
(he/him/his)

Marten Rabarts was appointed Festival Director - Kaiwhakatere in 2019 following almost 5 years heading EYE International at the EYE - the film museum of the Netherlands. Prior to this, Marten was Head of Development & Training of the National Film Development Corporation of India, in Mumbai.

Previously, Marten was Artistic Director of Binger Filmlab in Amsterdam for 12 years which saw such successes as Michael Roskam’s Bullhead, cult hit The Babadook by Jennifer Kent, Cannes winning Salvo by Fabio Grassadonia & Antonio Piazza and also Dustin Feneley’s NZ festival hit Stray.

Marten began his working life as an actor and a dancer, after which he worked among others in London at PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and Working Title.

Furthermore, Marten was a founding member of the advisory board of Torino Film Lab, is a voting member of the European Film Academy, served on the board of European Film Promotion and regularly serves on festival juries including the Berlinale (Short Film Jury, Generation 14plus, Teddy Awards) and Skip City Tokyo.

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 two 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.

Sandra Reid - Senior 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.   

Caroline Palmer - Operations & Venues Manager

Graduating Victoria University with a BA majoring in Political Science, Caroline fell into the film world by accident. What started as a part time gig ushering in one of Wellington’s arthouse cinemas during university turned into a fulltime cinema management role and lifetime love of ticketing software (and lifetime aversion to popcorn). Caroline joined the NZIFF family of contractors in 2016 in the role of Wellington Festival Manager, which she returned to in both 2017 and 2018. In 2019 Caroline joined the New Zealand Film Festival Trust full time, and in 2020 took on the role of Operations & Venues Manager, providing executive support for the team, and looking after our venue relationships and ticketing operations across the country.

Safia van der Zwan - National Publicist

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 has returned to Auckland 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.

Sophia Romanos - Communications and Marketing Assistant

Sophia joined the NZIFF team in 2020 as an Executive Assistant to the Festival Director, Marten Rabarts and has now shifted to the Communications and Marketing Assistant role from the Auckland office. She completed a Bachelor of Communications with a major in Television and Screen Production, through which she produced short film, Whakahokia: The Journey Home which premiered at the Wairoa Film Festival in 2021. Previously, Sophia has worked for VICE NZ as an intern and transitioned to a freelance writer alongside her studies. She was also the Editorial Assistant for AUT’s Debate magazine, and awarded second place for best humour writing for a student publication in the country at the ASPA awards. As the Communications and Marketing Assistant, Sophia provides support to the Promotions Team across brochure production, writing copy for the website, EDMs and social media, classification, and film festival management software.

Rose Jang - Wellington Administration Coordinator

(she/they/their)

Originally from Canada, Rose spent most of their life in Victoria, the traditional territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, before moving to Australia in 2017 and then Aotearoa in 2019. Rose has worked in festivals for more than a decade, including stints at the Melbourne International Film Festival (Australia) and the Victoria Film Festival (Canada), as well as in comedy, theatre, music, spoken word, and publishing.

Since moving to NZ, Rose has coordinated NZ Fringe and NZ Comedy Festival (Wellington); you may have also seen them around BATS Theatre, NZ Improv Festival, and CubaDupa. Rose now joins the NZIFF 2021 team as Administration Coordinator, providing support across the whole festival whānau.

Ant Timpson - Incredibly Strange Programmer

Since the mid '80s Ant has worked in every facet of the film industry, including programming cult films for television, creating short film programmes, exhibiting films, running drive-ins, producing television and feature films, operating devolved government film funds and mentoring many filmmakers. His distribution company has released specialist product to NZ audiences since 1993. He launched his ’The Incredibly Strange Film Festival' in 1994, which has been housed within the New Zealand International Film Festival since 2004. His annual national film competition 48HOURS with Peter Jackson as mentor began in 2003. As a filmmaker he conceived the hit anthology series The ABCs of Death series and has executive produced or produced the following films: The Devil Dared Me To, Turbo Kid, Housebound, Deathgasm, The Greasy Strangler & The Field Guide to Evil. His critically acclaimed debut feature Come to Daddy starring Elijah Wood has just been released worldwide.  He was the inaugural recipient of Art Entrepreneur of New Zealand and his 35mm print archive is the largest personal film archive in the Southern Hemisphere.

Nicola Marshall - Square Eyes Programmer

Nic is dedicated to producing and encouraging engagement opportunities for young and young-at-heart audiences—and has been sharing cross-generational films at NZIFF since 2005. The founder and executive director of Square Eyes Film Foundation, Nic champions access to on screen stories from a diverse range of voices, encouraging a lifelong appreciation of cinema through collective viewing experiences. Nic initiated, developed and produced ‘The Jim Henson Retrospectacle’, which in 2018 brought Jim’s creative worlds to Wellington for a world-first event. Nic was a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow in 2011, sits on the Board of Advisors for the New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF), and was a finalist in the New Zealand Women of Influence Awards 2018, Arts and Culture category.

Malcolm Turner - Animation NOW! Programmer

Malcolm Turner has been the NZIFF’s Animation Programmer since 1996. He is the founder and Director of the Melbourne International Animation Festival, a Co-Director of the London International Animation Festival and also programs animation for the Sydney Film Festival. Additionally, he lectures in the history of animation at Swinburne University and the Victorian College of the Arts, both in Melbourne. Turner has a particular passion for Soviet-era ‘Eastern European’ animation and is currently researching a book on that subject. It is his job to wade through the 3,000-4,000 animated submissions each year and bring together NZIFF’s annual snapshot of the international independent animation scene. We never see him in the office, we're not even sure where he lives. 

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.

Violeta Bava - Programmer, Latin American Cinema

Ms. Bava comes from a background of training and development and has worked as film consultant and production tutor for several funds, organisations and festivals worldwide.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she received a double degree in Theory, Aesthetics and History of Cinema & Drama at Buenos Aires University (UBA).

Since 2012, Violeta has been the Latin American Consultant for Venice International Film Festival. 

In 2017 she became part of the Programming team of IFF Macau and currently she is the Co-Head of the Industry at Visions du Réel and Head of Studies at FeatureLab - Torino Film Lab.

Founder of Ruda Cine, among other films, she has produced Too Late to Die Young, by Dominga Sotomayor (2018, Best Director Award at Locarno); Eduardo Williams' debut feature The Human Surge (2016), winner of Pardo d’Oro for Best Film, and Abrir puertas y ventanas (2012), by Milagros Mumenthaler, winner of Pardo d’Oro for Best Film, Pardo d’Argento for Best Actress and FIPRESCI Award at Locarno Film Festival.

Vicci Ho - Programmer, Chinese & East Asian Cinema

Vicci Ho worked as a festival curator for a variety of International film festivals, including as Director of Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Assistant Director of San Francisco Asian American Film Festival (now CAAMFest), Programming Associate for Toronto International Film Festival, and as Asian film consultant for San Francisco International Film Festival, Seattle Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival, and Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. She has sat on juries at the Berlinale, SFIFF, Outfest and Hawaii International Film Festival. After completing her Masters degree at ITP/NYU, Vicci worked in tabletop games, and is one of the creators of upcoming card game "Battle of the Boy Bands".

Bird Runningwater - Programmer, Indigenous Cinema — Worldwide

Bird Runningwater belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples, and was reared on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico.  Since 2001 he has led the Sundance Institute’s investment in Native American and Indigenous filmmakers while building a global Indigenous film community. Based in Los Angeles, California, Runningwater serves as the Director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program and also co-leads the Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion work across the organization. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and he received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.  In Time Magazine’s 2019 Optimist Issue, Runningwater was listed among “12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists”. Most recently he was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the organization behind the Oscars.

Alesia Weston - Programmer, USA Independent Cinema

Alesia Weston is a curator, programmer and creative producer. Currently the co-director of Starfish, an accelerator for Creators of Color in the US.

For a decade, she ran Sundance Institute’s International Feature Film Program where she spearheaded the labs and grants program for emerging filmmakers from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Asia. She also shepherded US writers and directors through the Sundance/NHK and Sundance/Mahindra Filmmaker Award Programs. Weston was Executive Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Jerusalem Cinematheque and National Archives where she oversaw the international film festival, grant and educational programs for artists and year-round programming.

Thereafter, Weston served as Special Advisor and Programmer for the Beirut International Film Festival. She is currently a consultant for international and US-based filmmakers and an advisor to arts programs and institutions. She is a regular mentor at labs from Toronto to New Zealand. She is a founding member of the Advisory Boards of the Torino Film Lab and Jerusalem International Film Lab. 

Anu Rangachar - Programmer, South Asian and Heritage Cinema

Anu Rangachar is an international film festival programmer, producer and acquisitions executive, based in Los Angeles (USA) and Mumbai (India). 

Anu previously worked at the Mumbai Film Festival for 12 years and forayed into producing Indian arthouse films. She is one of the co-producers of the highly acclaimed Indian arthouse feature Nasir, that had its world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2020 where it won the NETPAC Award for the Best Asian Feature. It later screened at many other international film festivals, including the American Film Institute's AFI Fest, Los Angeles and New Directors/New Films, Lincoln Center/MoMA, New York.

Anu recently launched her boutique Distribution company Gratitude Films Inc based in USA and in joint collaboration with her American distribution partners at Deaf Crocodile. With Gratitude Films Inc, Anu branches out into acquisition and distribution of contemporary world cinema titles in the North American territory, focusing on Indian and Asian arthouse films in addition to the restoration of lesser heard classics and their re-releases.