You said it: NZIFF’s Annual Survey Recap

You said it: NZIFF’s Annual Survey Recap
Audience at NZIFF 2022 Opening Night Gala at Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch, photo: The Heather & Doug Records

Following NZIFF 2022, we put our big festival pants on and asked you a big question: Do you like us? And if so, how much? And if not, why not? Almost 1000 of you took the time to complete our 2022 survey – THANK YOU! Your feedback is invaluable to us for planning future festivals and we’re grateful to receive it – the good, the bad and the ugly (fortunately for us, there was not so much ugly!).

You said it: Satisfaction

Over 88% of you were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with NZIFF 2022, with only 0.82% of respondents ‘very dissatisfied’ with the festival. It ain’t a perfect score, but we think that’s VERY encouraging, especially following two consecutive years of festivals severely impacted by the Covid pandemic.

A+ incredible event

There was such a buzz at every screening!

Brilliant. Highlight of my year. This year the festival felt even more special.”

I LOVE the FF! It's the one main thing I look forward to every year…I always have interesting experiences and learn something. It's well organised and I've learnt that it's pretty consistent from year to year.”

You said it: Our programme

There was much love for our 2022 programme (tip of the hat to our Head of Programming Michael McDonnell and Senior Programmer Sandra Reid).

 “I attended 37 films - 16 in Wellington, 21 in Masterton. As almost all the films are unknown to me, attendance at a Film Festival is a step of faith in the judgment of the curator - this year has been very rewarding.”

Always enjoy the mix of films presented - is a lovely window into other cultures and highlight of the New Zealand winter!

We were heartened by your support for our Aotearoa programme:

I loved having the opportunity to watch the stories that make our country who it is.

The two NZ films I watched were great examples of diversity and equity. I went because I wanted to support indigenous film makers

And your enthusiasm for Muru, our opening night film in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin

I was fortunate to be at the premiere of Muru, a powerful and moving experience.

At the other end of the spectrum, one of our slightly more ‘challenging’ films (which shall remain nameless) was described by one attendee as “objectionable… awful painful watching… and absolutely gruesome”. Can’t win ‘em all!

And it seems there is just no satiating some cinephiles, with one of you suggesting that we should programme even “more festival winners”. Palme d’Or-winning Triangle of Sadness, joint-Grand Prix winners Close and Stars at Noon, Park Chan Wook’s Decision to Leave and Tarik Saleh’s Boy from Heaven weren’t enough?! I guess we Cannes always do better… (we’ll see ourselves out).

There were certain elements of festival programmes past that you missed…

PLEASE bring back Live Cinema with the APO! It's nearly always the highlight of the festival.”

Watch this space…

Missed not having any retro films - one of my favourite aspects of the NZIFF is to have a few vintage film screenings.

We hear you!

More emotionally affecting and powerful horror/thriller films like Speak No Evil. Unforgettable.

You bet that we’ll continue to seek out films that push the boundaries and leave a lasting impression.

As for the size of the programme, you were split when it came to 2022’s reduced offering of 70 feature films and four film collections. While some found the scaled-back programme “more manageable to choose films from”, many of you expressed that you’d “prefer to have more choice over a longer time”. And you “felt like there was less time to enjoy and digest the films we wanted to see”.

The good news is that we are working hard to return NZIFF to its pre-pandemic scale and NZIFF 2023 will see us return to a larger programme of films that will play for a longer duration.

You said it: Return to theatres

Like us, you guys were PUMPED to be back in the cinema (special mention to our Tāmaki Makaurau and Kirikiriroa venues and audiences – reunited and it felt so good!). You enjoyed the community spirit and sense of occasion the in-cinema experience offers.

The community vibes in the screenings were awesome! A good reminder of how the audience around you in the cinema can be half the experience.

The kaupapa of the festival is great. It gives a platform for people to be able to share their mahi and stories to a wide audience. It felt really special to be able to attend an event in a beautiful theatre and this 100% added to our experience.

…it was so neat to be back and the vibrancy not only from the attendees but the staff as well, made the evening really enjoyable

Very happy to have the festival back – met friends I hadn't seen all year, great atmosphere in the venues.”

You said it: Venues

Which brings us to our venues. After two years of not being able to enjoy NZIFF at Auckland’s The Civic, it was an absolute privilege to welcome you back to screenings under the iconic venue’s starry sky ceiling and you swooned as much as us, with one punter dubbing the theatre as “the best venue in the country to see movies”.

It was wonderful to be back at The Civic watching films again - the NZIFF is a real bright spot during the long, dark winter.”

So glad to see Auckland city bustling again

In Te Whanganui-a-Tara, there was an overwhelming amount of positive feedback regarding our three venues, with one punter spending “a day at the Embassy, a day at the Roxy and a day at the Lighthouse”, feeling “as though I was on holiday in Wellington, even though I live here!” – you, my friend, know how to live.

However, Wellingtonians were less impressed by the daytime closure of the candy bar at the Embassy, with one punter explaining that this detracted from “the full social experience”, with another adding that “ice creams and a wine are part of film going”. There are few in the NZIFF office who’d argue with you there.

2022’s Taranaki venue was well received: “Loved that they were screened at the Len Lye Centre - a perfect new home for Whānau Mārama.”

But our friends in Otago missed NZIFF’s presence at Dunedin’s The Regent.

Only drawback for me was no films at Regent in Dunedin

I love Rialto and go there often, but if does not have the same atmosphere or sense of ceremony.

What else you said:


You were (not so quietly) furious with those who enter the cinema not so quietly after the lights went down (justifiably so). One of you suggested that “It would be great if you could ban them". While we won’t go to this extreme length, we’ll continue to work with venue staff on minimising disruptions at NZIFF screenings.

Speeches before films

Read the room when it comes to speeches” was the polite advice from one respondent regarding speeches at NZIFF premieres. Another not-so-polite respondent noted that pre-screening speeches were “self-indulgent, dull and inconsiderate”. Ouch!

From the suggestion box

I would appreciate cinematographer listing on all films in the booklet.” One hawk-eyed respondent obviously noticed that we missed the cinematography credit for Kāinga in this year’s print programme – our sincere apologies to DP Drew Sturge for this oversight.

See you in 2023

We asked you if you plan on attending NZIFF 2023 and 91.4% (!!) of you stated that you intend to return to the festival next year. This is a massive increase of almost 20% on 2021 survey results and indicates strong confidence in NZIFF. Talk about certified fresh!

Thank you again to those of you who took the time to send in your feedback. Your passion for NZIFF and shared desire for the festival to be the best it can be inspires us as we plan for the years ahead. It was a pleasure to present NZIFF 2022 and we look forward to updating you on all things NZIFF 2023 soon!

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