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New Zealand International Film Festival's Jam-Packed 2019 Program Is Here

Featuring winners from Cannes, New Zealand-made features and a series of world premieres, this year's NZIFF is shaping up to be a big one.
By Stephen Heard
June 24, 2019
By Stephen Heard
June 24, 2019

Over the past few months we've been teased with award winners from Cannes, cinematic oddities and homegrown features in anticipation of the New Zealand International Film Festival dropping its full lineup. Dust off your highlighters, it's finally here and there's a mighty long list of flicks to work through — a total of 144 feature-length films from 45 countries will screen over 18 days beginning on Thursday, 18 July.

NZIFF previously announced that 25 films from Cannes will screen in 2019. Eight of the films come from the Competition section of the festival including Jury Prize winners Les Misérables and Bacurau. NZIFF's 2019 Cannes selection also includes the opening night film, La Belle ÉpoqueBest Screenplay winner Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Elia Suleiman's It Must Be Heaven and Deerskin.

This year marks 25 years since the inception of the boundary-pushing Incredibly Strange festival. Incredibly Strange director Ant Timpson says this year's program seems to have an overall theme of obsession, with a focus on sex and horror. Viewers will be treated to nine films including an unexpected sci-fi horror and a documentary about a meth-addict magician on his final tour.

Two sections in the program are dedicated to achievements by women in cinema. Vive la Varda! honours the legacy of the late filmmaker, Agnès Varda, and includes Varda's last documentary, Varda by Agnès. The Women in Cinema strand features four documentaries about women in the film industry: Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché, What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael, Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound and This Changes Everything.

The Auckland leg of the festival features 13 feature-length New Zealand films, nine of which will make their world premiere. Films tackle rugby's divisive history, our budding wine industry, life on a Northland dairy farm and economic inequality. Tearepa Kahi's celebration of Pacific reggae legends Herbs, Songs of Freedom, will serve as the closing night film.

Elsewhere on the 144-strong program is the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's recreation of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog for the 20th edition of Live Cinema, plus animated short film festival Animation NOW.

The 2019 NZIFF starts in Auckland on Thursday, 18 July and runs until Sunday, 4 August. See the full Auckland program here.

Published on June 24, 2019 by Stephen Heard


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