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As well as easing the pain of the colder months, the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has been bringing together a programme of wonderful, award-winning and incredibly strange cinematic features since 2009. Around 150-170 films play out at the festival every year from Auckland to Gore, and everywhere in between.
This year’s event will screen in Wellington from 24 July to 12 August, with a line-up including five Sundance winners, ten outstanding local films, seventeen hauled all the way from Cannes, a live cinema experience for those in tune with both movies and music, and a whole lot more.
To help you cull it down to something more specific, the programme is divided into categories such as: Aotearoa, Big Nights, Champions, For All Ages, Framing Reality, Fresh, Incredibly Strange, Inside Stories, Live Events, Music, Portrait of an Artist, Retro, Sport, Vision, World, Shorts with Features. Highlights from this year’s selection include: The Wolfpack, winner of the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance festival. The Crystal Moselle-directed film delves into the sheltered lives of six siblings whose father has confined them to the tiny rooms of their apartment since birth.
Matthew Heineman’s action-based documentary Cartel Land captures the impact of Mexican drug cartels on both sides of the border. With front-line access, Heineman observes the journeys of two vigilante groups who are working to fight against their shared enemy. Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster is a surreal fable set in a world where singles are forced to couple up or be turned into animals. It stars well known Hollywood actors Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly. Deathgasm is the only fiction feature from New Zealand in the programme. The horror-comedy, written and directed by Jason Lei Howden, follows a pair of misfit heavy metal fans who unintentionally summon a demon.
The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s annual involvement with the festival will see them take on the film score of Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 classic The Kid and his 1917 short The Immigrant. Conductor Marc Taddei will lead the orchestra through Chaplin’s own score for The Kid as well as a new score by American-born composer Timothy Brock for The Immigrant.
Also taking on the composition task will be the country’s reigning king of indie-pop, Lawrence Arabia who will attempt to translate modernist rhythms of the early 20th century in a new score for the rarely-screened 1928 film Lonesome.
See the festival’s website for all the need-to-know info.