The full Auckland programme for this year’s NZIFF was unveiled Monday. Following the weekend announcement of the titles secured from Cannes, there were few major titles left to reveal, although the full programme – as always – offers treats not previously alluded to.
A good crop of local will be on display, including the world premiere for Curtis Vowell’s Escalator feature Fantail, making up in some small way for Aucklanders missing out last year on the first Escalator title to see the light of day, Existence.
Also receiving world premieres at the festival are Toa Fraser’s Giselle, Gabriel White’s Oracle Drive, Tim van Dammen’s Romeo and Juliet and Theo Taylor’s World in My Head. A renowned thirty year-old NZ title also gets a world premiere with the unveiling of Geoff Murphy’s Utu Redux.
Among the documentary offer, Anthony Powell’s A Year on Ice, Paul Judge’s Don Driver: Magician, Simon Ogston’s Sheen of Gold and Shirley Horrocks’ Venus A Quest will receive their world premieres in Auckland.
From further afield come a pair of titles, nominally Australian but made in Asia, with significant NZ input. Oft-awarded DOP Andrew Commis’ offers his skilled eye to Tim Mordaunt’s Laos-shot Australian feature Rocket, which won a Generation Best Film award (alongside Shopping) at this year’s Berlinale.
Peter O’Donoghue is best known here for his editing work on a pair of Florian Habicht films that made sizeable splashes at the NZIFF, Land of the Long White Cloud and Love Story. As director in his own right, his Beijing and Shanghai-shot Happy Everyday: Park Life in China is selected.
Sticking with Asia, a number of titles from that part of the world were announced as part of the crop secured from Cannes. Beyond those, there are very few added.
From Cannes’ 2012 edition comes 1997 Palme d’Or winner Abbas Kiarostami’s latest feature, the French-funded Japan-shot Like Someone in Love.
The NZIFF’s Incredibly Strange sidebar delivers Takashi Miike’s Lesson of the Evil. It’s bloody, as one would expect from the director of the much-awarded 13 Assassins and Hari Kiri: Death of a Samurai.
A single Korean title makes the cut, Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, another meditation on middle class males by festival regular Hong Sang-soo, the director who previously delivered Hahaha and Like You Know It All.
Europe and the Americas (mostly North) dominate the programme, with almost a third of the entire selection hailing from the US. Titles from France, Germany and the UK take that share to over half.
All four of those countries (plus Cyprus) are behind the festival’s opening and closing films. The US takes its bow in Steven Soderbergh’s HBO-funded Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, while another doyen of the American indie scene, the ever-engaging Jim Jarmusch, returns with his largely European-financed take on vampires (and an awful lot more) in Only Lovers Left Alive.
The NZIFF opens in Auckland on Thursday, 18 July. The programme is out now.