The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has revealed the first eight films of the 2017 programme, which will screen in Auckland from 20 July.
Four documentaries are announced today, three from established New Zealand filmmakers: Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web from director Annie Goldson, Spookers (pictured, top) by Florian Habicht, and My Year with Helen from director Gaylene Preston. The fourth title is a documentary about musician Bill Frisell, soon to perform at the Wellington Jazz Festival.
“It’s proving to be a great year for New Zealand documentaries and we’re very happy to lead off our announcements with three of the best. All three of these films will have made their international debuts before we have the pleasure of welcoming them home,” says NZIFF director Bill Gosden.
Four international features are also announced today: A Ghost Story starring Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, UK period drama Lady Macbeth, The Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, and Mexican bio-sci-fi horror The Untamed.
“We’re excited by the feature filmscape for this year’s programme. These four early confirmations provide a glimpse of the variety, grandeur and rich beauty of filmmaking we will be presenting. Casey Affleck’s star power is covered with a simple white sheet with cut out eyeholes yet his ghost manages to become a mesmerising character through time in David Lowery’s A Ghost Story. Inspiration from a Russian novella, rather than the Shakespearian femme fatale, smoulders in Lady Macbeth. The allure of the Amazonian jungle and the conflicting pressures on the British adventurer are beautifully captured in The Lost City of Z. And a love triangle takes a weird twist in Mexican mash-up The Untamed.” says Gosden.
First announced titles for NZIFF 2017:
Bill Frisell: A Portrait
The perfect balance of talking heads and sustained performance, Emma Franz’s documentary delivers an entrancing two hours in the company of jazz guitarist Bill Frisell.
A Ghost Story
A simple story told with the simplest means, A Ghost Story tracks the progress of a ghost who can’t let go of the woman he loved and the house they shared, evoking a profoundly moving sense of existential disquiet.
Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web
As Annie Goldson’s impressively detailed documentary clearly sets out the battle between Dotcom and the US Government and entertainment industry, it goes to the heart of ownership, privacy and piracy in the digital age.
Florence Pugh is mesmerising as she transmutes from nervous bride to femme fatale in this bracing British period drama based on a 19th-century Russian classic.
The Lost City of Z
Charlie Hunnam makes a commanding flawed hero as British Amazon explorer Percy Fawcett in a sweeping giant screen epic, filmed with rare intelligence by writer/director James Gray. With Sienna Miller and Robert Pattinson.
My Year with Helen
With unique access to high-ranking candidate Helen Clark, award-winning filmmaker Gaylene Preston casts a wry eye on proceedings as the United Nations chooses a new Secretary General.
In this funny and improbably charming documentary Florian Habicht looks behind the curtain to show us the real lives of the frighteners at the infamous and hugely popular horror theme park at the old Kingseat Hospital.
Love triangle drama and erotic bio-sci-fi thrills meet in a truly bizarre exploration of oppressive machismo and liberating sexual abandon from Mexican director Amat Escalante.
The NZIFF is run by a charitable trust and encourages lively interactions between films, filmmakers and New Zealand audiences in 13 towns and cities around the country. The full NZIFF programme will be available from Tuesday 27 June for Auckland, and Friday 30 June for Wellington. NZIFF starts in Auckland on 20 July and in Wellington from 28 July in 2016.