The first four titles announced for this year’s edition of the NZIFF share a musical theme and a willingness to play in the space between fact and fiction.
Previously announced as the opening title for the Sydney Film Festival, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s Sundance-winning 20,000 Days On Earth will also make the trip to NZ. The experimental doco features Australian musician Nick Cave, which should deliver fans and save the rest of us 97 minutes.
Much more up this writer’s street (quite literally, c1991) will be Florian Habicht’s Sheffield-set Pulp: a Film about Life, Death & Supermarkets.
Habicht has long been a favoured son of the NZIFF. Most of his films have played at the festival, since 2003’s Woodenhead and 2004’s Kaikohe Demolition. Two years ago his Love Story opened the festival.
Pulp received a rapturous welcome at iis SXSW premiere and last week played HotDocs. Despite the inherent Britishness of its subject matter and music, which sometimes pose a challenge for American audiences, Pulp has garnered very positive reviews to date.
Despite being built around Pulp’s farewell concert in the band’s hometown, one comment repeated by reviewers is that this is something far more than a concert film.
Jimi: All Is By My Side is the story of Jimmy James, who later became better known as Jimi Hendrix. A kind of portrait of the artist as a young wannabe, it played alongside Pulp at SXSW having premiered in Toronto last year.
Director John Ridley’s star is again rising on the back of an Oscar win earlier this year (Best Adapted Screenplay, for 12 Years A Slave), but he’s been around a long time, as a producer and writer of titles including Three Kings and Undercover Brother, and also as a playwright and radio broadcaster.
Finally, Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank is the closest to a fiction title announced, although it’s a satirical take on the world of determinedly enigmatic art and artists. Michael Fassbender, recently here in person shooting John Maclean’s Slow West, takes on the eponymous role and accompanying papier mache.
The NZIFF’s full programme releases will commence in Auckland on 23 June. This year’s NZIFF opens in Auckland on 17 July and will complete its travels on 21 September.