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NZIFF off to strong start

In what’s becoming an increasingly regular occurrence, a NZ title kicked off the NZIFF in Auckland last night.

Tearepa Kahi’s Poi E opened the festival to a rousing reception. The screening was followed by a performance of the song by surviving members of the Patea Maori Club.

The Herald’s Russell Baillie put in a double shift with a review and an excellent interview with Kahi.

As happens from time to time, there’s an issue with certification for one of the NZIFF selections, although for a change it’s not one of the Incredibly Strange selections.

Aussie Taryn Brumfitt’s Embrace has found its NZ screenings caught by an Australian classification. Documentary titles are usually exempt from classification here, but a title certified in Australia has to be considered for classification here.

Prompting the Australian classification were shots of female genitals. The filmmaker and festival argue that, as the film is about women’s body image, the images are not gratuitous, Brumfitt will attend the Auckland screening on 30 July and take part in a post-screening discussion.



Although the festival now faces extra work and cost submitting the film for classification, the issue has garnered good media attention which – hopefully – will translate into increased ticket sales.

The NZIFF runs in Auckland until 31 July; Wellington 22 July – 7 August; Christchurch 28 July – 14 August; Dunedin 4 – 21 August. Dates for other centres are available at nziff.co.nz.

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