Updated 3 August 2017

New Zealand International Film Festival Logo

First founded in 1969 as the Auckland International Film Festival, the New Zealand International Film Festival has now grown to include the cities of Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, and twelve provincial cities, as well as Auckland. From July until September, a programme of over 170 films from nearly 50 countries will be screened across the length and breadth of both the North and South Islands. The line-up includes a raft of winners from the recent Cannes Film Festival, films from every genre imaginable, local and indigenous talent, and movie buffs are even treated to talks by the movie-makers themselves.

NZIFF 2017 – where can I go and see some great movies?

The festival aims to screen movies that not only entertain but stimulate thought and discussion, provoke, inspire, and enlighten. From local documentaries to big screen classics, the New Zealand International Film Festival has it all. The festival kicked off in Auckland last month and has since moved to Wellington. There is a lot of overlap with the dates of the festival, taking it to all corners of New Zealand and giving most Kiwis the chance to go and watch some amazing movies and discover some new ones. Here are the dates of the festival at locations throughout New Zealand:

  • Auckland – 14 Jul – 10 Aug
  • Wellington – 28 Jul – 16 Aug
  • Christchurch – 3 Aug – 20 Aug
  • Dunedin – 8 Aug – 30 Aug
  • Gore – 17 Aug – 27 Aug
  • Hamilton – 23 Aug – 17 Sep
  • Hawke’s Bay – 7 Sep – 24 Sep
  • Masterton – 6 Sep – 20 Sep
  • Nelson – 9 Aug – 30 Aug
  • New Plymouth – 7 Sep – 24 Sep
  • Palmerston North – 24 Aug – 10 Sep
  • Tauranga – 24 Aug – 17 Sep
  • Timaru – 17 Aug – 27 Aug

Will there be any movies that I know?

The New Zealand International Film Festival offers up a great mix of new movies, locally produced movies and some old classics. Whilst you might not have heard of all the movies that are playing that this year’s festival, it may be time to get out of your comfort zone and head to see something new and different. The NZIFF website is pretty awesome and you can search using a number of filters including genre so you can find your favourite type of movie and find something new to watch.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web. Image courtesy of NZIFF
Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web. Image courtesy of NZIFF

This year’s festival includes 21 offerings direct from the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival as well as a whole host of other critically acclaimed films. We find some of these ‘acclaimed’ movies can be hit and miss but it’s always good to branch out and see something new – let’s face it, not every Hollywood blockbuster is a hit with everyone (we’re looking at you here Gravity!!)

Give a documentary a whirl

As well as some great movies there are a host of fantastic documentaries to get stuck into including Oscar nominated I Am Not Your Negro and homegrown documentaries such as Spookers, My Year With Helen and Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web. Documentaries are often a highlight of the film festival so make sure you head along and check out one of the Kiwi productions and discover more about the exciting film industry in New Zealand.

Staff Picks – our top 5

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘Sounds cool, but I have no idea where to start with picking a movie or documentary’ then check out these top 5 staff picks which will save you a job!

Beguiled – Sofia Coppola

Colin Farrell plays a wounded Civil War mercenary under the care of a commune of young women, led by Nicole Kidman, in Sofia Coppola’s beautiful, feminist take on Don Siegel’s 1971 Southern Gothic psychodrama.

God’s Own Country – Francis Lee

God's Own Country. Image courtesy of NZIFF
God’s Own Country. Image courtesy of NZIFF

Filmed on the Yorkshire Dales where he grew up, Francis Lee’s debut tells the poignant story of a hard-drinking lad who keeps his emotions in check until a handsome Romanian immigrant comes to work on the family farm.

Top of the Lake – Jane Campion, Ariel Kleiman

Come along for a very special screening of the much-anticipated new installment of Jane Campion’s award-winning series, starring Elisabeth Moss, Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie and Nicole Kidman.

I Am Not Your Negro – Raoul Peck

I Am Not Your Negro. Image courtesy of NFIFF
I Am Not Your Negro. Image courtesy of NFIFF

This Oscar-nominated documentary draws an astonishing, challenging and utterly contemporary examination of race in the United States entirely from the writings and interview footage of civil rights icon James Baldwin.

Wind River – Taylor Sheridan

Rookie FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen teams with her Avengers co-star Jeremy Renner to investigate a mysterious death on an Indian reservation in this atmospheric western thriller directed by gun screenwriter Taylor Sheridan.

The New Zealand International Film Festival is a date many people look for in the diary and it is a great opportunity to not only come and see some of the world’s biggest and best movies, but also take a look and unearth some true diamonds both from overseas and right here in New Zealand.

For a full schedule of films in your area, please visit the NZIFF website where you can read more about the movies and plan your schedule!