Wellington Scoop

Another record attendance: 79,000 admissions at film festival in Wellington

News from NZIFF
The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has once again exceeded attendance records, with over 79,000 cinema admissions in Wellington.

For three consecutive years the not-for-profit event has continued to increase attendance. In 2017 NZIFF in Wellington saw 79,030 admissions to the 162 features, documentaries and short film compilations that screened at the Embassy Theatre, the Paramount Cinema, and across six other venues in the Wellington CBD, Brooklyn, Miramar and Petone. As in 2016 the festival dates were extended by four days due to popular demand. In 2016 NZIFF had broken attendance records with 78,184 admissions (cf 75,326 in 2015).

“Thank you Wellington for continuing to embrace and support NZIFF. With the largest contingent of NZ-made films in the programme this year, we were able to present NZ voices on screen to a huge local audience while providing filmmakers with a share of the income from those NZIFF screenings,” says festival director Bill Gosden.

Wellington filmmakers Andrea Bosshard (Kobi), Nic Gorman (Human Traces), Robin Greenberg (Team Tibet), Tony Hiles (Michael Smither: Light Through the Trees), Gwen Isaac (Where There is Life), Paul Wolffram (What Lies That Way), Gaylene Preston (My Year with Helen), and Hugh Macdonald (No Ordinary Sheila) all premiered new work at NZIFF.

Popular films this year’s included the Finnish refugee dramedy The Other Side of Hope, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, and Opening Night Cannes-winner The Square. Documentaries proved immensely popular with Wellington audiences, notably films about the Voyager space project (The Farthest), American writer James Baldwin (I Am Not Your Negro) and cats in Istanbul (Kedi). Gaylene Preston’s My Year With Helen and Hugh Macdonald’s No Ordinary Sheila are both now scheduled for local release after selling out their NZIFF sessions.

NZIFF is now in its 46th year in Wellington. Currently 90% of its annual income is derived from box office sales.

NZIFF is run by the New Zealand Film Festival Trust, a charitable trust, originated and based in Wellington and also delivering NZIFF to 12 other centres. The Trust receives annual funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, while the Wellington event receives a small financial grant from the Wellington City Council ($7000 in 2017, contingent on receiving 75,000 admissions), but is ultimately dependent on income from ticket sales. A team of five staff work year-round to programme and coordinate NZIFF, with a team of contractors working for four months of every year to run the event in Wellington. They are supported by a large volunteer crew.

The 2018 dates for NZIFF in Wellington are confirmed for 27 July to 12 August.

Film Festival losing the Paramount (which is closing in September)