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Jane Campion’s Venice award-winner for opening night at film festival in Wellington

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News from NZIFF
Whānau Mārama: the New Zealand International Film Festival today reveals that Jane Campion’s highly anticipated film The Power of the Dog is to be the opening night film for the 2021 festival in Wellington. Campion won a Silver Lion as best director for the film at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday.

Made for Netflix with additional financial support from the New Zealand Film Commission and shot entirely on South Island locations in 2020, the film had its world premiere at Venice on Thursday 2 September. Adapted by Campion from the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch (photo above), Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee and features New Zealand talent on and off-screen including Wellington actress Thomasin McKenzie and Oscar-winning production designer Grant Major among many others.

The Power of the Dog is a See-Saw Films, Bad Girl Creek and Max Films production in association with Brightstar, Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga – The New Zealand Film Commission, Cross City Films and BBC Films. The film is produced by Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier. The film was developed with BBC Film.

“Opening our 2021 festival with Jane Campion’s extraordinary new film The Power of the Dog so soon after its rapturous reception on the world stage at Venice Film Festival is a dream come true. Jane Campion is an incomparable storyteller and this landmark film sees her working at the height of her powers,” said NZIFF Director Marten Rabarts.

“It’s an honour to share Jane’s film with its complex characters so profoundly embedded and framed in the stark beauty of Aotearoa. The reflection of our own history in the rugged brutality of American frontier life depicted in the film will be inescapable to our Kiwi audiences.

“It’s taken months of careful negotiation with the support of the NZFC, Dame Jane Campion herself and the kind agreement of Netflix and Transmission Films to secure The Power of the Dog for our opening night. We know it will be the red-hot, must-have ticket when we go on sale in early October and we’re grateful to all who’ve helped make this happen.”

NZIFF 2021 will open with The Power of the Dog in Wellington on Thursday 4 November. It will also screen at NZIFF opening nights in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. Following the exclusive NZIFF premieres, Transmission Films will release the film theatrically across the country on 11 November, and Netflix will release it globally on 1 December.

This report has been amended since it was first published, when it said opening night would be on 5 November. The film festival has since announced that opening night will be on 4 November.

Twelve other film festival titles announced