Wellington Scoop

Eleven more titles announced for film festival in November

News from NZIFF
Wellington film fans can look forward to in impressive array of critically acclaimed cinematic offerings at the New Zealand International Film Festival in November with today’s announcement including more hot ticket films. This year’s festival will be the annual event’s 50th anniversary in Wellington.

Hot from Cannes Film Festival comes Bergman Island, a melancholic meditation on love and creativity from French auteur Mia Hansen-Løve, starring Tim Roth and Mia Wasikowska, and Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi’s Director’s Fortnight triumph Hit the Road, a touching and humorous story following a chaotic family road trip with undercurrents.

Indigenous dystopian drama Night Raiders will have its New Zealand premiere following runs at both Berlin and Toronto film festivals where it earned rave reviews. The Canadian-New Zealand co-production, whose producers include New Zealanders Chelsea Winstanley, Ainsley Gardiner and Georgina Allison Conder with Taika Waititi as Executive Producer, marks the feature film directorial debut of award-winning Saskatchewan-born Cree- Métis writer and director Danis Goulet.

From the Incredibly Strange strand of the programme, comes Censor, a thrilling psychodrama about a film censor set amid the infamous ‘Video Nasty’ furore of the 1980s, named by NME as 2021’s most striking horror film.

Academy Award-winning 20 Feet from Stardom director Morgan Neville pays homage to the life and legacy of world-famous chef and traveller Anthony Bourdain in Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, while Sisters with Transistors tells the untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers whose radical experimentations redefined the boundaries of music.

Playful animation Marona’s Fantastic Tale (part of the Square Eyes collection) combines dazzling designs from artist Brecht Evens with a poetic and touching story from director Anca Damian that follows stray dog Marona as she looks back on the human companions that she has loved throughout her life. Also from France comes François Ozon’s coming-of-age tale Summer of 85, a story full of youthful energy and 1980s nostalgia about two young men who fall in love at a French seaside resort.

Legendary actor Udo Kier takes centre stage as a retired hairdresser in Todd Stephen’s Swan Song, a comical and bittersweet journey about rediscovering one’s sparkle, also featuring Jennifer Coolidge, while first-time director Emma Seligman presents Shiva Baby, an unremittingly funny comedy set over the course of one heady afternoon at a Jewish shiva in Brooklyn.

Opening Night: Jane Campion’s Venice award-winner
12 NZ features selected for NZIFF
Film Festival announces six premieres

NZIFF will open in Wellington on November 5 in venues including the Embassy, the Roxy, the Lighthouse and the Penthouse.

Bergman Island
An American filmmaking couple retreat to the island for the summer to each write screenplays for their upcoming films in an act of pilgrimage to the place that inspired filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. As the summer and their screenplays advance, the lines between reality and fiction start to blur against the backdrop of the Island’s wild landscape.

Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled decapitations and eye-gougings she pores over. Her sense of duty to protect is amplified by guilt over her inability to recall details of the long-ago disappearance of her sister, recently declared dead in absentia. When Enid is assigned to review a disturbing film from the archive that echoes her hazy childhood memories, she begins to unravel how this eerie work might be tied to her past.

Hit the Road
A chaotic, tender family is on a road trip across a rugged landscape, but to where? In the back seat, Dad has a broken leg, but is it really broken? Mom tries to laugh when she’s not holding back tears. The kid keeps exploding into choreographed car karaoke. All of them are fussing over the sick dog and getting on each other’s nerves. Only the mysterious older brother is quiet.

Marona’s Fantastic Tale
The poetic and touching film from director Anca Damian follows an optimistic stray dog named Marona as she looks back on the human companions she has loved throughout her life. Delivered alongside dazzlingly colourful, sweeping designs produced in part by acclaimed artist Brecht Evens, Marona’s Fantastic Tale is a life-affirming tale told with the patient, boundless love of a dog, and reminds us that happiness is a small thing.

Night Raiders
The year is 2043. A military occupation controls disenfranchised cities in post-war North America. Children are property of the State. A desperate Cree woman joins an underground band of vigilantes to infiltrate a state children’s academy and get her daughter back. Night Raiders is a female-driven dystopian drama about resilience, courage, and love.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
An intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. This unflinching look at Anthony Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.

Shiva Baby
A near college graduate, Danielle, gets paid by her sugar daddy and rushes to meet the neurotic parents at a family shiva. Upon arrival, she is accosted by various strange relatives about her appearance and lack of post-grad plans, while her confident ex-girlfriend, Maya, is applauded by everyone for getting into law school. Danielle’s day takes an unexpected turn when her sugar daddy Max arrives at the shiva with his accomplished wife, Kim, and crying baby. As the day unfolds, Danielle struggles to keep up different versions of herself, fend off pressures from her family and confront the insecurities without completely losing it.

Sisters with Transistors
Sisters with Transistors is the untold story of electronic music’s female pioneers, remarkable composers who embraced machines and their liberating technologies to utterly transform how we produce and listen to music today.

Summer of 85
When 16-year-old Alexis capsizes off the coast of Normandy,18-year-old David heroically saves him. Alexis has just met the friend of his dreams. But will the dream last for more than one summer?

Swan Song
Legendary actor Udo Kier stars as retired hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger, who escapes the confines of his small-town Sandusky, Ohio nursing home after learning of his former client’s dying wish for him to style her final hairdo. Soon, Pat embarks on an odyssey to confront the ghosts of his past – and collect the beauty supplies necessary for the job. Swan Song is a comical and bittersweet journey about rediscovering one’s sparkle and looking gorgeous while doing so.


Whānau Mārama: the New Zealand International Film Festival is run by a charitable trust to enhance local appreciation of, and engagement with, global art and culture by providing access to a diverse range of high-quality film.