By The New Zealand Film Festival Trust | Posted: Monday August 5, 2019

Big Nights & Audiences Favourites in Dunedin + Win Tickets

NZIFF in Dunedin opened last week with sparkling French rom-com La Belle Époque, one of our most popular films this year – and that’s only the beginning. Over the next fortnight, there are more than 80 features and short film programmes to choose from, screening at the Isaac Theatre Royal and Rialto Cinemas.

Needing inspiration or a hot tip? Check out the collection of ‘must see’ lists from staff and friends of the festival, or dive into our selection of big nights and audience favourites below.

Cannes Competition

This year’s centrepiece film reignites the costume drama genre through the female gaze of outstanding French director Céline Sciamma (Tomboy, Girlhood). A striking 18th-century tale of romantic and sapphic obsession, Portrait of a Lady of Fire was one of the most lauded films at Cannes, winning both the Best Screenplay and Queer Palm awards.

Even though Cannes favourite Ken Loach’s latest social-realist drama took home no prizes this year, many critics are calling Sorry We Missed You an even better film than his 2016 Palme d’Or winner I, Daniel Blake. Don’t miss this superb, heart-wrenching drama centred on the life of an average British family at the mercy of the modern day ‘gig economy’.

Inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, Les Misérables is a pulsating street thriller that recalls Do the Right Thing and The Wire in its intense portrayal of tensions between police and youth gangs in a tough inner-city suburb. This timely and relevant film was awarded the Jury Prize.

Hot Docs

Halston follows the wild up-and-down career of American design icon Roy Halston Frowick. As classy and compelling as Halston’s style revolution, this fittingly epic fashion documentary comes from the director of Dior and I.

Sailing, an integral part of New Zealand’s sporting and social history, is the focus of Maiden, a rousing documentary on the first all-female crew to challenge the Whitbread Round the World Race. Utilising both eye-opening footage and thrilling tales from the ocean, the film also places Kiwi yachting royalty in context, with Sir Peter Blake, Grant Dalton and Peter Montgomery featuring regularly throughout.

There’s no more talked about documentary at this year’s festival than One Child Nation. A staggering investigation into the enormous social and human toll of China’s one-child policy, we guarantee you’ll be thinking about this powerful film for days after.

Filmmakers Present

Local filmmakers celebrate remarkable Kiwis and tell heart-warming stories at NZIFF this year – and they’ll be joining us, too, to introduce their films and answer your questions. Capital in the 21st Century, Bellbird, By the Balls, Helen Kelly – Together and A Seat at The Table have all been warmly received in Auckland and Wellington, with many screenings selling out.
Be sure to check out these films on our website first for session times where filmmakers have confirmed their attendance.

Weird & Wild

For one of the weirdest – and funniest – films of the festival, don’t sleep on Peter Strickland’s mischievous satire of consumerism and high fashion, In Fabric, where a killer dress purchased from a sinister department store will have you in stitches.

Judy & Punch, a deliciously subversive spin on the classic puppet show, stars Mia Wasikowska as a puppeteer out for sweet revenge. This highly original, outrageously feminist black comedy surprises at every turn, evoking Monty Python and Kill Bill in equal measure.

This year Ant Timpson, long-time programmer of NZIFF’s Incredibly Strange section, also brings his long-awaited directorial debut to Dunedin audiences. A blackly comic, gleefully unhinged thriller best seen with an audience, Come to Daddy stars Elijah Wood as a thirtysomething everyman with some serious daddy issues.

And don’t forget our late confirmation of Midsommar, Ari Aster’s buzzworthy follow-up to his modern horror classic Hereditary. Sessions have already sold out in Auckland and Wellington, making this one of the festival’s most anticipated special screenings.

Win Tickets to Maiden, Judy & Punch and A Seat at the Table

We have two double passes to giveaway to each screening of Maiden (Sun 11 Aug, 3.45 pm), Judy & Punch (Fri 16 Aug, 6.15 pm) and A Seat at the Table (Sun 18 Aug, 5.00 pm) at Regent Theatre, Dunedin.

To enter, email with your preferred film to Winners will be drawn by Friday 9 August. One entry per person please.

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