The 13th Floor exclusive coverage of the NZ International Film Festival

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Opening Night at the Civic, Auckland 

Additional Screenings Added to the Auckland Event!

More than 30 additional screenings have been added to Auckland – some of the most popular, sold out films are included in this 3-day extension. Click here for the full listing.

FoodgraphicWhere to eat in Auckland???
Tina Plunkett’s done the research!

INTERVIEWS

The 13th Floor has interviewed many of the directors and producers responsible for the films we’ll be seeing over the next few weeks.

Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber: Peace Officer

Brad & ScottDocumentary film makers Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber are in NZ for the screening of their film Peace Officer. This documentary  explores the militarization of the police department in the US, particularly SWAT teams. With fatal encounters between police and  citizens seemingly occurring every day, the film has people talking.

Click here to listen to, or read, the interview with Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber.

Turner Ross: Western

Turner & Bill Ross
Turner & Bill Ross

For their latest documentary, co-directing brothers Bill and Turner Ross set their sights on the West Texas town of Eagle Pass to explore the current state of great American West, focussing on mayor, Chad Foster, a dynamic character who comes complete with a ten gallon hat. They also venture across the Rio Grande to Piedras Negras, Mexico and examine the relationship between these two small towns and the Mexican drug cartels. Turner Ross is in Auckland for the Film Festival where Western and their previous film, Tchoupitoulas, are both screening.

Click here for more info about Western screening at the NZIFF

Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell: Turbo Kid

Turbo Directors Turbo Kid is a Canadian/New Zealand co-production which finds Kiwi producer Ant Timpson teaming up with Canadian directors Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell. A “retro-sci-fi” based in 1997, Turbo Kid is a sweet-natured tribute to the 1980s with stylistic nods to Mad Max and BMX Bandits and an over-abundance of blood and gore.

Click here for more info about Turbo Kid screening at the NZIFF.

Margot Nash: The Silences

Margot NashMargot Nash has been a filmmaker since the 1970s. The Kiwi-born, Sydney-based director and academic turns the camera on her own family with her latest documentary, The Silences. Narrated by Nash herself, the film explores the secrets she discovered about her own family growing up in New Zealand and Australia during the 1940s and 50s including her father’s battle with mental illness, her mother’s abusive behaviour and the long-kept secret involving her oldest sister.

Click here for more info about The Silences screening at the NZIFF.

 Jennifer Peedom: Sherpa

ipad-art-wide-a15-20jen-20peedom-420x0Peedom traveled to Nepal last year to make a documentary on the under-reported role Sherpas play in the huge business that has been built around Mt Everest climbing expeditions. She planned to shine a light on Phurba Tashi Sherpa, who held the record with another Sherpa for most ascents with 21. But on April 18, 2014 an avalanche killed 16 Sherpas and Peedom came away with a much different film than she imagined.

Click here for more information about FSherpa at the NZIFF website.

Virginia Heath: From Scotland With Love

virginaheathOriginally produced to coincide with the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, From Scotland With Love has taken on a life of its own. The film was directed by ex-pat Kiwi Virginia Heath who combed through hundreds of hours of archival Scottish film footage, dating back a hundred years to come up with a mesmerizingly beautiful look a Scottish life over the past century.

Click here for more information about From Scotland With Love at the NZIFF.

Sam Brower: Prophet’s Prey

Sam-Brower-BOOKS_1165392cBounty hunter, private investigator, author and now, producer of a feature-length documentary. Brower spent seven years tracking Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Brower got his man and Jeffs is serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting two underage girls. The film, Prophet’s Prey was directed by Amy Berg (West Of Memphis). The 13th Floor spoke to Brower about his hunt for Jeffs and how his book became a film. 

Click here for more information about Prophet’s Prey at the NZIFF.

Jerry Rothwell: How To Change The World

Jerry RothwellGreenpeace has been an integral part of the New Zealand landscape for over 30 years, with the bombing of The Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour becoming one of this country’s defining moments. But how much do you really know about how Greenpeace was formed? Director Jerry Rothwell has assembled How To Change The World, a feature-length documentary about the formativeyears of Greenpeace.
Click here for more information about How To Change The World at the NZIFF.

Daniel Junge: Being Evil

Daniel Junge accepting his Academy Award You’ve probably heard of Evel Knievel, the larger-than-life daredevil who spent his life jumping over everything from rattlesnakes & cougars to buses & canyons on his Harley. Junge interviewed seemingly everyone who ever met Robert “Evel” Knievel, including his long-suffering wife, business associates and his son, Robbie, who attempted to follow in his father’s dubious footsteps.
Click here for more information about Being Evel at the NZIFF

Zhao Qi: The Chinese Mayor

Film Producer Zhao QiThe Chinese Mayor director Zhou Hao followed Geng Yanbo, the mayor of Datong, China’s most polluted city as he attempts to return it to the cultural centre it was 1600 years ago. Along the way we are treated to a glimpse into the lives of ordinary Chinese and the way local government works in China. The 13th Floor spoke with film producer Zhao Qi about the difficulties of making independent documentaries in China.
Click here for more information about The Chinese Mayor at the NZIFF.

Denny Tedesco: The Wrecking Crew

Denny TedescoOne of the most highly-anticipated documentaries is The Wrecking Crew, the story of the LA session musicians who anonymously played on just about every hit record recorded in LA during the 1960s including The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Paul Revere & The
Raiders, The Byrds and Sonny & Cher. The 13th Floor spoke to director, Denny Tedesco about the making of The Wrecking Crew.
Click here for more information about The Wrecking Crew
screening at the NZIFF.

Morgan Neville: Best Of Enemies

im-morgan_neville_030114Director Morgan Neville won an Oscar for the 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom. This time around he has teamed up with co-director Robert Gordon for Best Of Enemies which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this past January. Best Of Enemies documents the bitter rivalry between two of the 1960’s most esteemed intellectuals, right-wing conservative William F Buckley and respected author Gore Vidal. The men despised each other and when American TV network ABC persuaded them to appear together for a series of ten debates, the results were explosive.

Robert Gordon, CoDirector of Best of Enemies

RobertGordon2We  also spoke with the other half of the team, director Robert Gordon. Both an author and a filmmaker, Gordon is best known for his musical work including his books, It Came From Memphis and Respect Yourself: Stax Records and The Soul Explosion. Gordon and Neville have worked together before, including the film Muddy Waters: Can’t Be Satisfied. In this interview, Robert Gordon discusses how he and Morgan Neville collaborate and weighs in on what he think makes a good music documentary.
Click here for more information about the screening of
Best Of Enemies at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Christian Petzold: Phoenix

2003-9303PetzoldChristian_IMG_x900Award-winning German film director Christian Petzold’s latest drama has all the ingredients of a classic film-noir/ Hitchcock-ian thriller. Set in immediate post-WWII Germany, Phoenix tells the story of a disfigured holocaust survivor, Nelly, played by Nina Hoss, who, after reconstructive surgery that leaves her unrecognizable, seeks out her husband who may or may not have betrayed her to the Nazis.The 13th Floor spoke to Christian Petzold about making the film and the fine art of coaxing such a complex performance from his lead actress.
Click here for more information about Phoenix screening at the NZIFF.

 Film Festival Diary: Our final entry

coming_homeThat’s it! All over! The Auckland leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival is finished for another year. Clayton Barnett, Margie Cooney, Marty Duda, and Veronica McLaughlin take a look at the last of the films from the weekend. This is a diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed between 31st July and 2nd August.

Today’s reviews:

  • The 50 Year Argument
  • Banksy Does New York
  • Coming Home
  • Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts 2015

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 15

ramsThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Thursday the 30th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • A Poem is a Naked Person
  • Holding the Man
  • Love 3D
  • Rams

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 14

mavisThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Wednesday the 29th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • Cemetery of Splendour
  • Finders Keepers
  • Mavis!

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 13

Yakuza-ApocalypseThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Tuesday the 28th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses
  • Dope
  • Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War of the Underworld

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 11 & 12

steve-mcqueenThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Sunday and Monday 26th & 27th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • El Cinco
  • Far From Men
  • The Look of Silence
  • Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 10

umrikaThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Saturday the 25th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • The Assassin
  • Grandma
  • A Most Violent Year
  • Philip Dadson: Sonics From Scratch
  • Umrika

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 9

Peggy-GuggenheimThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Friday the 24th of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • Censored Voices
  • I Am Thor
  • Mia Madre
  • Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
  • The Club
  • While We’re Young
  • Wolfpack

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 8

measure_of_a_manThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Thursday, 23rd of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • Hill Of Freedom
  • The Measure of a Man
  • Spring
  • Tangerine

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 7

wrinklesThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Wednesday, 22nd of July.

Today’s reviews:

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Ex Machina
  • The Mafia Only Kills In Summer
  • Merchants of Doubt
  • Very Semi-serious
  • Wrinkles

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 6

Turbo-KidThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Tuesday, 21st of July.

  • Dark Hearts
  • Place Unmaking
  • Turbo Kid

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 5

out_of_the_mistThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Monday, 20th of July.

  • ’71
  • Being Evel
  • Experimenter
  • Girlhood
  • Out of the Mist: An Alternate History of New Zealand Cinema

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 4

sherpaThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Sunday 19th of July.

  • Cartel Land
  • The Chinese Mayor
  • Iris
  • Lambert & Stamp
  • A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence
  • The Price of Peace
  • Sherpa
  • When Marnie Was Here

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 3

Ever the LandThis is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Saturday 18th July.

  • Ever the Land
  • Mommy
  • Partisan

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 2, part 1

54_dir_cutBlast off! 13th Floor’s team – Steve Austin, Clayton Barnett, Marty Duda, Veronica McLaughlin – have been hunkered down in cinemas around central Auckland enjoying everything the New Zealand International Film Festival has to offer. This is a daily diary of capsule reviews of movies viewed on, Friday 17th July. We’re also joined by special guest reviewer, Radio New Zealand’s Sarah McMullan.We’ve seen so many films, today’s entry comes in two parts. Here we’ve got:

  • 54: The Director’s Cut
  • Best of Enemies
  • Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
  • Ixcanul Volcano
  • Phoenix

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 2, part 2

prophets_preyHere’s part 2 of the day’s reviews.

    • The Forbidden Room
    • Prophet’s Prey
    • She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry
    • Song of the Sea
    • The Tribe
    • Welcome to Leith

Click here to read reviews.

Film Festival Diary: Day 1

lobster2Where our special guest reviewer, Sarah McMullan, from RNZ, with her thought’s on the opening night film, The Lobster

Our favourite time of the year, New Zealand International Film Festival 2015 begins NOW!

NZIFFlogoOver the next seventeen days (and nights) the intrepid team of movie lovers from this here site – Steve Austin, Clayton Barnett, Margie Cooney, Marty Duda and Veronica McLaughlin, along with special guest reviewer, Radio New Zealand’s resident filmie, Sarah McMullan – will be burning the candle at both ends, balancing our day jobs and checking out the very best of cinema from around the globe.

This year’s lineup is packed full of goodies. You barely need to skim a few pages of this year’s programme to land upon something that’s bound to appeal to your taste and you can be guaranteed quality if you’re willing to take a punt on the unknown too. We hope our reviews can point you in the right direction if you’re a bit indecisive.

Most genres are well represented this year – action, horror, comedies, travelogues, classics, arthouse, etc –  as well as many countries not heard from as often – Ethiopia, Colombia, Ukraine – but, of course, the big contributors are still there too.
New Zealand cinema has an excellently strong showing this year, even if there are only two fictional films in the whole line up and both of them are Incredibly Strange titles – but that can only act as proof that our documentary filmmakers have found and are strengthening their voices.

Here are some thoughts from our review team about their excitement for the coming two-and-a-half weeks of movie viewing:
Come at me bro!Steve Austin – “I’m a kid in a candy store at this time of year! Such rich pickings from cinema from all corners of the world and just a scant eighteen days to enjoy it all in – I’m going to be in my element!”

claytonClayton Barnett – ‘With 150+ films in 18 days the NZIFF exhilarates and scares me at the same time. Here’s hoping I see a handful of hot tickets – The Lobster, Dope, The Wolfpack – and then grab as many surprises I can get my popcorn-stained fingers on.’

margieMargie Cooney – ‘Looking forward to being involved in this years Film Festival. I think the range and diversity of this years lineup will make for thought provoking viewing. Especially looking forward to watching some of our homegrown screen talent showcasing their skills.’

Marty2Marty Duda – “The New Zealand International Film Festival is what makes winter in Auckland bearable. Of course I’m always excited about the music documentaries, but there are always plenty of other cinematic surprises on offer. My advice: Be brave, step out of your comfort zone and go exploring!”

Veronica2015JunVeronica McLaughlin – “For me – the Film Festival is a two-week immersion in brilliant film-making – challenging, entertaining, thought provoking. I come away inspired!”

We want to send a huge thank you to the team at the Film Festival office for making our forthcoming daily diary blog possible. Without their passion and love for unsung, independent, foreign and unusual cinema, this country would have been swallowed into a wormhole of multiplex trash years ago.

Steve Austin
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