NZIFF films returning to NZ cinemas

The 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival is done and dusted in the big cities with smaller regions getting their fix in the coming weeks. If you’re kicking yourself for missing [enter film title that everyone raved about], you might be in luck, for a number of festival titles have planned theatrical runs.

See below for what’s set to return. Keep in mind: release dates and locations are subject to change and we’ll keep this article updated.

Māui’s Hook

Five New Zealand families, each grieving over a loved one who took their life, bravely and openly discuss the tragedy of suicide.

“There’s really no other way to say it. Māui’s Hook is an essential Aotearoa film and it should be seen by every New Zealander.” (read the full review)

Leave No Trace

In cinemas August 23

A small mistake derails the ideal lives of a father and his 13-year-old daughter in this drama from Oscar-nominated director Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone).

“As it irresistibly encourages the viewer to invest in its characters, Leave No Trace proves to be an example of the magic that can be conjured by a filmmaker and their actors.” -Steve Newall, FLICKS (read the full 5-star review)


In cinemas August 23

17th Century period piece about a Spanish officer stuck in the outskirts of colonial South America, feverishly awaiting transfer to Buenos Aires. Based on author Antonio Di Benedetto’s novel on Don Diego de Zama.

“Martel’s formal prowess [is] undeniable, hypnotic. Truly odd. Of course, I loved it every languid minute.” -Aaron Yap, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

Mega Time Squad

In cinemas August 30

A low-level crim uses an ancient time-travel device to pull off heists and save himself from past/future harm in this crime comedy set in Thames, New Zealand. From the director of Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song, starring Jonny Brugh (What We Do in the Shadows) and Milo Cawthorne (Deathgasm).

“Dry, droll and distinctly Kiwi, think a comic take on Twelve Monkeys, or a small-budget Big Trouble in Little China, only set in Thames” -Adam Fresco, FLICKS (read the full review)

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In cinemas August 30

This Sundance-winning adaptation of the coming-of-age novel of the same name sees a teenager (Chloë Grace Moretz) shipped off to a “conversion therapy” camp by an aunt appalled by her sexuality. Defying re-education – really, emotional abuse and brainwashing – Cameron finds friends amid the pressure to change their orientation.

“The backdrop of this heinous camp mostly serves to tell a short but sweet tale of misfits uniting and learning to be cool with who they are.” -Matthew Crawley, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

McKellen: Playing the Part

In cinemas September 6

Documentary on the life and work of Sir Ian McKellen, featuring rare footage of his early work, never-before-seen photos from McKellen’s private collection and cinematically reconstructed scenes from his life

“The film exudes a personal warmth springing from the fact that most of it is told in Sir Ian’s own words.” -HOLLYWOOD REPORTER (read the full review)


In cinemas September 6

Documentary on late British fashion genius Alexander McQueen, featuring interviews with friends and family and footage of his spectacular, sometimes disturbing, shows.

“A stirring, compassionate insight into his volatile world and an achingly beautiful reminder of his contribution to fashion.” -Sarah Voon, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)


In cinemas September 13

John Cho (Star Trek Beyond) is a father who breaks into his missing teenage daughter’s laptop in order to discover the truth behind her disappearance in this thriller that takes place entirely on a computer screen. This is the feature debut of Aneesh Chaganty, a former Google commercials creator.

“Searching succeeds mainly as a cracking mystery procedural, helped along by another great performance from the hugely likeable John Cho.” -Tony Stamp, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

The World is Yours

In cinemas September 13 (Rialto Auckland & Dunedin only)

Karim Leklou (A Prophet) must make one last drug deal before he can realise his dream of opening a Mr. Freeze in Morocco in this French crime comedy.

“A fresh riff on Les Tontons flingueurs by way of Jackie Brown” -VARIETY (read the full review)


In cinemas September 20

A young boy who is jealous of his new little sister experiences a time-hopping adventure in this Japanese animation from the director of Summer Wars and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.

“It’s a sweet film about getting to know the whānau, though it ain’t no Coco.” -Liam Maguren, FLICKS (read the mini-review)


In cinemas September 27

Documentary on the life and work of US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose legal legacy changed the world for women.

“Her drive and work ethic are terrifying.” -Paul Casserly, FLICKS (read the mini-review)


In cinemas October 4

Set in the chilly environments of New Zealand’s South Island, this stark drama follows a self-confined man reeling from an act of violence.

“With an unmatched synthesis of attentive direction and rigorous aesthetic intent, Stray fortifies hope in the breadth and ambition of New Zealand film.” Amanda Jane Robinson, FLICKS (read the full 5-star review)

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist

In cinemas October 11

Sundance Grand Jury Prize-nominated documentary on the undisputed queen of British fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood.

“I found it very refreshing to see such an unrelenting, subversive designer refusing to bow to any kind of convention, kicking fashion’s ass, riding her bike, and pursuing environmental activism, all in the most exceptional style.” -Sarah Voon, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

She Shears

In cinemas October 11

New Zealand documentary on five women with a passion for sheep shearing – two of whom are legends, three of whom are stars on the rise.

“This is a heartfelt documentary packed with humour – a must-see” -Emma Rawson, THIS NZ LIFE (read the full review)

Brimstone & Glory

In cinemas October 25

The ritual, danger and the beauty of fireworks is on display here in this award-winning documentary that captures a Mexican city’s annual pyrotechnic festival.

“Embedded in a fireworks warzone rather than objectively observing, this is a thrill for the senses.” -Steve Newall, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

American Animals

In cinemas October 25

Evan Peters (X-Men: Apocalypse) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer‘s Barry Keoghan star in this true story heist thriller nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize.

“The pairing of drama and doco works to keep things tense and surprising, right up until the point that the budding criminals’ plan is put into action, when Layton’s film reaches out and grabs you – viscerally, intensely.” -Steve Newall, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

Yellow is Forbidden

In cinemas November 1

New Zealand documentarian Pietra Brettkelly (A Flickering Truth) chronicles designer Guo Pei’s attempt to break into the exclusive and mostly European club of elite fashion designers.

“Like Liberace meets Marie Antoinette on steroids, it is impossible not to be captivated by the magnificent magnitude of her vision.” -Sarah Voon, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

Kusama: Infinity

In cinemas November 15

Sundance Grand Jury Prize-nominated documentary on celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, aka the ‘Princess of Polka Dots’.

“I want something more than an hour of flipping between a Wikipedia entry and a Google Image search would provide, and for the most part Kusama: Infinity fails that test.” -Doug Dillaman, THE SPINOFF (read the full review)

Pick of the Litter

In cinemas November 22

Spanning two years, this documentary follows five Labrador puppies as they train to become guide dogs for the blind.

“Simply adorable.” -Steve Newall, FLICKS (read the mini-review)


In cinemas November 22

Filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, modern master behind acclaimed Japanese family dramas such as Like Father, Like Son and Our Little Sister, won the 2018 Palme d’Or at Cannes with this tale following a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the streets.

“An incredible portrait of generosity and precarity, Shoplifters is just splendid.” -Amanda Jane Robinson, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)


In cinemas December 6

Mia Wasikowska (Stoker) and Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night) lead this psychological thriller about dark, violent desires. From the director of The Eyes of My Mother.

“Precisely, economically paced and sumptuously stylised, Piercing makes a fabulously light watch out of the darkest possible subject matter.” -Katie Parker, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

The Guilty

In cinemas January 2019

Danish thriller about an emergency services phone operator that won the World Cinema Audience Award at Sundance.

“All is not what it seems in Gustav Möller’s quick, tense film and though the twists are predictable, The Guilty remains an effective and entertaining exercise in restraint.” -Katie Parker, FLICKS (read the mini-reviews)

The Heart Dances

In cinemas February 2019

Director Rebecca Tansley (Crossing Rachmaninoff) examines the Royal New Zealand Ballet adaptation of Jane Campion classic The Piano.

“Fascinating for all the wrong reasons, it’s an object lesson in how creative and cultural partnerships need to be carefully considered.” -Adam Fresco (read the full review)