NZ International Film Festival 2020: full programme and cinema details

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has officially lifted the veil of its 2020 programme—the first under the guidance of new festival director Marten Rabarts. The official press release below reveals the programme’s key highlights, as well as the opening night film AND some exciting details about limited cinema screenings. You can also visit the NZIFF website for a closer look at the line-up.

The full programme for Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has been revealed with 79 feature films and seven collections of short films from 41 countries screening online and in selected cinemas and venues from 24 July to 2 August.

See also:

* Steve Newall’s NZIFF 2020 picks
* Liam Maguren’s NZIFF 2020 picks
* The 19 best films of NZIFF 2019

“We’re delighted to finally reveal the full programme for the 2020 Festival. Bringing together this year’s programme of films has certainly been challenging as we’ve responded to the constantly changing landscape globally and in New Zealand caused by the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Festival Director Marten Rabarts said.

“In March as COVID-19 led the world towards lockdown we made the decision to take the Festival online, rejecting the only other option at that time which would have been outright cancellation. Since then we’ve been working tirelessly to secure a strong programme of films and upgrade our video on demand platform to bring the festival to a nationwide audience.”

With New Zealand moving to Level One in June, the Festival explored opportunities to screen selected films in cinemas and venues around the country.

“This has been incredibly complex to secure both in-cinema and online rights for films, but we are very pleased to announce we will have 27 films showing in venues in six cities including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. And all films in venues will screen as part of NZIFF At Home – Online, so everyone around the country has the opportunity to select from all films in the Festival.”

Programmes have been confirmed for ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland and Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, and further details of these and other in-cinema screenings will be announced next week.

The 2020 Festival will open with the Australian film, True History of the Kelly Gang screening in cinema at ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland concurrently with the online premiere on Friday 24 July. The film, directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown NZIFF11) and based on the Booker Prize winning novel by Peter Carey, is a surreal adaptation of the outlaw legend featuring high-profile New Zealand actors including Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, NZIFF18), musician Marlon Williams and Russell Crowe.

Other features this year include a new cooperation between European Film Promotion and Sydney Film Festival with seven films in a special collection EUROPE!: Voices of Women in Film.

“This year marks the fifth year of this programme at Sydney Film Festival and we are delighted to be able to also present this collection of exceptional films from women filmmakers from Estonia, Germany, Kosovo, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland,” Rabarts said.

Other programme highlights include Mardi Gras Film Festival 2020 Audience Award winner Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) featuring New Zealand actor Rachel House (Bellbird, NZIFF19), Ai Weiwei’s latest documentary Vivos, Iranian blockbuster and Tokyo International Film Festival Best Director winner Just 6.5, Sundance Film Festival 2020 Audience Award (World Cinema Dramatic) winner Identifying Features, Berlin International Film Festival 2020 Teddy Award (Best LGTBQI+ Film) winner No Hard Feelings, Venice Film Festival 2019 Best First Feature winner You Will Die at Twenty, Venice Film Festival 2019 Best Film (Venice Days) winner The Long Walk, Venice Film Festival 2019 Best Actor and Toronto International Film Festival 2019 Best Film (Platform) winner Martin Eden and Palme D’Or winning director Kore-eada Hirokazu (Shoplifters, NZIFF18) returns to the Festival with French language feature The Truth, starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke.

Having its world premiere at Whānau Mārama is Steelers – The World’s First Gay Rugby Club, a debut documentary from New York-based Australian news reporter Eammon Ashton-Atkinson. The film tells the story of the world’s first gay rugby club and was scheduled to premiere at BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival but the festival was cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19.

Options for younger film fans and their families have also been increased in the 2020 programme with four feature films and two collections of animation shorts – Animation for Kids 4+ and Animation for Kids 8+.

The Festival has previously announced four New Zealand films and a web series will have their world premieres and will be presented in cinema and online. Both New Zealand’s Best and Ngā Whanaunga Māori and Pasifika Shorts programmes will also have in-cinema and online screenings.

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2020 will also include a programme of extra events in cinemas and online. Details for these are being finalised, but will include filmmaker introductions, Q&As, discussion forums, awards ceremonies and masterclasses.
“We are talking to filmmakers around the world who are eager to be part of these extra features to enhance the festival experience for our audiences,” Rabarts said.

Details of how to watch NZIFF At Home – Online have also been released today. Films are only available to watch within New Zealand and films will be able to be viewed through a variety of devices provided a broadband connection is available.

One film – Ellie and Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) – will be available for one night only on Saturday 1 August, while another 26 films will have premiere screenings and then will be available to rent for up to a week. The remaining films will be available for rental with varying start dates.

Tickets for premiere screenings will be on sale from 10 July, while rental options will be available to purchase from the first available screening date.
The Festival encourages people to start planning their Festival now by using the re-designed interactive online programme and the familiar Wishlist function on the website, and by setting up their accounts. A test film is available for account holders to check compatibility with their preferred devices