NZIFF celebrates 50 years and the late Bill Gosden with special screenings


NZIFF announces a special screening in celebration of its 50th birthday as well as tribute screenings in honour of the late Bill Gosden.

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) will celebrate 50 years of the film festival in Wellington with a special screening event at The Embassy. In addition, a curated programme in honour of former Director, Bill Gosden, will play in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

To mark its 50th, NZIFF will present a screening of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant at Wellington’s The Embassy on Sunday, November 7. The film, which originally screened at the third festival in 1974, will be presented by Wellington Film Festival founder Lindsay Shelton and is a nod to the early ‘Fassbinder years’ of the festival which saw a raft of the prolific German directors’ films programmed in quick succession.

“NZIFF is extremely proud to celebrate 50 years of the festival in Wellington. From its beginnings, it has captivated the hearts and minds of Wellingtonians, and it is one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar,” says Festival Director Marten Rabarts.

“It’s wonderful to reflect on how the festival has evolved over the decades and recognise the part that the festival has played in the local film industry. We’re very thankful to Wellingtonians who continue to embrace the festival with such enthusiasm each year and we’re delighted that we will be screening a full programme of films in The Embassy daily during the festival.”

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

NZIFF will also honour the 40-year legacy of the late Bill Gosden, festival director extraordinaire, with a curated programme of his favourite titles: Beau Travail, Beautiful Thing, Blissfully Yours, Brief Encounters, Flowers of Shanghai, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, Snakeskin and Written on the Wind.

“We are honoured to remember Bill Gosden’s enormous contribution to NZIFF with this collection of films that we know he would wholeheartedly approve of. Bill lived and breathed film and put everything into ensuring that the festival was an unmissable annual event. He was one of the most influential figures that the New Zealand film industry has seen, and we look forward to remembering his legacy with these films,” says Catherine Fitzgerald, Chair of the New Zealand Film Festival Trust.

The festival programme will feature Bill’s original notes for many of these titles.

Beau Travail

The Bill Gosden Tribute programme will also include the launch of Victoria University Press’ forthcoming book, The Gosden Years, due for release on 11 November. Edited by Dame Gaylene Preston and Tim Wong and conceived by Gosden during the last months of his life, the book comprises his curated film notes, praise for vital New Zealand films, programme introductions that illuminate the changing technologies and politics of film exhibition through the decades and festival poster art from every year of his tenure.

Click here for more details about The Gosden Years and here for NZIFF’s 2021 dates and venues. Sadly, the Auckland leg of the festival has been cancelled.