13 Kiwi films included in this year’s NZ International Film Festival


We Were Dangerous, directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, won a top award at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.
We Were Dangerous, directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, won a top award at the recent South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.
There's a strong Kiwi contingent of films, documentaries and shorts in this year's Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

Award winning- film We Were Dangerous will open this year’s festival, playing on opening night.

Following its world premiere in at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival in Texas in March, We Were Dangerous took home the prestigious Special Jury Award for Filmmaking in the Narrative Feature Competition.

Directed by Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, the film tells the fictional story of Nellie (Erana James), Lou (Nathalie Morris) and Daisy (Manaia Hall) who attend an institution for delinquent girls on an isolated island. The trio rail against the system, finding strength in their friendship. But this is challenged when the school’s matron (Rima Te Wiata) divides them.

“The story is set in 1950s New Zealand, in a world where, ridiculously, teenage girls were seen as a risk to society,” explains Stewart-Te Whiu. “It’s a film that celebrates the joy and power of female friendships.”

The film joins eleven other full-length films and 19 shorts to make up the selection of stand-out New Zealand features and documentaries joining the annual film festival’s line up.

Among them is Lucy Lawless’ directorial debut with a raucous documentary exploring the life of another warrior princess — fierce and fearless Kiwi war photojournalist Margaret Moth.

Beginning in Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on July 31, the film festival will also take place in nine other cities around Aotearoa over August and September.

The other New Zealand-made feature films in the festival line up are A Mistake (2024), directed by Christine Jeffs; Alien Weaponry: Kua Tupu Te Ara (2024), directed by Kent Belcher; Grafted (2024), directed by Sasha Rainbow; I Am a Dark River (2024), directed by Tessa Mitchell; Marimari (2024), directed by Paul Wolffram; Night Piece (2024), directed by Bridget Sutherland; Taki Rua Theatre – Breaking Barriers (2024), directed by Whetū Fala; The Haka Party Incident (2024), directed by Katie Wolfe; The House Within (2024), directed by Joshua Prendeville and Never Look Away (2024), directed by Lucy Lawless.

“Aotearoa cinema has reached a defining crossroad,” says the festival’s 2024 Artistic Director Paolo Bertolin.

“With their films, New Zealand filmmakers provide a vibrant kaleidoscope that enables audiences to look at the past and the present through distinctive perspectives,” Bertolin says.

“In this selection, our audiences will discover films that are entertaining, thought-provoking, and deeply affecting. Most of all, they will find a space for conversation and exchange on the beauty and complexity of life in Aotearoa. ”

The film festival has 10 ‘strands’, or themed categories, with a small number of films already announced and the full line-up coming soon.

The categories are:

  • Māhutonga: Illuminating the pathway to the storytellers from Aotearoa is our constellation of Māhutonga – lighting up the Southern Skies via the Southern Cross.
  • Fresh: First narrative features from brand new voices of international cinema.
  • Frames: Works that explore and expand the language of documentary filmmaking.
  • Portraits: Character-driven narrative and documentary films that draw us into the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people.
  • Widescreen: Narrative and documentary films that provide snapshots from diverse realities from across the globe.
  • Nocturnal: An evening strand devoted to irreverent genre and out-of-the-box films.
  • Rhythms: Narrative and documentary films centered around music and its forms
  • Visions: Works showcasing the distinct cinematic style of revered masters and emerging talents.
  • Journeys: Presenting films from specific countries or regions, beginning in The Himalayas.
  • Treasures: A section of hand-picked classics and recently restored films.

NZIFF 2024

Wellington: 31 July to 11 August
Auckland: 7 – 18 August
Dunedin: 14 – 25 August
Christchurch: 15 August to 1 September
Hamilton: 21 August to 4 September
Tauranga: 15 – 28 August
Napier: 21 August to 1 September
New Plymouth: 21 August to 4 September
Masterton: 21 August to 4 September
Nelson: 14 – 25 August


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