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Record year for New Zealand International Film Festival

The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has achieved a record year of attendance around New Zealand, breaking the national attendance record set in 2004.

There were 263,017 admissions to NZIFF in 2018 superseding the previous record of 262,260 admittances. The complete programme was made up of 181 feature films and short film collections from 40 countries, and opened in Auckland on 19 July. The festival then screened at a further 13 towns and cities around NZ, concluding on 23 September with an extra screening of Celia, Amanda Millar’s personal documentary about her friend and social advocate Celia Lashlie which proved to be one of the most popular films on the programme this year.

Attendances in Auckland, Wellington and Timaru were the best-ever and extra days of screenings had to be added to accommodate more screenings of the most popular titles. The Auckland Animation NOW! programme, now in its second year as a dedicated festival of animation, also grew.

Amanda Millar’s documentary Celia, about the late Celia Lashlie (above) was one of the most popular NZIFF films. Photo by Taranaki Daily News.

“At a time when we’re all competing with more distractions than ever we’re thrilled that spending time together at the cinema is still an attractive idea for New Zealand audiences,” says NZIFF Director Bill Gosden.

“Other popular films screened throughout the country included Cannes Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters; Leave No Trace, with Kiwi actress Thomasin Harcourt-McKenzie; and the documentaries Three Identical Strangers and Yellow is Forbidden.”

An annual survey of NZIFF attendees has highlighted that a diverse, high-quality film programme, easy-to-use website, and a new venue in Wellington (Reading Cinemas) have all contributed to the growing nationwide success.

“We ask our attendees each year for feedback on the good and the bad. We’re pleased to hear that while ticketing issues continue to present challenges in some regions, the audience does value what we do, how we present it, and in a lot of cases want more of it (ideally scheduled at a time to suit their particular day). We’re now talking with our partners and sponsors to see how we can continue to improve NZIFF. We’re buoyed by the feedback that 98% of questionnaire respondents plan to attend NZIFF again in 2019,” says Gosden.

NZIFF is run by a charitable trust and encourages lively interactions between films, filmmakers and New Zealand audiences in 13 towns and cities around the country. The dates confirmed for NZIFF 2019 are:

  • Auckland, Thursday 18 July – Sunday 4 August 2019
  • Wellington, Friday 26 July – Sunday 11 August 2019
  • Dunedin, Thursday 1 August 2019 – Sunday 18 August 2019
  • Nelson, Wednesday 7 August 2019 – Wednesday 28 August 2019
  • Christchurch, Thursday 8 August 2019 – Sunday 25 August 2019
  • Gore, Thursday 15 August 2019 – Sunday 25 August 2019
  • Timaru, Thursday 15 August 2019 – Sunday 25 August 2019
  • Hamilton, Wednesday 21 August 2019 – Wednesday 18 September 2019
  • Palmerston North, Thursday 22 August 2019 – Sunday 8 September 2019
  • Tauranga, Thursday 22 August 2019 – Sunday 15 September 2019
  • Masterton, Wednesday 28 August 2019 – Wednesday 11 September 2019
  • Hawke’s Bay, Thursday 29 August 2019 – Sunday 15 September 2019
  • New Plymouth, Thursday 29 August 201 – Sunday 15 September 2019