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New venues but no General admission for Film Festival

Four cinemas in Reading Courtenay Central will present over 250 screenings during the 46th Wellington Film Festival, alongside many more screenings at the Embassy and other established Festival venues. But the Paramount and Soundings are not included as venues for this year’s programme, and there won’t be a screening of the restoration of Buster Keaton’s silent classic The General.

NZIFF programme art by Wellington illustrator Ken Samonte

For the first time since it began in 1972, the Wellington Film Festival will not be using its original venue, The Paramount. The business closed last year, and the building is still awaiting new tenants or redevelopment.

Nor will Soundings Theatre at Te Papa be screening any of the many films, most with multiple screenings, that will be offered to Wellington audiences from 27 July through 12 August.

Instead, four cinemas in the Reading Courtenay Central complex will join the venue roster forthe Festival, with screenings in the large Cinema 2 and smaller cinemas 5, 9 and 10.

The Embassy Theatre, cornerstone and home of the NZIFF, is still very much in the picture, as is the 70-seater Embassy Deluxe downstairs.

Screenings will also continue at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision in Taranaki Street.

Out of the city centre, audiences in Miramar, Brooklyn and Petone will be able to take advantage of the biggest capacity rooms at The Roxy Cinema in Miramar, Penthouse Cinema and the Lighthouse Cinema respectively.

The NZIFF runs its own ticketing system, so audiences won’t be able to use the self-service kiosks at Reading, but there will be a box office in the Reading Courtyard, and ticketing online at

Beverages from the Reading candy bar, Gold Lounge and the Steer & Beer restaurant in the complex can be taken into the cinemas, and some special deals are planned for NZIFF ticket holders.

A number of Festival films have already been announced with a 30-strong representation from the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, a large New Zealand contingent, and four classic retrospective movies.

The Wellington programme does not include one of the highlights of the 50th anniversary Auckland programme: the 4K restoration of Buster Keaton’s 1926 silent comedy classic The General, presented as a live cinema screening with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra performing Carl Davis’ score, conducted by Peter Scholes.

All will be revealed when the full programme schedule goes live online at 7.00pm tonight at

Printed programmes will be in letterboxes, venues and distribution stands around Wellington streets tomorrow.

The Wellington App will look at some of the Festival highlights next week.