Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Talking the NZIFF with festival director Bill Gosden

Talking the NZIFF with festival director Bill Gosden

The Auckland leg of the New Zealand International Film Festival may be over, but the Festival's rumbling on nationwide like a cinematic truck, packed full of delicious celluloid delights. Before the convoy left town, director Bill Gosden shared his thoughts on the event this year - and what lies ahead for both the regions - and 2015...

Hello, how are you?
The cold has entered the sinus phase.

We’re nearing the end of Auckland’s festival, how’s it been for you and the team?
Exhausting, of course, but very satisfying, give or take a couple of subtitle issues, the new trouble-spot of the DCP era.

What have been the highlights of the festival so far for you?
The Dark Horse, Housebound and Ross & Beth getting the love they deserve.

What’s been the one moment that impressed you most at the festival so far?
The collective sigh of disappointment from 500 children at our Civic school session when they realised that the animation programme had come to an end.

How have the crowds been – have you seen an improvement on numbers this year?
About 1,000 ahead of 2013.

There have been some highs too – major Hollywood stars at The Dark Horse premieres, Jarvis Cocker skyping in – what’s been your favourite reaction?
The pin-drop silence through the last act of The Dark Horse. The pandemonium of laughter and applause going into the opening credits of Wild Tales.

What’s been the most popular film so far?
Boyhood and Dior and I  played to huge houses one after the other – and seem to have met with universal praise.

Conversely, what’s been the one film that Aucklanders made a mistake in not embracing?
I expected people to flock to Salt of the Earth, the Sebastiao Salgado documentary, and was surprised when so few festival goers knew his work.

Which films have you actually snuck into and enjoyed? (We spotted you at It Follows…)
I felt particularly sneaky about seeing Force Majeure and The Lady from Shanghai so early in the piece. Having an office a few metres from the back row of the Civic stalls puts temptation permanently in my path.

The festival’s in full swing in Wellington now – how’s that going there?
Very well. As in Auckland, dismal weather has been on our side this year.

And it’s off around the regions – that must be exciting…
I’m especially looking forward to the South Island premiere of Housebound in Gore. Everyone tells me the St James Theatre there is fantastic. It’s time to find out for myself.

What’s the one film that you feel deserves a life beyond the festival and why?
Just one? NZIFF should be the first step in a long NZ career for any film we show.

How quickly do you think you’ll start looking at planning next year – and how do you think you can improve on this year’s festival?
The planning never stops. We’d love to see more international guests and more live music.

Just finally, if you had to sum this year’s festival up in just a few words, what would those words be?
It felt trimmer and more energetic this year – and I hope to be able to say the same thing about myself in a few weeks time...

For the full programme from around the regions, visit the New Zealand International Film Festival website at

And for a range of reviews from the 2014 New Zealand International Film Festival, just scroll back over the past few weeks on this very blog.

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