Friday, 29 June 2012

NZ Film Festival tickets go on sale today

NZ Film Festival tickets go on sale today

With tickets hitting the streets, I caught up with director Bill Gosden to get his thoughts on the 2012 NZ Film Festival, opening in Auckland on July 19th.

Tickets for the New Zealand International Film Festival's Auckland leg go on sale this morning. It follows the Wellington launch of the festival programme last night.

We caught up with Bill Gosden, the director of the NZ International Film Festival to get his thoughts on the upcoming event, which kicks off in Auckland on July 19th before heading nationwide.

Another year, another NZIFF- how do you manage to keep so many secrets for so long? A simple policy of intimidation reinforced through strategic annihilation of the loose-lipped.

Every year you manage to secure some of the best from Cannes - and this year's no different. Of the big hitters, what's the film you're most pleased to have got? The ones that were the hardest to get and came in very late accrue extra value in the process, dammit.
The restoration of Hitchcock's Blackmail involved innumerable clearances so early in its new life. The Chilean No on the main programme and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers on Ant's were major eleventh-hour coups. Big ups to Ant for scoring the latter.

There are a few older films in the line up as well this year - what was the thinking behind that?
I've never wanted NZIFF to be confined to the new. Sadly, we can't afford full director retrospectives these days, but the opportunity to showcase new digital restorations of three very different Hollywood classics is irresistible. Away from Hollywood, The Flight of the Norge is an amazing novelty. It's such a beautiful restoration that its enthusiasm for what seemed futuristic in 1926 still seems bright and fresh.

Why the choice of a Hitchcock for the live cinema this year?
Hell, this is something I wanted the moment I heard it was being restored - and that Neil Brand would be composing an orchestral score. The repertoire of silent-era movies worth showing is extensive - but the repertoire available in Civic-worthy prints with terrific written scores is something we are constantly scouting.

How would you define the spirit of the festival and the festival goers?
Inexhaustible - I hope!

The technology of the festival has changed a little this year - what difference will DCP (Digital Cinema Projection) bring to the screenings?
The change has been massive and swift. Last year, we contrived temporary arrangements for a mere three digital screenings at the Civic. This year it's the other way around.  There are three 35mm prints programmed there and everything else is on DCP.  Focus problems in projection will be a thing of the past, which is not to say that DCP does not bring a whole new set of technical challenges that may from time to time impact on presentation.

The New Zealand contingent is particularly strong this year - including the premiere of director Costa Botes' latest. It must be quite the boon to have such strong local films to push? You bet. This year we'll have a lot of New Zealand filmmakers jostling for attention. We were astounded as the films came into us and we watched the numbers grew. And don't forget we just premiered Mental Notes and Te Hono ki Aotearoa at the Showcase. It's been a busy year.
What's the one section of the film festival this year that you hope people will embrace? Every seat sold for the Slow section feels like a vindication. 

The best thing about the festival is the surprise of seeing something unexpected on the big screen - what are this year's films which knocked you out of your seat?
Vivan las antipodas!, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Minister, In Darkness, Neighbouring Sounds.
And there are so many more, especially Cannes films, that I expect to have a similar impact - which disqualifies them from your "unexpected" category. There are also films I seriously relish which could never be called knockouts, because their force is so much more subtle:  I Wish, for example, and Alyx Duncan's The Red House.
What would be an ideal day of viewing at the festival for you? A perfect Sunday at the Festival begins when I look out my window, check out the sky and ascertain that across Auckland it's a perfect day for indoor pursuits.
A morning documentary at the Civic, Raymond Depardon's Journal de France perhaps, is followed by a SKYCITY Theatre World Premiere of a new Kiwi film. The filmmaker is delighted by the projection. The audience is delighted by the film. The Q+A is lively.  An exercise break at this point would pay dividends ahead of the Australasian premiere of one of those Cannes winners I've yet to see. Then it might be time to sneak into something of Ant's.

The international guests this year are quite the choices as well - Lee Hirsch, one of the West Memphis Three and Sir Peter Jackson, as well as Mads Brugger - what are your hopes for their time at the festival?
Because we're so far off the beaten path audiences have too few opportunities to meet filmmakers.  I sometimes fear it makes us detached and passive filmgoers. It's so good to break down that wall so festival goers have the chance to engage with the life that fuels the life on screen.

Just finally, what would you say to people umming and ahhing over a film choice and not sure whether to go and see something totally alien to them?
If it sounds totally alien, then best ask yourself why you're even thinking about it. You might be on the brink of finding out something very interesting about yourself.

The New Zealand International Film Festival begins in July before heading nationwide.

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