Friday, 10 August 2018

NZIFF 2018 - Festival director Bill Gosden's exit interview

NZIFF 2018 - Festival director Bill Gosden's exit interview

Hey Bill, how are you?
Basking in the success of our final day in Auckland, notably the near perfect performance by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Peter Scholes. Carl Davis’s score is notoriously difficult – full of explosions, lightning bolts and sudden tempo changes that have to be meticulously synchronised with the picture. I doubt it has ever been performed better. And the digitisation of the 2013 restoration looked glorious on the Civic screen.

How's your festival been?
Busy as always, but buoyed by crowds and lots of good feedback about the movies.

We're moving into extra time in Auckland - and of course, Animation Now - what's the feeling about how this year has gone?
Records have been broken. We are very happy. 

You've kicked off Wellington too - and off out to the regions as well, what are the films that have seen plenty of bums on seats here that people shouldn't miss?
Shoplifters, Three Identical Strangers, McQueen, Leave No Trace are four big hits with seats still available almost everywhere else.

A lot of the "outer" regions have been busy to full in Auckland - the expansion plan's worked well hasn't it?
Yep. Unfortunately there’s not a cinema on the North Shore with the capacity of the Hollywood in Avondale.

What's been the film you wish more people would have seen?

What's the 50th been like for you? The poster gallery is something quite beautiful and the clippings are pretty insightful as well - have you had time to reflect?
Yes. I’ve thought long and often about the myriad people who have been such a crucial part of the festival over the years I have been involved. Many are still very much with the festival,  notably Roger Horrocks from the founding committee, and projectionists Don Howie,  Dennis Keith and Bruce Blakeley.

What's been the best Auckland moment?
Final Night. As an elated audience left The General a new one arrived for Sign O’ The Times.

What's been the best - and worst - piece of feedback you've had up here?
Best: lots of love for the festival.  Worst: People complaining that we did not show Three Identical Strangers often enough.

When do we get a coffee table book of the pre-film announcement boards? 
When we can clear publication rights on all the imagery.

Has the diversity this year in terms of retro films as well seen more bums on seats?
Big audiences for Monterey Pop, Orlando, The Swimming Pool and Wings of Desire.  And audiences for the other films, while not huge, seemed appreciative. Liquid Sky was the most divisive, though the accusation that it takes gender warfare lightly seems like a misreading of the era to someone like me who was there. 

What's been the one film you wished you'd seen with audiences but Q&As like this dragged you away?
Burning. But I can see it in Wellington. Yay.

Which are the films that have been box office successes?
Leave No Trace, McQueen, Shoplifters, Three Identical Strangers, Celia, Yellow is Forbidden, Burning, Birds of Passage, Cold War, The Guilty.
Three Identical Strangers
Three Identical Strangers

Do you have any plans to reinstate the Autumn Events?
Hoping so.

Just finally, now Auckland's done, what's the one thing you're looking forward to doing most - away from film of course?

And even more finally now, what plans for year 51?
Support from Creative New Zealand this year enabled us to run a filmmakers’ workshop with Debra Granik, so I am hoping we can build on that. I would always love to expand the Live Cinema programme.

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