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Whanau Marama: NZIFF announces NZ features to screen in 2022

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Whanau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) today reveals its line-up of impressive New Zealand feature films that have been selected to screen at the 2022 festival so far. Rich in storytelling, the themes of resilience, survival, and hope run deep in many of the titles.

Making their feature film directorial debuts are Nina Nawalowalo with A Boy Called Piano - The Story of Fa'amoana John Luafutu, and Welby Ings with Punch.

Adapted from the stage to the screen, A Boy Called Piano is an incredibly moving documentary detailing the remarkable story of Fa’amoana’s time as a state ward in the 1960’s and the intergenerational impacts of these experiences. The film was recently awarded Best Feature Documentary at the Montreal Independent Film Festival.

Punch, shot against the black sand backdrop of Tāmaki Makaurau’s West Coast beaches, has its world premiere at NZIFF 2022. This contemporary coming-of-age story set in small-town New Zealand stars Academy Award-nominee Tim Roth and newcomers Jordan Oosterhof and Conan Hayes.

Veteran independent documentary-maker Costa Botes (Forgotten Silver, Act of Kindness, Angie) returns to the festival with the world premiere of observational documentary When the Cows Come Home, charting the unusual life of musician, journalist, artist and cow whisperer, Andrew Johnstone. Interviewing Johnstone and family and friends involved in the various phases of Johnstone’s evolution, it seems as though Botes, himself a one-man production company, has found a kindred spirit in this offbeat bohemian.

Also making its world premiere at the festival is Geoff Dixon - Portraits of Us from filmmakers Glenis Giles and Clare O'Leary. The film is an intimate deep-dive into the world of New Zealand-born Australian-based visual artist Geoff Dixon whose work confronts the fragility of the natural world and seeks to raise awareness of issues of climate change and endangered species.

Anthology films Kāinga and We Are Still Here will treat audiences to the immense talents of a pool of filmmakers, bringing together a raft of Pan-Asian and Indigenous filmmakers respectively.

The final film of the trilogy that includes critically acclaimed films Waru (NZIFF 2017) and Vai (2019), Kāinga features stories written and directed by 11 Kiwi Pan-Asian female filmmakers from Māori Chinese Aotearoa, China, Philippines, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar and Tamil Eelam descent that chronicle the diverse, ever-changing experiences of Asians trying to make Aotearoa New Zealand their home.

Conceived as a cinematic response to the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s arrival in the South Pacific, We Are Still Here interweaves eight stories from 10 New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific directors that traverse 1000 years, from past, present, and future. The films explore stories of kinship, loss, grief, and resilience and show the strength of love and hope to overcome shared traumas that First Nations people have continued to face.

"We’re always proud to showcase homegrown cinema in the festival and it’s an honour to share this world-class Kiwi line-up to audiences around Aotearoa this winter," says NZIFF General Manager Sally Woodfield.

"We encourage New Zealanders to experience these beautifully crafted films on the big screen and support local filmmakers."

NZIFF will also present Auckland premieres of a few films from its 2021 programme that weren’t able to screen in the city last year, including Shirley Horrocks’ Juliet Gerrard: Science in Dark Times, planetarium audio-visual experience Path 99 (screening at Auckland’s Stardome Observatory) and the colourised version of Florian Habicht’s modern cult classic Woodenhead (NZIFF 2003).

More New Zealand feature films will be announced when the full festival programme is revealed in July.

NZIFF opens in Auckland on Thursday 28 July, followed by Wellington on the following Thursday, 4 August, Christchurch on 5 August and Dunedin on 11 August. The remaining centres will span August. Aotearoa New Zealand films screening at NZIFF 2022 are proudly supported by Resene.

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