Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival will take place this year in July and August in 13 towns and cities.
New Zealand Film Festival Trust chair Catherine Fitzgerald said the film festival is delighted to confirm it will be going ahead in 2022 after carefully considering a range of options given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its impacts on the 2020 and 2021 festivals.
“We know our loyal film festival fans will be very pleased to hear this news today.”
Fitzgerald said NZIFF 2022 will be a more focused version while NZFFT makes a staged rebuild coming out of the Covid-19 impacted festivals.
“We’re taking a responsible approach to reduce financial risk and utilise the resources available while continuing to support the cinema industry with a focus on the in-cinema experience, deliver the highest quality experience to our audiences, and maximise the opportunities to provide a solid base on which we can build for 2023.”
Covid-19 impacted on ticket sales income in both 2020 and 2021.
“We are very proud to have been able to continue to present the film festival through the pandemic in different ways – as a hybrid festival in 2020 and then in 2021 in cinemas in 11 towns and cities nationwide. However, cancelling Auckland and Hamilton due to the ongoing lockdown, and presenting under Level 2 restrictions which saw a considerable reduction in capacity due to the physical distancing requirements, had a significant impact on our gross revenue.
“We have worked very closely with Manatū Taonga: Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga: New Zealand Film Commission on providing additional funding to ensure the future of NZFFT and the film festival. We are constantly monitoring the situation with regards to Covid-19 and restrictions and MCH’s Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme provides us with confidence to be able to go ahead with the film festival this year.”
The scope of NZIFF 2022 will see a shorter festival in all centres, fewer venues and fewer films, but with a commitment to retain the high quality of programming and calibre of titles which are at the heart of the film festival.
NZIFF 2022 has been confirmed for 13 towns and cities – Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin and Gore – opening at Auckland’s majestic The Civic on Thursday 28 July and running until Sunday 7 August, with Wellington to open the following week at the iconic Embassy Theatre.
Dunedin and Christchurch both open on Thursday 11 August and full details for the festival in the regional centres are still to be confirmed with dates between 11 August to 4 September.
As well as The Civic, NZIFF 2022 in Auckland will also be at ASB Waterfront Theatre, with selected weekend screenings at Hollywood Avondale. In Wellington, NZIFF 2022 will be at Embassy Theatre and Roxy Cinemas, while in Christchurch the festival will be based at Lumière Cinemas, and in Dunedin screenings will be at Rialto Cinemas Dunedin.
General Manager Sally Woodfield said that careful consideration had been given to the venues for 2022 and this smaller scale festival was a one-off while NZFFT rebuilds its base for the future.
“We expect to be back in all our usual venues plus a few more for 2023.”
Woodfield said 50-60 films would feature in the programme for the four main cities with the potential for Auckland to also have additional films from the 2021 programme, and a smaller programme of films would screen in the regional centres.
Woodfield said that while the programme will feature fewer films in 2022, there will be a strong focus on festival films direct from Cannes and other major global festivals, together with providing an all-important showcase for New Zealand films – documentaries, features and the well-established shorts selections, New Zealand’s Best and Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts.
The programming for 2022 is led by Head of Programming Michael McDonnell who has been part of the programming team at NZFFT for 21 years.
He is supported by Paris-based Senior Programmer Sandra Reid who clocks up 28 years with NZFFT, and specialist programmers for the Incredibly Strange and Animation Now strands, together with programmers of films for all ages (Square Eyes), and Māori and Pasifika films.
“We have a fantastic programming team with considerable expertise and depth who have been attending a variety of global film festivals this year including Sundance and Berlin, in search of the best films for NZIFF 2022. We look forward to announcing some of the films for NZIFF 2022 in coming weeks.”
Recruitment for a new artistic director to replace Marten Rabarts who left NZFFT last November, will take place this year.