The annual NZ International Film Festival is right around the corner as the programme rolls out a variety of shorts and feature-length films from NZ and all around the world.

There is all sorts on offer with animation, reality, ‘incredibly strange’, music and dance, artists, ‘fresh’ and live cinema and retro all finding a home under the festival’s big lights from Hollywood heavyweights to debut directors, we share a couple of our favourite picks from a programme that is full of delights.

This Changes Everything, directed by Tom Donahue      

Found in the ‘Women in Cinema’ section of the festival, this film follows on from the #MeToo and the #TimesUp movements. Hollywood actresses join forces to speak. Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Chloe Grace Moretz and Taraji P. Henson are just a few of the female powerhouses to be featured in this documentary, alongside executive producer Geena Davis.

The Day Shall Come, directed by Chris Morris 

Anna Kendrick tackles a new role in this ‘fresh’ project from director Chris Morris. Kendra Glack (Kendrick) is an FBI agent trying to impress her boss while Moses (played by newcomer Marchant Davis) is a preacher with somewhat weird beliefs who cross paths in this funny follow-up to his festival hit Four Lions.

Jawline, directed by Liza Mandelup

The world of wannabe online influencers is getting crazier, so it’s not surprising Liza Mandelup wanted to base her next project delving into aspiring star Austyn Tester’s journey from trying to escape his hometown and get deep down into the nitty and gritty of ‘online fame’. This expose picked up a Special Jury Award at Sundance 2019.

Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller

This 2019 flick comes out of U.S. and delves straight into the first moon landing as if we were there 50 years ago – it takes you all the way into the lunar surface. This Sundance and SXSW entry took archived footage and 11,000 hours of audio to produce a 93 minute big screen experience.

The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang

Crazy Rich Asians favourite Awkwafina leads this drama as a Chinese family gathers to farewell the matriarch, profiling an immigrant experience that would be relatable for many diaspora. Lulu Wang’s The Farewell follows Billi, a struggling NYC artist (Awkwafina), who learns that her beloved grandma is dying of cancer – it’s a journey that is sad, warm and rich all at the same time.

Brittany Runs a Marathon, directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo

The Sundance comedy presents director Paul’s debut feature with Rough Night’s Jillian Bell as Brittany, a twenty-something party gal who’s life is catching up to her somehow stumbles into running and starts a wild dream of running the New York Marathon – what could go wrong? This picked up the Audience Award nod at Sundance for Bell’s comedic performance.

Yuli, directed by Iciar Bollain

Cuban choreographer and ballet dancer Carlos Acosta opens up his life story to the world in Yuli. Director Iciar Bollain shows Carlos’ journey to ‘one of the greats’ through re-enactments to filmed moments artistically directed by Acosta himself. His father was the instigator in his early years as Pedro ‘dragged’ Carlos into Havana’s ballet school to get him off the streets.

For My Father’s Kingdom, directed by Vea and Jeremiah

Pasifika filmmakers Jeremiah Tauamiti and Vea Mafile’o present their Aotearoa entry (which also entered in Berlin this year) about Sia Mafile’o and his four children. The 97 minute raw and honest documentary celebrates his love for church and his country, Tonga, which grows in more ways than he could have ever anticipated after a trip to the homeland.

Inventing Tomorrow, directed by Laura Nix

Young people are doing extraordinary things daily and the youth featured in Laura Nix’s Inventing Tomorrow are no exception. Young minds work on preparing projects on their plans to ‘develop practical solutions to their local eco challenges’ – they are all from a variety of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds but are encouraged to work with the resources and imagination they have. These thinking-globally, acting-locally talents are the future.

American Woman, directed by Jake Scott

Sienna Miller’s performance in Jake Scott’s American Woman has been praised by Vogue as the ‘greatest role’ of her career. Deb (Miller) was a young mother who soon became a young grandmother which got turned even more on its head when her daughter goes out one night and never returns – Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks join the cast on this deep life mystery flick.

The International Film Festival is in multiple regions around the country including Auckland (18th July to 11th August), Wellington (26th July to 11th August) and Christchurch (8th to 25th August) with the various screening timings on their website.

From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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