The New Zealand International Film Festival

19 July – 12 August in Auckland but showing all over the country

The has been going on for donkey’s years and it is a terrific mix of new films, old films, weird and wonderful stories that resonate for years after you see them. You may think that you can see films anywhere, and yes, this is true but there are three good reasons to see them on your trip.


Firstly, it is a great opportunity to see New Zealand films and documentaries. We have some wonderful film-makers  here. There has been a huge amount of investment in the film industry and a lot of filming in the country so our aspiring directors have had the opportunity to work on some terrific projects – Lord of the Rings, Avatar etc – and learn their craft. They are now telling stories about New Zealand that you may not otherwise find out about. If you are interested in bringing up boys - Celia Lashlie – or a movie about a New Zealand ballet based on a New Zealand movie, there will be a feature – or a short – that will appeal to you.

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Secondly, it is an opportunity to visit , which is an atmospheric cinema. Atmospheric because it is designed for audiences to feel as if they are in a courtyard in Moorish Spain, with stars and clouds moving across the sky. They used to have dancing girls and an organ that would ascend and descend on one side of the stage, that is if they weren’t using the full orchestra underneath. The dancing girls may have gone but this is still one of Auckland’s most beloved landmarks and seeing a film there is a real treat.

Thirdly, it is great going on holiday and doing things you don’t normally do, but you do things you normally do for a reason – you like them. So, if you love films, and have never been that interested in curiously-shaped rocks, go and see a film. Enjoy Auckland cinema the way the locals do, with an ice cream dipped into popcorn (though that may be just my husband) or a glass of good New Zealand wine.

Olivia Coote