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Excitement rises as NZ International Film Festival returns...

03 Jul 2014

It’s that time of year again – the New Zealand International Film Festival is back, and I mean back! With a star studded line up in tow, it’s time to clear your calendar.

Last week the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) announced it will screen 20 films that appeared at the prestigious Cannes film festival last month.

This is great, because New Zealand is often at the end of the queue when it comes to new releases, but this year we'll be among the first to see many of this year's most acclaimed films, due to the NZIFF's early positioning in the international film festival schedule.

Festival director Bill Gosden said the NZIFF's close proximity to the prestigious French festival gives it an edge over other international film festivals.

"I think it's become a defining characteristic of the festival over the last ten years," he said. "We're well-placed to screen many films early on. We get to show films that go on to become world famous before they do."

Gosden described this year's selection as "head-spinning" - his personal favourite is Kiwi horror comedy Housebound, which has premiered to acclaim at various festivals overseas.

Other highlights include Leviathan, an oppressive Russian drama which took home best screenplay at Cannes; 83 year old auteur Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language, an experimental filmic essay in dazzling 3D; artfully detailed Japanese film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, from acclaimed animation house Studio Ghibli; and the NZIFF's closing film, Argentinian satire Wild Tales, a collection of absurd standalone shorts, as well as award winner Maps to the Stars, where Julianne Moore won the Best Actress Award for her performance in David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire.

The complete NZIFF programme became available in Auckland on Tuesday 24 June and in Wellington on Friday 27 June. NZIFF screens in Auckland from 17 July to 3 August, and in Wellington from 25 July to 10 August.

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