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40th Auckland Festival - Record Number of NZ films

2008 Film Festival Presents Record Number Of New Zealand Feature-Length Films With Top Billing For Auckland Filmmaker Sima Urale

The 2008 New Zealand International Film Festivals opens the 40th year of the Auckland International Film Festival with the World Premiere of Sima Urale’s family drama Apron Strings, and hosts a national line-up featuring the biggest ever selection of New Zealand films.

Apron Strings will be the first of 14 feature-length films to screen in the Auckland International and Wellington Film Festivals; many of these films will also travel to other New Zealand cities. Apron Strings is mostly shot in Otahuhu, Auckland, and reflects Auckland’s growing ethnic diversity – a fitting choice to open the city’s Festival. Scott Wills, Jennifer Ludlam, Jodie Rimmer and Bollywood star Laila Rouass, among others, bring vibrant performances to this highly charged domestic drama that centres around two families (Indian and Pakeha), their mother-son relationships, and the strength and vulnerability of family ties.

Apron Strings isn't simply a story about women,” says Sima Urale. “It's about their sons and the next generation; the changing face of New Zealand… and the age-old conflict between traditional and modern… which also reminds us we have more in common with each other across cultures than we think.” Urale, whose short films have screened at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals, makes her eagerly awaited feature debut with this film.

This year’s wide and varied New Zealand programme is a mix of features and documentaries by both respected directors from past Festivals and filmmakers making their Festival debuts.

Film Festival Director Bill Gosden says, “It’s been a great pleasure over the last year to discover so much New Zealand work that just leapt up and demanded the wider exposure the Festivals can offer. The sheer range of New Zealanders on screen makes it abundantly clear that our culture is becoming increasingly and excitingly inclusive.”

The Festival will showcase the following new works from New Zealand directors who have featured in earlier Festivals:

Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children is a deeply moving story that re-connects with the elderly Tūhoe woman who was at the centre of his documentary In Spring One Plants Alone, which debuted in the 1980 Festival.
Florian Habicht (Kaikohe Demolition) brings us Rubbings From a Live Man. It is a new take on documentary films as the subject, artist Warwick Broadhead, performs the highs and lows of his not so ordinary life.

Gregory King (Christmas) returns with a high-impact Kiwi suburban crime drama A Song of Good.

Gerard Smyth’s (Out of Sight) Barefoot Cinema is an intimate documentary about the life and art of celebrated cinematographer and West Coast homebody Alun Bollinger.

Costa Botes (Saving Grace, Struggle No More) delivers an inspired portrait of blues musician Dave Murphy in Yes, That’s Me. SCREENING IN WELLINGTON ONLY.

Robin Greenburg’s (He Waka Hono Tangata) Huloo introduces us to the remarkable life of New Zealand’s very own T’ai Chi master, Hu Loo-Chi. SCREENING IN WELLINGTON & CHRISTCHURCH ONLY.

Alister Barry’s (Someone Else’s Country) new investigative documentary The Hollow Men reveals the “stolen” insider emails of Nicky Hager’s best-selling account of the 2004 election campaign.

The New Zealand filmmakers making their first-ever Festival appearances are:

Athina Tsoulis’ Jinx Sister follows estranged adult sisters who are warily reunited in an engagingly acted drama of family secrets and lies. SCREENING IN AUCKLAND ONLY.

Pietra Brettkelly’s The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, a Sundance-acclaimed portrait of controversial art world star Vanessa Beecroft.

Juliette Veber’s Trouble Is My Business, a documentary about a dedicated and unconventional former Assistant Principal at Aorere College in Mangere.

Bryn Evans’s From Street to Sky, a warm biography of local roots musician and Rastafarian Tigilau Ness, whose quest for unity in the Pacific has taken him from protest to peace.

Will Moore’s Clash of the Titans follows local rappers and freestylers as they compete for the title of Wellington’s best battle emcee. SCREENING IN WELLINGTON ONLY.

Kathy Dudding’s The Return, an impressionistic portrait of Wellington city contrasting present day and archival footage of the city from the early 20th century. SCREENING IN WELLINGTON ONLY.


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