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International Filmmakers At Film Festival

Media Release
For immediate release
11 July 2008

International Filmmakers At The NZ International Film Festivals

Every year the New Zealand International Film Festivals offer audiences the one-off chance to get insights into what motivates and inspires those who work behind the camera by inviting filmmakers to take part in question and answer sessions at screenings of their films.

This year the Auckland International and Wellington Festivals have six international film directors making special appearances with their work which is wide-ranging varying between 1940s stylised film noir, ‘acid horror’, audacious docudrama, 16mm experimental film, and topical documentary.

Ira Sachs will join us with his latest feature Married Life which relocates British crime novelist John Bingham’s Five Roundabouts to Heaven to the Pacific Northwest in the late 40s. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Rachel Adams the film is an unconventional human drama full of suspense, star-crossed lovers and ironic humour.

Yung Chang brings his cinematic documentary Up the Yangtze to New Zealand screens. This film, filled with stunning imagery of contemporary China, details the impact of Westernisation on the soon-to-be-flooded banks of the Yangtze River. This timely documentary captures a part of China’s history that is all too quickly disappearing.

Adam Wingard’s Pop Skull comes to the Film Festivals as part of The Incredibly Strange Film Festival section. Made on a microbudget, Pop Skull quickly grabbed the attention of major French distribution company Wild Bunch. Ant Timpson, programmer of the ISFF says that “Wingard has created one of the most dazzling and distinctive American independent films since the heyday of the early 90s: its hip sensibility is Lynch before he went into self-parody”.

Benjamin Gilmour’s Son of a Lion is the director’s first feature film and was shot undercover in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, a place that is completely forbidden to foreigners and journalists, let alone filmmakers. The story, starring non-professional native Pashtuns, follows an 11-year-old boy who wants to go to school instead of following his father’s (who in real life helped the mujahideen expel Russians from Afghanistan) footsteps in making guns.

Filmmaker Ben Rivers and Ben Russell present the programme of experimental cinema We Can Not Exist in This World Alone. Combining documentary, ethnography and portraiture “this programme of ten 16mm films [poses] the broader question of what it means to live with hope in an increasingly alienated world”, says filmmaker Ben Russell.

All films screen in the Auckland International and Wellington Film Festivals with Married Life, Son of a Lion and Up the Yangtze travelling further on the Film Festival circuit.

Visits made by international filmmakers to the New Zealand International Film Festivals are made possible by the generous support of Creative New Zealand.

For screening details on the above films and the entire Festival programme please visit


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