The New Zealand International Film Festival is including a record number of nine local documentaries in its 2012 programme.

That includes veteran local documentarian Costa Botes' Last Dogs of Winter which follows New Zealander and former TV actor Caleb Ross to Churchill ("the Polar Bear Capital of the World") in the Canadian province of Manitoba, where he helped local character Brian Ladoon in his unconventional conservation efforts with the Qimmiq, Canada's endangered indigenous Eskimo dog.

The film won acclaim - and featured in TimeOut - when it had its world premiere at last year's Toronto International Film Festival.

Also confirmed in the line-up is Pietra Brettkelly's Maori Boy Genius, the film profiling teenage prodigy Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti as he takes his academic gifts to Yale University.


Among the other New Zealand docos on offer are studies of the nuns of Jerusalem on the Whanganui River (How Far is Heaven); outsider artist Susan King (Pictures of Susan); and artist Edith Collier's time painting landscapes in Ireland (Village by the Sea).

The New Zealand International Film Festival opens in Auckland on July 29 and programmes are due on the streets in the last week of June.

- TimeOut