The Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival has announced its full programme, and organisers aren't letting a global pandemic derail movie magic.

Festival organisers had previously announced viewers would hold the festival entirely online, but in the wake of New Zealand moving to Covid-19 alert level one, moviegoers can now also catch 27 of the festival's films in select theatres and venues in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Movies have been confirmed for screening at Auckland's ASB Waterfront Theatre and the Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch, and additional in-cinema screening times will be announced next week.

The festival kicks off with a bang on July 24 with the True History of the Kelly Gang - 1917's George MacKay and New Zealand's own Thomasin McKenzie (Jojo Rabbit), Russell Crowe, and musician Marlon Williams star. The film will also be available online concurrently when it screens in-cinema.


All 79 feature films and seven collections of short films screening during the festival will be available online. A programme of special Q&A's, panels, ceremonies, and more are yet to be announced. These too will screen online and feature in cinemas.

"Bringing together this year's programme of films has certainly been challenging as we've responded to the constantly changing landscape globally and in New Zealand," Festival Director Marten Rabarts said.

"In March as Covid-19 led the world towards lockdown we made the decision to take the Festival online, rejecting the only other option at that time which would have been outright cancellation.

"Since then we've been working tirelessly to secure a strong programme of films and upgrade our video on demand platform to bring the festival to a nationwide audience."

This year, the film festival includes a special collection called EUROPE!: Voices of Women in Film.

Tickets for the premiere screenings are available from July 10, and films will be available to rent from the first available screening date.

The full festival line-up is available online from 9am today on the festival's website, and it's the best place to check how to rent and watch the movies throughout the festival.

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival runs from July 24 to August 2.



Jazz Thornton in The Girl On The Bridge. Photo / Supplied
Jazz Thornton in The Girl On The Bridge. Photo / Supplied

1. True History of the Kelly Gang

The Australian film is based on Peter Carey's novel about wild bushranger Ned Kelly and his gang of outlaws in the 1870's. The LA Times' verdict: "[It] strikes just the right balance of scary and crazy."

2. Before Everest

Director Richard Riddiford was inspired to make this film after reading a line about his dad Earle in Sir Edmund Hilary's biography: "I'd never share a rope with him." The documentary unpacks daughter Anna Riddiford's search for answers and understanding about her mountaineer father.

3. The Girl on the Bridge

You may remember Jazz Thornton from the documentary Jessica's Tree, and now she's the subject of a film of her own. Directed by Leanne Pooley, the powerful doco follows mental health advocate Thornton over two years.


4. Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)

Featuring Kiwi actress Rachel House, this Australian coming of age film follows 17-year-old Ellie as she finds the courage to accept her sexuality. She's helped along thanks to her dead Aunt Tara, who takes on the role of her lesbian fairy godmother.

5. Steelers - The World's First Gay Rugby Club

This debut documentary from Australian reporter Eammon Ashton-Atkinson has its world premiere at NZIFF. The film follows three intriguing characters at the rugby club and the reporter's journey from depression to finding hope where he least expects it.