Whanganui Film Society's 2019 season is about to get under way with two new faces sharing the role of president.

David Mulholland and Sarah Sundman share a love for film and have decided to share responsibility for overseeing weekly screenings and special events this year.

"I was elected president of the Whanganui Film Society at its AGM last November," says Mulholland.

"Sarah became an informal vice president but we're choosing to share the role and call ourselves co-presidents."


Long-serving former president Helen Marie O'Connell was elected national president of the New Zealand Film Society last year and will remain a member of the Whanganui committee.

"We really appreciate her hard work and that she will be around to advise us when we need it."

The pair say audience numbers grew considerably last year and they encourage Whanganui film fans to attend a pre-season public screening on February 25.

The Music of Strangers tells the story of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble comprising a diverse group of international musicians formed in 2000.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville follows Ma's quest to uncover Leonard Bernstein's theoretical "universal language of music", and discover the connections he has formed.

The ensemble includes Spanish bagpiper Cristina Pato, known as "the Jimi Hendrix of Galicia", Iranian exile and acclaimed kamancheh player, Kayhan Kalhor, Damascus-born clarinettist Kinan Azmeh and Chinese musician Wu Man who is a master of the stringed instrument, known as the pipa.

Sundman says she hopes the screening will encourage people to join the society and attend the regular Monday night screenings throughout the year.

"There really is something for everyone and the reasonable fees mean that you can attend the ones that interest you most and still get really good value for your money.


"You can purchase a three-film sampler for $27 and then pay the difference of just $23 for a half year membership which gives admission to 20 screenings."

Mulholland says there are hot drinks and ice creams available at all screenings and a chance to meet new people.

"We would like to facilitate post-film drinks at a local venue so people can talk about the film they have just seen or just socialise."

The 2019 season will begin on March 4 with Tanna - a true tale of forbidden love in the Vanuatu highlands made by Australian directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble. Davis Theatre, Whanganui Regional Museum, Watt St. Monday, February 25 at 7pm. Entry to all by donation (suggested $10 per adult)​. To find out more visit Whanganui Film Society.