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Film Festival 2012
Once again New Zealand's film community gathered to celebrate the launch of the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival.
Critics and filmmakers alike packed into Newmarket's Rialto cinema for the chance to get the first look at the programme of cinematic confections to come.
No-one was disappointed.
As a teaser attendees were treated to a choice of two films; Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man, and Phillipe Falardeau's Monsieur Lazhar.
These films perfectly captured the spirit of the festival: one a labour of love that shines a spotlight on the greatest musician few people have heard of, the other an Oscar nominated tale of heartache and healing.
These are the qualities that define the NZFF, the commitment of a crack team of dedicated cinephiles to creating a film festival of international standards out of love rather than profit, and especially to bringing the greatest diversity of quality films to our shores.
It is these qualities, along with a great deal of goodwill and generosity which have allowed the festival to move with the international industry standards to bring the festival into the digital age this year. For festival goers this means that along with having a bevvy of diverse cinema on offer this July, the Civic theatre will be presenting films in studio quality digital format.
For myself I chose Monsieur Lazhar. The film follows the journey of an asylum seeker trying to make sense of his own loss while trying to guide a class of children through their own grief at the unexpected loss of their beloved teacher. Falardeau negotiates the tricky territories of suicide and hate crime with sensitivity to create a film that is buoyant and uplifting out of material that could have so easily plunged into the macabre.
With more than a hundred films scheduled, covering everything from the backstage world of one of the world's most iconic cabaret clubs in Frederick Wiseman's documentary Crazy Horse, to a special presentation of Alfred Hitchcock's silent Blackmail with a live score from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, there is something to suit everyone this year.
There are only three weeks left before the festival kicks off in earnest so start making your own selections now. For ticketing information and session times visit nzff.co.nz
By Haley Beatson
30 June 2012