Wellington's Film Festival line-up

Last updated 05:00 28/06/2012
Loren Taylor
Loren Taylor stars in Kiwi film Existence as Freya, who refuses to submit to the law and seeks forbidden knowledge.

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We still have to wait a month until opening night, but today the New Zealand International Film Festival in Wellington unveils its complete programme. Tom Cardy reports.

A Post-apocalyptic Kiwi feature and a rare chance to see a 1920s classic are two Wellington-only highlights at the New Zealand International Film Festival from next month.

The full programme for the 17-day film festival, which runs from July 27 to August 12, will be unveiled tonight.

While there's some crossover between cities where the festival is held, some films screen in only one centre.

Wellington's 144 feature titles includes Existence, a much-anticipated Kiwi feature shot in Wellington. The producers have described it as a "salvage-punk Western set in a post-apocalyptic future" and the film includes a future language called "Riderspeak".

Co-written and directed by Juliet Bergh, there are scenes on treeless windswept hills overlooking Cook Strait, a toxic sea and an electric fence powered by huge wind turbines and patrolled by armed horsemen.

Loren Taylor, who co-starred with Jemaine Clement in Eagle vs Shark as Loren Horsley, stars as Freya, who refuses to submit to the law and seeks forbidden knowledge. (Paramount, August 3, 7pm, and August 6, 1.45pm.)

Existence is the first film released under the New Zealand Film Commission's low-budget Escalator scheme.

Mantrap, a 1926 classic starring Clara Bow, has a live music accompaniment from ensemble City Oh Sigh. Bow plays a woman who impulsively marries a much older mountain man, then meets a New York lawyer who is seeking refuge in the woods. The two are thrown together in a cross-country chase.

Mantrap was directed by Victor Fleming, best known for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind and great Hollywood cinematographer James Wong Howe. (Paramount, August 12, 4pm.)

Other films announced for the festival include the Sir Peter Jackson-produced documentary West of Memphis and 10 New Zealand documentaries, including Wellington film-maker Costa Botes' acclaimed The Last Dogs of Winter.

Music-oriented films include Jonathan Demme's Neil Young Journeys and American indie electro outfit LCD Soundsystem's Shut Up and Play the Hits.

Several award winners and festival favourites also feature, such as Michael Haneke's Amour, this year's Palme d'Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival, and another hit at the festival, the French film Holy Motors.

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Classic screenings include Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.

The Incredibly Strange section includes the documentary Room 237: Being an Inquiry into The Shining in 9 Parts about the film and those obsessed with it, as well as Josh Whedon's A Cabin the Woods, which subverts the Evil Dead horror sub-genre in much the same way that Scream did with slasher films.

The Details

New Zealand International Film Festival, July 27-August 12 at Embassy Theatre, Paramount, Soundings Theatre, Te Papa, The Film Archive, Penthouse Cinema, Roxy Cinema and City Gallery Wellington.

For full details and screening dates, go to nzff.co.nz

- The Dominion Post

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