Welcome Back!

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“It’s bleak out there,” I’ve been saying to myself as I look out the office window each day at the weather… for weeks now. And frankly, the New Zealand screen industry at this point in time isn’t much better.

The interminable New Zealand Screen Production Rebate Review is still ongoing, no matter the announcement of minor changes to mollify discontent. Perhaps the NZ On Air funding announcements tomorrow will bring some cheer.

But the good news is that the New Zealand International Film Festival is back and in great shape, apart from the bugs that have been plaguing their website and ticketing. Hopefully, all will be sorted by the end of this week.

129 full-length films. Seven short film collections. Nine Aotearoa films having their world premiere. A lot of our members have films in there. There’s much of the best that this year’s Cannes had to offer. And a whole lot more. Going through the 2023 programme reminded me of pre-Covid selections—a wealth of the best arthouse films from around the world on offer—blessings to the late and great NZIFF festival director Bill Gosden. Which isn’t to say that Bill’s replacement Marten Rabarts didn’t make a good go of it. But he was unfortunately hit with the worst of times for cinema and film festivals—the pandemic years.

During COVID and even last year with its small programme, I was a little despondent about not having the winter thrill of sitting enthralled while tales of wonder, sorrow, drama, despair, and entertainment played out on the big screen, with audiences that collectively gasped, smiled, cried… or sometimes puzzled or were dismayed at what they were watching. That’s NZIFF for you. You’re never left unmoved by the choices they have curated.

We, too, are back with our involvement with NZIFF.

DEGANZ is working with the team at the festival on the Masterclass with Rolf de Heer and the panels for visiting directors. Check out Meet The Filmmakers, NZIFF Connect, and NZIFF Engage on page 83 of the programme.

We are also re-igniting our director hosting programme that we ran for many years prior to COVID, providing directorial collegiality and networking opportunities to those international directors accompanying their films here.

I encourage all of you to grab a programme, buy tickets and get your butts onto cinema seats while the festival is on. And don’t neglect those events we are involved with.

Welcome back, NZIFF! I have certainly missed you.


Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 6 July 2023