By Naheed Saeid
New Zealanders will gain a ‘window to the world’ as the 44th New Zealand International Film Festival (NZFF) hits cinemas this month.
Kiwi audiences will be presented with a range of films from around the globe – from France to Japan to our own backyards.
“The NZFF brings the world home,” says festival volunteer Sapna Samant. “It gives Kiwis an opportunity to see how other people live as well as how they express themselves through cinema.”
Ms Samant, a festival volunteer of eight years, sees the festival as a platform to showcase experimental cinema and introduce new ways of looking at the world.
“[The festival] showcases different styles of filmmaking, from award-winning cinema to obscure, unknown pieces that would be hard to see anywhere else,” she says.
Away from the hype of Hollywood, the festival films aim to tell unique stories on limited budgets.
Ms Samant says the festival gives Kiwis a change to experience other cultures.
“New Zealanders are an inward looking people who, even though they enjoy going on their OE, are still not that exposed to global cultures.”
Films like From Up On Poppy Hill from Japan and A Monster in Paris from France aim to entice younger audiences and tell unconventional stories.
Kiwi features like Pietra Brettkelly’s Maori Boy Genius give insight into our own unique cultural heritage, the film telling the story of a young Maori boy growing up in New Zealand.
“It is a real pleasure to see more and more young people come into the theatres. Particularly ethnic youth and their mixed, multicultural groups,” says Ms Samant.
Old classics like Charlie Chaplin’s Easy Street remind audiences of early cinema and the effectiveness of a story without dialogue.
Some films will also be paired with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra to leave audiences with a lasting impression.
The festival begins July 19 and runs through to August 19.
Naheed Saeid is a young writer-in-training for the 3 News ‘3Youth’ programme.