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It’s with great sadness that I heard of the passing of New Zealand International Film Festival Director Bill Gosden.

I knew Bill professionally but not personally, and always watched with great admiration the way he orchestrated NZIFF with aplomb.

It was because of Bill and NZIFF that I developed a love of independent cinema and arthouse film.

Every year I made a point of catching 15 to 30 films at the fest in Auckland. Bill and his team showed us that there was more to film than the hero’s journey and Save the Cat.

I remember in 2017 going to see the 5.5 hour Japanese film Happy Hour by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, and being captivated for every minute. Or watching in 2016 the astounding Columbian film Embrace of the Serpent by Ciro Guerra, an artistic feast for the eyes and mind. Or sitting in 2014 with Ruben Östlund’s Swedish masterpiece Force Majure and British director Steven Knight’s tour de force Locke. Then there was in 2012 German director Christian Petzoid’s simply beautiful Barbara and Denis Villeneuve’s powerful, moving Incendies in 2011. I could go on—Lebanon, Page One: Inside The New York Times, I Love You Phillip Morris, Four Lions, Frank, The Hunt, etc., etc.

Equally, I suffered through a few of my own personal dislikes, such as Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s Ash is the Purest White, Portuguese critical hit Tabu by Miguel Gomes, or American director Frederick Wiseman’s interminable Ex Libris.

All these films just an example of the masterful programming of NZIFF that Bill led.

Then of course is the incredible support he gave to New Zealand filmmakers, both feature length and short, from Gaylene Preston to Florian Harbicht, Yamin Tun to Hamish Bennett, Daniel Borgman to Aidee Walker, Tim van Dammen, Becs Arahanga and Jack Niccol to name a few.

DEGNZ has had for a number of years an official connection with Bill and NZIFF through our hosting of visiting directors and introducing their films, to more recently running director masterclasses with them, like those with Debra Granik and Thom Zimny.

Bill Gosden made every wintery August a month to look forward to, and he enriched the cinematic life of New Zealand with his choices. I for one will be eternally grateful.

Bill Gosden’s memorial service will be held at the Public Trust Hall, 131–135 Lambton Quay, Wellington, on Monday 16 November, at 2:00pm.

Also an official memorial page is also being created for Bill, and you are invited to email your messages to tribute@rememberingbillgosden.nz.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

 

 

 

Director Debra Granik

Film director Debra Granik (Leave No Trace, Winter’s Bone) will lead a Directing Masterclass for filmmakers in Auckland as part of NZIFF 2018.

This is the first time NZIFF have been able to provide a Masterclass designed for industry practitioners, thanks to a new Artistic Development Partnership with Creative New Zealand. The Masterclass will be a half day course on Friday 27 July and will be run by the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ (DEGNZ) on behalf of NZIFF.

Debra Granik, known for her social realism film style, will take filmmakers through an interactive discussion of her work with a focus on Leave No Trace and Winter’s Bone. She will also share examples from her filmmaking influences and past and current documentary work.

Masterclass attendees are encouraged to see Leave No Trace at NZIFF beforehand (Friday 27 July, 10.45am at the Civic).

Limited tickets for the Directing Masterclass will be on sale from Ticketmaster at 9.00am on Monday 23 July.

Directing Masterclass with Debra Granik, Friday 27 July 2.30pm to 6.30pm

Venue: AUT City Campus, 55 Wellesley Street East, Auckland Central 1010

Ticket prices: $25 Full price / $15 Industry guild concession*

About Debra Granik

Debra Granik is the director and co-writer of Winter’s Bone, which was nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture. It featured John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence in her breakthrough role. Granik and co-writer Anne Rosellini were also Oscar-nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Her first film, Down to the Bone, starring Vera Farmiga, won Granik the Best Director Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. In 2015 Granik completed Stray Dog, a feature documentary which aired on Independent Lens and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Leave No Trace is her fourth feature, and it premiered at Sundance 2018 and screened as part of the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. It stars Ben Foster and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie.

 


Granik will introduce her film and hold Q+As at The Civic in Auckland and the Embassy Theatre in Wellington. New Zealand actress and lead star of the film, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, is also confirmed to join Debra Granik at the Saturday (Auckland) and Sunday (Wellington) screenings.

Auckland screening featuring a Q+A with Debra Granik
Friday 27 July, 10.45am at the Civic Theatre

Auckland screening featuring a Q+A with Debra Granik and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie
Saturday 28 July, 6.45pm at the Civic Theatre

Wellington Screenings featuring a Q+A with Debra Granik and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie
Sunday 29 July, 6.00pm at Embassy Theatre (Sold out)
Monday 30 July, 12.45pm at Embassy Theatre

 


* Members will have received their NZIFF discount code through their guild.