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Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 Opens In Ōtautahi Christchurch On Friday 5 November

--this article has been updated to reflect the new dates for the Festival now open from 5 to 21 November--

Tickets are now on sale for the full programme of films on show at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 (NZIFF).


Ōtautahi Christchurch is hosting the opening event of this year’s festival on Friday 5 November at the Isaac Theatre Royal.

Marten Rabarts, NZIFF Festival Director, said they were “delighted that even at Level 2 we can screen our outstanding 2021 programme to Cantabrians in a safe environment this year”.

“Cancelling Auckland was a big blow – one that we share with fellow arts and culture organisations around the country who’ve been hugely impacted by this latest Delta outbreak,” Rabarts said.

We hope that Kiwis will now rally behind the film festival and show their support by coming out to see the stunning line-up of films that we’ll be presenting.”

Marten Rabarts - NZIFF Festival Director

“We hope that Kiwis will now rally behind the film festival and show their support by coming out to see the stunning line-up of films that we’ll be presenting.”

More than 90 feature-length films from 37 countries, along with five short film collections, will screen in Ōtautahi Christchurch over 17 days at the Isaac Theatre Royal and Lumière Cinemas.

Highlights for the 2021 festival include Wes Anderson’s star-studded homage to the golden age of journalism, The French Dispatch; Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s award-winning adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter, featuring a powerhouse performance from Olivia Colman; decorated Chinese Master Zhang Yimou’s love letter to cinema, One Second; and Bosnia and Herzegovinia’s Oscar-nominated film for 2021 Best International Feature, Jasmila Zbanic’s Quo Vadis, Aida?

Delivering star power is Berlin Golden Bear nominee, Maria Schrader’s I’m Your Man, featuring Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as a love android; colourful televangelist biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield; and moving literary memoir My Salinger Year, starring Sigourney Weaver.

Dame Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog kicks off the programme at the Isaac Theatre Royal, and Cannes Film Festival’s shock Palme D’or winner Titane is set to close the festival in unforgettable fashion, with Paulo Sorrentino’s Venice Grand Jury Prize-winning masterpiece The Hand Of God anchoring the festival’s middle weekend in centrepiece position.

Two very special Canterbury short films will premiere in Christchurch:


In the film Peninsula, Mark is pushed out of his comfort zone while trying to reconnect with his estranged son Toby and deal with his new neighbour Amber who does things differently. This film was created entirely by Cantabrian film makers and crew. Written and directed by Fiona McKenzie and edited and produced by Scott Flyger, Peninsula has done extremely well internationally.

This short film shot on Canterbury's Banks Peninsula had its world premiere at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York, it was also selected for the Bengaluru Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and will premiere at the New Zealand International Film Festival. Get tickets.

The Meek

The storyline for The Meek simply couldn’t be more timely: in a twist of chromosomes and fate, young Izzy may also be the key to humanity’s future in a world ravaged by a deadly virus.

This short film set was directed and written by Canterbury film maker Gillian Ashurst and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald and Canterbury’s own Nadia Maxwell. Get tickets.

Christchurch tickets are now on sale Watch the NZIFF 2021 trailer. Check out the full NZIFF Christchurch programme.

For More Information Contact

Bree Loverich
Screen CanterburyNZ Manager