New Zealand Film Festival highlights kiwi moviemaking

Updated: Apr 25, 2018 chinadaily.com.cn Print
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The ninth New Zealand Film Festival, a biennial event to exchange cultures, will delight Chinese moviegoers with 12 acclaimed flicks from the country.

With support from China's top movie regulator, as well as jointly sponsored by the Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Center in New Zealand and the Beijing-based China Film Archive, the festival is screening the films in Beijing, Chengdu in Sichuan province, and Erdos in the Inner Mongolian autonomous region.

Kiwi comedy Pork Pie, about a trio of accidental outlaws, was screened at China Film Archive on April 17 as the festival's opening film.

The other 11 New Zealand films being screened are Chronesthesia, The Changeover, One Thousand Ropes, 3 Mile Limit, Kiwi Christmas, Three Wise Cousins, The Stolen, Possum, Restoration, Utu Pihikete and Cradle.

"The Changeover is about a poor girl from a broken family who discovers her power in a fantastic journey," said Erana James, an actress in The Changeover, who came to Beijing as a member of the 14-person New Zealand delegation.

She says New Zealand films have a uniqueness in movies, as Maori actors are cast to display their distinctive culture.

Matt Murphy, director of Pork Pie, also attended the opening ceremony. He said the 105-minute feature -- starring Dean O'Gorman and James Rolleston -- is a remake of a 1979 Kiwi movie.

"I have to come up with new characters and fresh contemporary ideas for my film, but the inspiration is from the old movies, which has an interesting potential as an action comedy," Murphy said during a sideline interview with China Daily.

He explained Kiwi movies refer to those shot in New Zealand, which are rebellious, funny, romantic stories with a lot of comedic actions.

Now there are approximately 25 to 30 movies released annually, Murphy said, adding that New Zealand filmmakers also are skilled at making epic movies. 

"Between the late 1970s and early 1980s, (our local) movie industry boomed. Before that, we only had a handful of films," he says.

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