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Wrapping up the NZIFF with director Bill Gosden

Wrapping up the NZIFF with director Bill Gosden

With the Akl leg of the NZIFF's extra shows wrapping up this weekend and Wellington heading into extra time, it was a good chance to catch up with festival director Bill Gosden to get his thoughts on the 2016 New Zealand International Film Festival.

How have the Auckland and Wellington legs of NZIFF been?
Exhausting for us, but mostly gratifying. The last day of packed houses at the Civic and SKYCITY may have been our biggest ever. In Wellington we have just hit our budgeted attendance with five days still to go.

Poi E certainly set the bar high for feel good openings – Auckland, Wellington and now Christchurch – have you enjoyed the audience buzz for that film?
If that was a buzz, how does unadulterated joy feel?

The guests this year have been of a particularly high standard – what’s been your favourite Q&A?
Hard to choose, but delighted by the work Script to Screen did for us with the Auckland Q+As for Terence Davies and the creative team on The Rehearsal.

The news of the Aussie certification issue for Embrace must have caused a bit of gnashing of teeth- but you must be glad we put one over the Aussies?
It is good to know that our own Classification Office has the leeway to make a sane call on a film like this, but I am not certain that the imaging generated by the Australian restriction was helpful in setting up this film for the mother/daughter audience we hoped would find it. That said, the Q+As with Taryn Brumfitt were packed and extraordinarily emotional.

How’s the expansion into the outer regions of Auckland gone and will you repeat it?
Westgate was an instant success. Manukau may take a little longer.

Which films have been successful in the early stages of NZIFF – and did these choices surprise you?
The three that we’d underestimated – as the number of added screenings can testify – were Under the Sun, The Salesman and Swiss Army Man. It was especially pleasing to see the big numbers for Toni Erdmann.

Conversely, which do you wish more people had been at?
Most conspicuously: Paris 5:59, Sieranevada and Aquarius.

Which films have you headed in to that you didn’t catch before and what did you make of them?
Paterson, so placid on the surface, but so rich in feeling and observation. I;m banking on catching a great many more this weekend in Wellington.

Which films do you think will travel well outside of the main centres?
It’s already clear: Le Ride, I, Daniel Blake

Are there any differences in audiences around the country that you can tell – or are there trends which follow us around?
We expect Sharon Jones to find more fans in Gore than Hannah Arendt.

Just finally, what’s next for you – a bit of downtime before heading straight off to Toronto perhaps?
This year I’m making a break for Venice instead of Toronto, so there won’t be any downtime until after that.

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