Film Festival Literary Connections

The New Zealand International Film Festival is coming to Christchurch in August and we recently chatted to the Festival Director, Bill Gosden about cinematic books that inspired him.

Book cover of The new biographical dictionary of filmBill said he was indebted to Dunedin Public Libraries where he had his unofficial film education while at high school. Titles that helped spur his interest in film included:

Take a look at our collection of movie related resources to get some inspiration for your future-film-festival-directing endeavours. If you are more interested in watching films than curating them however, there are a bunch of films in the Festival that have literary connections. We’ve got a list of them on our website, as well as a list of upcoming film and TV adaptations  and a huge list of books that have previously been filmed. Here are some of the highlights:

There are a lot more titles on our list. Let us know in the comments if we have missed any literary connections in this years Festival.


NZ International Film Festival programme announced

Cover of the Film Festival brochureThe New Zealand International Film Festival programme has been released and we caught up with its Director, Bill Gosden, to discuss what Christchurch audiences should head out to see.

Bill says this year is the biggest so far for Christchurch Film Festival audiences with over 90 films screening at Hoyts cinemas. Nick Paris (Christchurch publicist for the Festival) described the programme as being filled with “contagious cinematic bling”.

The Festival has films for all ages, including children. The NZIFF received a harsh letter from some 7 year old festival-goers a few years ago who deemed the “Animation for Kids” programme “Animation for BABIES”. In light of that stinging criticism, the festival now provides two animated programmes for kids, one aimed at 3 – 6 year olds: Toons for Tots, and the other aimed at 7 – 10 year olds: Animation for Kids 2014Toons for Tots features adaptations of two popular children’s books: The legend of the golden snail by Australian master Graeme Base and the hilarious I want my hat back by Jon Klassen.

If you’ve been enjoying your movies for longer than 3 – 10 years though, Bill pointed out two movies that star modern cinema legends: Isabelle Huppert in Folies Bergère and Catherine Deneuve in In The Courtyard. If you like your stars more local or literary, here are some films that strike a literary or local chord include:

Book Cover of Selected Works of TS SpivetBill encourages Christchurch cinephiles to take on the Film Festival films. He and his team have spent months viewing over 800 films across the world in order to bring Film Festival audiences “the most interesting films of the year. One effect of being able to bring films digitally to the Festival is that there are quite a few films that viewers haven’t heard much about as they are so new.” Festival attendees have the opportunity to be the first in the world to check them out.

Tickets go on sale Friday 18 July and the Festival runs from 7 – 24 August. On the Film Festival website you can timetable in your viewing pleasures and make sure you don’t double-book yourself. Programmes are also available from our Libraries.

Nervy film-goers go NZonscreen

Looking through the New Zealand International Film Festival website I suddenly realised that I am still too nervous to go into a movie theatre.  Pathetic I know, but that’s just how it is.  I will just have to wait for the DVDs!

Realising  that I am now a failed film-goer, for the forseeable future anyway, I carried on looking through the film webpages on the library website. I came across  NZ on screen.  Now this is worth looking at:  old clips from Hudson and Halls, short films,  documentaries, Billy T. James, and plenty of other films people and videos that I didn’t even know existed!

One of the lovely things about trawling through a website like this (a bit like browsing the shelves at the library), is that you can stumble across a wee gem such as I did with this music video Librarian.

Dunedin band Haunted Love ticked every cliché but still won the hearts of librarians everywhere with this tale of summary justice administered to a disobedient user by two spooky, other-worldly librarians (not to mention “the best use of compact movable shelving in a music video, ever”). This video was the song’s only release and achieved considerable viral success

Now if this video achieved considerable viral success then I missed it, but am happy to say that thanks to  (and of course our library website) I am fully versed in the use of moveable shelves. (Watch the video to find out what I am talking about!)

Nick’s Picks

Nick Paris is a familiar figure to film fans in Christchurch – long term resident maven at Alice in Videoland. He has been involved in the New Zealand International Film Festival for many years and has taken time out to give us his picks for the festival.

First up he is particularly pleased about the 12 sessions which will be showing on the big screen at Riccarton Hoyts. Christchurch is at a disadvantage compared with Auckland and Wellington which have big screen venues in classic buildings, so to be able to do some special films justice is great. Riccarton will host the ultimate spaghetti western – Sergio Leone’s  Once upon a time in the West where “nobody gets out alive except Claudia Cardinale”.   The specially restored print is a project of director Martin Scorsese.

Also showing will be Oceans – an epic exploration of the world’s oceans featuring some of the most amazing life forms on the planet.  Going back to Riccarton is going back to the festival’s roots 34 years ago when the first festival took place in the now demolished Avenue cinema on Riccarton Road (The theatre disappeared in the 80s, Winz now occupies a building on the site).

Jacques Audiard’s crimeworld drama A Prophet also gets a run at Riccarton as does Four Lions which is a satirical look at British wannabe jihadis by comedian Chris Morris.

Nick recommends some home grown documentaries – The Free China Junk – amazing film of five young Taiwanese fishermen who crossed the Pacific in an old junk in 1955. One of them, Tai Chi master Loo-Chi Hu, has lived in Christchurch for many years. The documentary captures the spirit of adventure in the five young men. Gordonia looks at one man’s struggle with the Waitakere Council to save his car wrecking business and the unique collection of  outcasts whom he lets live on his land.

He is also keen about the documentary Teenage Paparazzo which features a 12 year old photographer  and  When You’re Strange – a collage of performance footage of the Doors, narrated by Johnny Depp.

A restored print of the classic The Red Shoes also has Nick excited – a film that moved him to tears the first time he saw it. Animated film The Illusionist is also a pick, as is the anime Summer Wars. Nick is also pleased with the Animation for Kids programme which is an opportunity for kids to see something a bit different and more imaginative than the usual high gloss Hollywood offerings.

Finally the Opening night – yet another Ronald Hugh Morrieson book brought to the screen – Jason Stutter directs Predicament – starring Jemaine Clement, Heath Franklin, Hayden Frost and Tim Finn among others.

Have you made your festival choices yet? What particularly excites you?

Bookie films – It’s no Predicament

It’s not easy to decide what movies to see at the NZ International Film Festival. There’s an embarrassment of riches.
But we’ve produced a page of Literary Movies screening in Christchurch if you’re keen to see a movie based on a book, or about a literary figure.

There are films on poets Allen Ginsberg and Sam Hunt, ’50s backwoods noir’, and more.

PredicamentI’m especially excited by another Ronald Hugh Morrieson adaptation coming to a big screen (The Scarecrow is my favourite NZ movie) – Predicament. The fact that is stars NZ’s own Mick Jagger lipped Conchord Jemaine Clement certainly doesn’t hurt:

A new generation of Kiwi comic talent has a ball with a cult classic of Kiwi Gothic lit. Director Jason Stutter has fastened on to Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s Predicament, and made a gleefully macabre comedy of grave adolescent misadventure.
Stutter matches the narrative exuberance of the original with comic-book visual flourishes. Predicament is an enjoyably gothic imagining of a time when the expression ‘moral turpitude’ actually meant something. Starring Jemaine Clement as ‘Spook’.

  • Search the catalogue for the novel Predicament by R.H. Morrieson.

Any must see movies for you?