BoySet on the east coast of New Zealand in the year 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old kid and devout Michael Jackson fan gets a chance to know his father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago. One day, his dad gets out – and both he and Boy gradually bond. But as the pair start to find their way in the world, and despite Alamein’s love for ET, Boy’s forced to face the reality of his life.
Eagle vs SharkThis first feature is a laugh out loud comedy about two lonely misfits and their attempts to find love. Lil (Loren Taylor) is a shy fast-food cashier with a crush on clueless gaming geek Jarrod (Jermaine Clements). When Lily crashes Jarrod’s fancy dress party wearing a shark costume and impresses the self-styled ‘Eagle Lord’ with her gaming prowess she gets her man. But their budding romance is sorely tested by Jarrod’s obsession with a childhood nemesis.
Show of Hands
The second feature film directed by writer Anthony McCarten (Ladies’ Night) is a small tale with some big themes. Set in a New Plymouth car yard, the film chronicles an endurance contest in which a car will be awarded to the person who manages to keep their hands on it the longest. As night falls, solo mother Jess (Melanie Lynskey) finds herself fending off the attentions of an obstinate competitor (Craig Hall), with a much harsher vision of the world than hers. Inspired by similar real-life contests, McCarten based the film on his novel Endurance.
Rain of the ChildrenThis lauded documentary revisits the subject of a film Vincent Ward made in 1978, aged 21. That film, In Spring One Plants Alone, told the story of 80-year-old Puhi, who lived with her schizophrenic son in the isolated Urewera. The follow-up — part detective doco, part historical re-enactment — focuses on Puhi’s life. She married the son of Māori prophet Rua Kenana, had 14 children, and after a run of tragedies, believed herself to be cursed. The excerpt goes “way out there in the bush” to the Maungapohatu community where Rua, “made the city of God on Earth”.
Separation CitySimon and Pam were once a golden couple but two small children, two cracked nipples and one waning libido has snuffed out their fire. Simon is enormously flattered when another woman focuses her attention on him but will he take it any further? Or will Simon find that some men are not wired for adultery, that some men are just too nice? Outrageously funny one moment, deeply moving the next, this romantic comedy is a tale about a group of friends and their marriages, about good and bad sex, about falling out of love for the first time and learning the painful lesson that unrequited love is something that lasts forever – while requited love can be punishingly finite.
Vintner’s LuckFilmed in France, Belgium and New Zealand, The Vintner’s Luck is a tale of growing grapes, meeting angels and seeking perfection. Belgian actor Jeremie Renier stars as Sobran, a poor winemaker who one day encounters an angel. The two make a pact. One day each year, as Sobran’s fortunes wax and wane, the angel returns to hear more about Sobran’s life. Director Niki Caro adapted Elizabeth Knox’s bestselling novel with help from US script consultant Joan Scheckel; the film also reunites Caro with Whale Rider discovery Keisha Castle-Hughes, who plays Sobran’s wife.
Crossing the LineCrossing the Line is a 2008 war short film written and directed by Peter Jackson set in World War I. It is the first film made with the Red One camera. The film has no dialog apart from the incidental speech of background characters. Neill Blomkamp serves as additional director. In 2007, the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company, manufacturers of the Red One, a new digital motion-picture camera, offered Jackson the chance to test their prototype cameras and record some sample footage for the 2007 NAB convention. Jackson instead proposed that he should use the testing time to shoot a short film. In March 2007, staff from Red flew to New Zealand with two of their prototype cameras, nicknamed “Boris” and “Natasha”. The film was shot over two days, 30 and 31 March, in Masterton. The short film was shown two weeks later at NAB where it attracted large crowds and long lines.
The Six Doller fifty Man
In Six Dollar Fifty Man eight-year-old Andy’s make-believe superhero world gets a reality check: he has to confront playground bullies and the headmaster in order to rescue his pride, and his only friend, Mary. The gutsy outsider’s playground trials were inspired by filmmakers Mark Albiston’s and Louis Sutherland’s Kapiti Coast 70s upbringing. The film was a breakout festival hit: amongst a haul of awards it collected in its brown satchel were a Sundance win and special distinctions at Cannes and Berlin. It was long-listed for the 2011 Academy Awards.