The NZIFF 2021 (28 Oct–14 Nov 2021) Announces First Films for 2021 Programme!

JulieGSeptember 5, 20219 min

The New Zealand Film Festival has released an update regarding the first few films that will be part of this year’s programme:

Fiona Clark: Unafraid (World Premiere)

Photographer Fiona Clark shocked 1970s New Zealand with her documentary images of Auckland’s burgeoning queer scene. The pictures they tried to ban were just the beginning for one of Aotearoa’s photography greats.



Structured around a series of interviews conducted by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner, Flee blurs the line between documentary and narrative filmmaking to tell the affecting survival story of Amin’s escape from Afghanistan in the mid-80s. Told in animated form, complimented with historical news footage, Flee examines the quiet toll that trauma takes on survivors.



Follow Tilda Swinton on a strange supernatural journey into the Colombian jungle, in this hypnotic new film from the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Nine Days

We are born, we live, we die. Before we can get on that merry-go-round, however, we must first be interviewed. If we are lucky, we are chosen to go forth, from cradle to grave. If not, perhaps the man will do what he can to give us one fleeting moment of happiness, before we disappear into the ether. This is the premise of Nine Days, Edson Oda’s offbeat portrait of a pre-life purgatory.


Undine is a historian living in Berlin, but underneath her seemingly ordinary city lifestyle lurks an old myth: if the man she loves betrays her, she must kill him and return to the water she once came from. When her lover leaves her for another woman, Undine feels her destiny is fated, until she encounters Christoph and falls in love with him. They share a happy love, but Christoph feels Undine is running from something. Undine must face her curse or risk her relationship. A captivating tale drawing on myth and fantasy.



Based on the infamous Twitter thread by A’Ziah ‘Zola’ King, Zola chronicles a 72-hour fever dream of a road trip in search of a quick fortune in Florida. After meeting Stefani on a waitressing shift, Zola and Stefani become fast friends. So fast that Zola agrees to join Stefani, her milquetoast boyfriend, and their ‘roommate’ on an impromptu trip to Tampa the very next day to turn a quick buck in the local strip clubs. What’s the worst that could happen? – List credit to the NZIFF.


Now Showing NZ will be there, of course, and it’s great to see that we have not been able to see quite a few of the films listed elsewhere. So it’s going to be an amazing film festival this year (assuming that Auckland can come out of lockdown soon enough). Please be sure to check out our discussions on our podcast about what we’re watching. We’ll also be featuring a special edition of our podcast specifically for the NZIFF in October! You can check out our previous podcast sessions right here and previous film festival-related content here.

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