A wealth of offbeat and surprising films from New Zealand

We are so looking forward to our annual visit to Isfield Community Enterprise Field this coming Saturday. It’s our first of two screenings as part of Scalarama Festival, and we have a sort of mini-festival within a festival planned for the marquee this year! We start with three fantastic short films by British filmmakers, ‘Infinite’ by Lowkey Films, ‘Next’ by animator Barry Purves and ‘The Cutter’ by Carl Prechezer. We will then cosy down to watch Taika Waititi’s ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’. The evening costs just £5, payable at the door – it is a marquee screening, so do bring blankets and cushions – whatever you need to feel extra cosy and comfortable!

In preparation for this fabulous film, we have been thinking about some other great films from New Zealand. Here are just a few picks:

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

The first of two Peter Jackson films on this list. After gaining a cult following a couple of intensely graphic splatter-fests, Peter Jackson took critics and audiences alike by surprise with this stylish and fascinating thriller, with a fascinating study of the obsessive nature of teenage female friendships (here, taken to the extreme) at its centre.

The Whale Rider (2002)

An inspiring story of a young Maori girl, who’s ambition is to become take up the traditionally male role of chief of her tribe. On release, the 13 year old star, Keisha Castle-Hughes became the youngest person to be nominated for the best actress academy award – well deserved, because her outstanding performance really carries the film!

An Angel At My Table (1990)

Jane Campion is possibly better known for ‘The Piano’, which should of course feature on this list, but I’ve opted for her adaptation of author Janet Frame’s autobiography. Beautifully shot, with a lightness of touch, the film takes its paint a portrait of Frame’s complex character.

Forgotten Silver (1995)

I don’t usually include two films by the same director, but I couldn’t resist – this is quite possibly my favourite Peter Jackson film, a fascinating mockumentary about ‘forgotten’ New Zealand film pioneer, Colin McKenzie. The beautifully shot ‘early’ film footage and colourful details of McKenzie’s life were all created by Peter Jackson, and betray a deep and obsessive love of cinema.

Boy (2010)

Finally, a film by Taika Waititi, Director of ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’. Similar in some ways to our headliner next week, ‘Boy’ is a charmingly offbeat comedy/ drama set in 1984. A coming-of-age tale seen through the eyes of a Michael Jackson-obsessed child named Boy.

…so that’s it for a warm up. We hope to see you in the Marquee in the ICE Field (behind the Laughing Fish Pub) next Saturday night!

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