A mini film festival for architecture enthusiasts – and other niche movie events

The Architecture Week Mini Film Festival sparked us to investigate other unusual film happenings

We all know the NZ International Film Festival (July/August), and the Documentary Edge festival (May/June). You’ve probably attended the French, Italian, Spanish or German film festivals. But there are increasing numbers of smaller film festivals around for the initiated.

This weekend there’s a mini film festival for architecture buffs, as the closing act of Auckland Architecture Week 2015. The idea for this home-grown double feature was sparked by the chance to showcase New Zealand-made architecture/design film Ever the Land (director Sarah Grohnert; producer Alexander Behse), and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to Northland-based, design-focussed social enterprise ĀKAU.

But the first of the two films on offer is  A Place to Call Home(director Briar March; producer Richard Riddiford). It follows Glen Innes state house tenant Betty Kanuta battling to remain in her home, with insights from developers and community trust workers charged with the massive job of providing social housing. “As resources dwindle, communities are irrevocably altered, and the most vulnerable have the hardest fight.”

Ever the Land, which recently premiered at NZIFF, plays second. It’s an "observational documentary" on the planning and construction of New Zealand’s first "living building", Te Wharehou o Tūhoe, a building designed to house the new tribal authority for Te Iwi o Tūhoe. The film presents the massive building and design challenges behind the project (for example, Jasmax used materials native to the iwi’s surroundings and trade packages were broken down to allow small local businesses to tender for work competitively), and sets them against the background of ongoing negotiations with the Government.

But that’s not all… Other less-mainstream film festivals in Aotearoa include:

Pollywood: a showcase of Pasifika Film and Multimedia art, with five screenings around Auckland in November.

African Film: The inaugural festival brings nine features, docos and dance movies from the continent that brings us the annual Ouagadougou film festival. April 2016

Mountain film: Astonishingly there are two mountain film festivals in New Zealand, showing adventure, action and environmental movies. The NZ Mountain Film Festival features a week of movies and other activities in Wanaka, Cromwell and Queenstown in early July. But the Banff Mountain Film Festival also includes New Zealand as part of its global tour. 

Incredibly Strange: Now in its 21st year, Incredibly Strange is dedicated to bringing “provocative, bizarre, challenging, surreal, offbeat and totally wild cinema to the big screen in New Zealand”. The main festival is now part of the NZIFF, but Incredibly Strange also runs the 24-hour Movie Marathon – “non-stop hardcore cine-dementia”.

But the winner is…

RISE Fly Fishing Film Festival: Founded in Christchurch in 2006, this sell-out annual film festival now travels the world. But if you wanted to catch it, too late, the New Zealand leg closes today (September 23).