2014 NZ Film Festival preview: Kung Fu Elliot, Dark Horse and Housebound

  • 24/06/2014

It's that time of year again, Kiwi film lovers.

The 2014 New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) programme has been announced and it's a diverse line-up of fine Kiwi and foreign features and shorts.

The programme was released earlier this week and media were invited to see a sample film, which for me was Kung Fu Elliot. It was brilliant.

It's a documentary that follows Elliot Scott as he tries to become the Canada's answer to Jean-Claude Van Damme or Chuck Norris. Although he's not gifted at writing and directing films, nor has any money to make them, he perseveres.

Hilarity ensues as Kung Fu Elliot starts off charming and offbeat, but over the course of the film it changes into something much more serious and deep. To give away any more would ruin the experience I had with the film, which was knowing very little going in, and coming out appreciating an amazing, unique cinema experience - a perfect taste of the festival to come.

Personally, some of the other films I am most excited for are The Rover, Cold in July, Killers and Boyhood, along with the following two major New Zealand titles.

The prestigious opening night film slot this year has been awarded to The Dark Horse. A true story based on the life of Gisborne chess champion Genesis Potini, NZIFF director Bill Gosden told me he was thrilled to have it

"It's great that a really significant New Zealand film, as I believe The Dark Horse will prove to be, chooses to have its world premiere in New Zealand and doesn't wait for what I think are inevitable overseas invitations."

Another major Kiwi film on the programme and scheduled to have its New Zealand premiere at Auckland's Civic Theatre is Housebound.

This comedy/horror is the debut feature from Gerard Johnstone (The Jacquie Brown Diaries) and won rave reviews at the SXSW Festival earlier this year.

More information is available on the official NZIFF website.

I went on Firstline this morning to discuss the 2014 NZIFF programme - watch the video.

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