New Auckland festival shines spotlight on underground cinema

A still from film Roommates
A still from film Roommates

A new film festival in Auckland this week will feature films organisers say wouldn't be found at a typical festival.

Friday's inaugural Auckland Underground Film Festival will showcase 13 short works from New Zealand and around the world, ranging from comedy to drama, animation to documentary, and more abstract works.

Organiser and filmmaker Natasha Cantwell says many of the films would be considered too experimental for mainstream film festivals, but not so much that they fit in an art gallery.

"The reason that I like festivals like this is that it's aimed at those films that have no other place to go, that are just completely, 'What kind of film is this and where does it belong?'"

The idea for the event came from a similar festival in Wellington, and Cantwell would like to see Auckland's festival expanded to match the capital's three-day occasion.

"Right now it's only a two-hour event, but the Wellington one is over three nights. It's huge.

"There's so much more I wanted to have, like workshops, and have more of a hands-on approach, getting the community involved, which would be cool in the future."

Cantwell and other festival judges spent the past 12 months trawling through more than 1000 submissions from all over the world.

The final 13 films that will screen on Friday come from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, France and Japan.

Festival-goers can check out the event completely free thanks to a grant from the Waitemata Local Board and the Wallace Foundation.

"Being a new concept for Auckland, I really wanted to encourage people to come, so I thought making it free was a good way to introduce people to experimental films," says Cantwell.

The festival is currently sold out, but a second wave of tickets will be released on Thursday or Friday and be announced via the event's Facebook page.

The Auckland Underground Film Festival runs from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Friday, September 30 at Auckland's Academy Cinemas.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: