Sydney Sweeney, Wes Anderson's latest among full programme for 2023 NZ International Film Festival

Sydney Sweeney and Wes Anderson's Asteroid City are among the cinematic treats on the way.
Sydney Sweeney and Wes Anderson's Asteroid City are among the cinematic treats on the way. Photo credit: Supplied

Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney's new feature Reality and Wes Anderson's star-studded Asteroid City will be playing in cinemas in Aotearoa as part of the 2023 Whanau Marama New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF).

The festival's full programme was released on Monday evening, revealing all 129 films that will play the Auckland leg over 18 days, with filmmaker guests also set to attend some screenings live in-person.

This year's Palme D'Or winner Anatomy of a Fall will be the opening night film at Auckland's Civic Theatre on July 19. The festival will close in Auckland with Finnish film, Fallen Leaves, a "deadpan romantic crowdpleaser about two lost souls on a bumpy road to finding each other."

The three week run will also see a live performance of Charlie Chaplin's 1928 comedy movie The Circus, with Chaplin's own 1968 score being performed by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

Reality is director Tina Satter's film about a 25 year-old Air Force linguist and NSA contractor Reality Winner (played by Sweeney) who was arrested for leaking classified information pertaining to Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election to the press.

Its New Zealand premiere will take place as part of the festival, as will Anderson's latest slice of whimsy, which follows a family who heads to small rural Asteroid City to compete in a junior stargazing event.

The festival will also screen older films in its Retrospective section for audiences including The Innocents and French director Claire Denis' Chocolat.

New Zealand is well-represented in the line-up as well with five short films selected to play before international features, as well as a raft of locally shot movies and documentaries to be screened for audiences.

Nine Kiwi films will have their world premieres at the festival this year - one of the largest collections the NZIFF has seen in many years. Those features include comedian Tom Sainsbury's Loop Track, Home Kills directed by Haydn Butler, Michael Duignan's The Paragon, along with NZ Opera film The Strangest of Angels, directed by Rebecca Tansley.

There will also be screenings of Alice Englert's Bad Behaviour, which premiered at Sundance in January and stars Jennifer Connelly, as well as a music documentary about Kiwi artists King Loser, directed by Cushla Dillon and Andrew Moore.

"We're proud to have secured such an incredible line-up of homegrown films and it's an honour to share this world-class line-up with audiences around Aotearoa this winter," said Whānau Mārama: NZIFF General Manager Sally Woodfield. 

"We encourage New Zealanders to experience these beautifully crafted films on the big screen and support local filmmakers."

Confirmed to attend the film festival are Celine Song (Past Lives), Laha Mebow (GAGA), Soda Jerk (Hello Dankness), Elegance Bratton (The Inspection), Christoffer Guldbrandsen (A Storm Foretold), and Rolf de Heer (The Survival of Kindness).

It'll be the first time in four years filmmaking talent from abroad has attended the festival to take part in audience sessions..

Ant Timpson's Incredibly Strange section is again forming part of the 2023 programme with provocative and curious titles aimed at showcasing the weirder side of cinema.

Included in his programmed titles are Japanese superhero film Shin Ultraman and Sisu, a film about one man's bloody rampage against Nazis.

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival opens in Auckland on July 19 followed by Wellington on July 27, Dunedin on August 3 and Christchurch on August 10.

The Hamilton leg goes from August 9 to August 29, while the Christchurch, Matakana, Napier and Tauranga legs of the festival run from August 10 to August 27.

The festival plays in Masterton from August 16 to August 30.

It'll take place in Whangarei, Havelock North, New Plymouth and Palmerston North from August 17, before heading to Nelson, Gisborne and Timaru from August 24.