NZ International Film Festival announces 31 Kiwi films for 2024 programme

Award-winning New Zealand film We Were Dangerous will open the 2024 programme of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival.

The festival has unveiled 31 Kiwi feature films and documentaries as part of its annual offering, confirming works from Lucy Lawless, Katie Wolfe and Jonathan Ogilvie.

We Were Dangerous won the special Jury Award for Filmmaking in the Narrative Feature Competition at the SXSW festival. It's to premiere across New Zealand, except Christchurch.

The film tells the fictional story of Nellie (Erana James), Lou (Nathalie Morris) and Daisy (Manaia Hall) who attend an institution for delinquent girls on an isolated island. The trio rail against the system, finding strength in their friendship. But this is challenged when the school's matron (Rima Te Wiata) divides them.

The Christchurch-filmed Head South, which opened the Rotterdam film festival in 2023 and sees the debut acting performance of pop star Benee, will open the festival in the Garden City. The semi-autobiographical film from writer-director Jonathan Ogilvie is set in 1979 Ōtautahi.

It stars the 'Glitter' singer as a musically-gifted friend of schoolboy fantasist Angus, played by Ed Oxenbould, who discovers punk music.

Also included among the first major wave of announcements are films about Maori rock metal group Alien Weaponry, and a film about a group of young Māori activists trying to stop Pākehā students at the University of Auckland performing a parody of haka each capping week. 

Lawless' documentary Never Look Away follows New Zealand-born CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth on her first assignment with CNN as she covers the riots that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination in India. 

The 2024 NZIFF opens in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on July 31 before touring to nine other centres across the country until September 4.