NZ first terror-fi film fest to thrill capital
Anew-genre film festival will allow the likes of award-winning, short-film director April Phillips a chance to screen at home.
The Wellington director’s sci-fi/ fantasy R.E.M, about a woman who tries to help a homeless man with a terrible gift, received rave reviews worldwide, but received little exposure in New Zealand.
That will change later this month. Terror-Fi Film Festival director James Partridge will showcase it and some of the other very best horror/sci-fi films from around the world at Roxy Cinema from November 23 to 26.
Other titles scheduled to screen include The Girl With All The Gifts, 68 Kill, The Villainess, the new Daniel Radcliffe survival thriller Jungle, Trench 11 and 1956 classic Forbidden Planet. One particular highlight will be the screening of a director’s cut of the now 30-year-old, much-loved Paul Verhoeven-directed actioner Robocop. Local genre short films will play before every feature film to promote local material, says Partridge.
‘‘I want this to be bigger than just a festival. What I wanted to do was really help promote genre film-making in New Zealand and provide opportunities to filmmakers in New Zealand to have their content seen.’’
Avalon Studios has offered $10,000 worth of services to the best short film.
Phillips was thrilled at the idea of her and her fellow film-makers having the opportunity to screen their films – the only previously available suitable prominent festivals have been the annual New Zealand International and Show Me Shorts festivals.
‘‘Ideally, you want someone to see and know what you’re creating and so having your product shown at a festival means that an audience gets to see what you’ve been doing,’’ Phillips said.
‘‘My films have screened at a lot of film festivals all over the world, but not here in New Zealand.’’
R.E.M, Phillips’ latest and third film (the first two were Letter For Hope and Utu Pihikete) just screened at Fantasia – the largest genre film festival in North America. Acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino has called it ‘‘the most important and prestigious genre film festival on the [North American] continent’’.
‘‘That was a real thrill to get selected for a festival like Fantasia,’’ Philips said.
She hoped Terror-Fi would attract investors to the industry, so film-makers weren’t so reliant on government funding or crowdsourcing. Phillips herself has never received any funding, mostly because her films haven’t fitted criteria – despite the attention they have garnered overseas.
Partridge said genre films were commercially viable for filmmakers because they can be produced on a smaller budget and be a commercial success.
‘‘If film-makers want to make a career out of film-making, some of these genre films offer really good opportunities to make a commercial product that then gives them an income that they can go and make their next 10 films,’’ he said.
He hoped to offer sales and distribution connections or opportunities to New Zealand filmmakers he has met through setting up the festival.
‘‘We’ve got every element [here needed] to make incredible genre films. We’ve got scenery, we’ve got all the Weta (groups) and Park Road Post [Productions]. We’ve got all the elements to make them stand out above all the genre films in the world and I think that’s what we’re all trying to encourage,’’ Partridge said.
❚ For more info and tickets, see terrorfifest.com
In April Phillips’ R.E.M., Chris Ryan plays a homeless man with a gift that could save humanity.