The New Zealand Genre Content Network

Looking Forward and looking outward – Inspiration from the NZ Film Festival

I have been working on an article about tracking your audience, it’s turning into a bit of a beast and I don’t want this blog to be all theoretical waffle – so I’m going to put it aside and try and talk about something we as content creators (and our potential audiences) have to look forward to.

The International NZ Film Festival is just about to start in Auckland before heading around the rest of New Zealand.

Every year this festival showcases great genre films from around the world that can surprise and remind us that in the cinematic arts we can be inspired by our idols and contemporaries from all across the globe – that genre is a language of it’s own that can cross cultural borders and linguistic barriers (with a little help from subtitlers!).

The film festival site even has a handy Find a Film section which lets you search by genre/subject – so lets get started!

I’ve done a lot on horror in these nascent days of – which is a bias stemming more from it being such a recognizable genre rather than my own personal tastes – so I promise to try and make up more ground in other genres in upcoming posts!

But for now, horror films like Kill List from the UK and The Inn Keepers from the US have me intrigued to see their takes on the genre – while from a New Zealand perspective I think I may end up being influenced more by two quite distinctly European films, one quite new, one very old.

First the new: The Last Circus – a multiple award winner at last years Venice Film Festival, I am really hoping that this revenge story of sad and psycopathic clowns finds a strong audience in New Zealand – If we can send psycopathic muppets out to the world with Meet the Feebles then surely we can support an exchange with killer clowns from Spain!

The old of course, is Nosferatu. The story may have been a legally ill advised Dracula knock off, but I find the visage of Max Schreck’s Count Orlok far more embedded in my brain when I hear the word Vampire these days than Bela Lugosi’s Count or Tom Cruises Lestat – and infinitely more so than any of the current crop of teen heart throb blood suckers (sparkly or not)

Watching at the Civic with live orchestra will definitely be an amazing reminder that a great genre work of it’s day can be remembered as a great work of art in the future. Horror will be alive and well at the Civic that night.

Sci Fi fans this year can also contrast the old with the new, or at least somewhat new. Two Japanese manga/anime sci fi works break out into live action works this year constitute the somewhat new – and actually make up three movies at the fest.

Gantz & Gantz: Perfect Answer are back to back remakes of the cult Gantz manga/anime. I’ve seen some of the anime, it’s bloodthirsty, weird, melodramatic, ridiculously sexualized and unapologetically so.

I am sure at least some of the cult appeal of the Anime will fail to cross over with this live action adaptation – especially considering they have only garnered R16 ratings – but if you are into robots, aliens, teleportation, power suits and other modern sci fi tropes then I am sure Gantz will accomodate.

I know next to nothing about Space Battleship Yamato – but it finds itself next to Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica on this page so I have no doubt that it’s audience will find it.

When it comes to the old, we are very lucky to get the European mother of all Sci Fi films! Metropolis re-emerges, rediscovered and remastered after years of being incomplete.

Without Metropolis, the science fiction landscape of today would be radically, unimaginably different. It would be a long list that tried to acknowledge every artist, production designer, author, film maker, musician or even dancer that has been inspired by the futuristic imagery Fritz Lang put to work in this film.

Seeing this movie, in the big screen, at a level of completeness that has never been available on New Zealand shores before is a truly exciting event – only slightly overshadowed by the fact that the NZSO will be performing the score live in another showing in November. But that’s no reason to not see it at the festival!

So I’ve been writing this for a while, and I haven’t even got onto crime movies!

This years fest is a crime buff bonanza with flicks from Africa, Ireland, Iran, Brazil, the US, Austria, CanadaAustralia, Hong Kong and three from Korea. If something out of that lot can’t inspire you to look at what we can create here and send out into the world about crime and punishment from our New Zealand perspective, then nothing will.

Might have to pick this up again later to cover more of the fest it seems – otherwise I’ll totally miss my three post a week schedule!

I know my goal is for to talk about New Zealand films looking both to our local audiences and our international audiences – so I’ll finish with this. If you want to create  works in a given genre, be they film or comics or books – take a look around  at the local audiences when you go to see some of these films – these are some of the people your project must engage – them and the people like them around the world who aren’t just ‘film festival’ audiences, but audiences who love a good story and don’t require it to have come directly out of the mouth of Hollywood.


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