Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival announces first films

Following the Government’s announcement on Monday 4 October that Auckland will continue to be in a form of Alert Level 3, the Auckland leg of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2021 has been cancelled. More info here. 

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) today reveals six films from its highly anticipated 2021 programme.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid, Flee, Memoria, Nine Days, Undine and Zola are the first of many extraordinary international and local films set to entertain Kiwis when the festival brings its celebration of cinema to 13 towns and cities around the country this spring.

“As we prepare to usher New Zealanders back to the film festival later this year, we’re thrilled to announce these first exciting titles from our 2021 programme,” said Director Marten Rabarts.

“Decorated critic favourites from Cannes and Sundance, Memoria, Flee and Nine Days will make their eagerly awaited New Zealand premieres, as will much-hyped off-beat comedy Zola and Christian Petzold’s mythical romance Undine. In addition to these international titles, we’re also proud to present the world premiere of Lula Cucchiara‘s fascinating documentary, Fiona Clark: Unafraid – an intimate portrait of the ground-breaking New Zealand photographer.”

NZIFF will open in Auckland on Thursday 28 October, followed by Christchurch on the following day, with Dunedin and Wellington to follow a week later. The remaining nine centres span November and the first week of December.

Fiona Clark: Unafraid


Photographer Fiona Clark shocked 1970s New Zealand with her documentary images of Auckland’s burgeoning queer scene. The pictures they tried to ban were just the beginning for one of Aotearoa's photography greats.



Structured around a series of interviews conducted by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner, Flee blurs the line between documentary and narrative filmmaking to tell the affecting survival story of Amin’s escape from Afghanistan in the mid-80s. Told in animated form, complimented with historical news footage, Flee examines the quiet toll that trauma takes on survivors. 



Follow Tilda Swinton on a strange supernatural journey into the Colombian jungle, in this hypnotic new film from the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Nine Days


We are born, we live, we die. Before we can get on that merry-go-round, however, we must first be interviewed. If we are lucky, we are chosen to go forth, from cradle to grave. If not, perhaps the man will do what he can to give us one fleeting moment of happiness, before we disappear into the ether. This is the premise of Nine Days, Edson Oda’s offbeat portrait of a pre-life purgatory.



Undine is a historian living in Berlin, but underneath her seemingly ordinary city lifestyle lurks an old myth: if the man she loves betrays her, she must kill him and return to the water she once came from. When her lover leaves her for another woman, Undine feels her destiny is fated, until she encounters Christoph and falls in love with him. They share a happy love, but Christoph feels Undine is running from something. Undine must face her curse or risk her relationship. A captivating tale drawing on myth and fantasy.



Based on the infamous Twitter thread by A’Ziah ‘Zola’ King, Zola chronicles a 72-hour fever dream of a road trip in search of a quick fortune in Florida. After meeting Stefani on a waitressing shift, Zola and Stefani become fast friends. So fast that Zola agrees to join Stefani, her milquetoast boyfriend, and their ‘roommate’ on an impromptu trip to Tampa the very next day to turn a quick buck in the local strip clubs. What’s the worst that could happen?

For details of our confirmed venues and dates for the 2021 film festival click here.


To download images click here.


Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is run by a charitable trust to enhance local appreciation of, and engagement with, global art and culture by providing access to a diverse range of high-quality film.

For further information about NZIFF or to arrange an interview please contact:

National Publicist, Safia van der Zwan, 021313966  publicist@nziff.co.nz

Senior Publicist, Laurie Barrett, 022 504 8405,  seniorpublicist@nziff.co.nz

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