Whānau Mārama New Zealand International Film Festival 2020 – watch the films, read the books

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is screening this year, with most films being shown online. The Christchurch leg of the festival with cinema screenings at the Isaac Theatre Royal and Lumiere. Christchurch showings are on from Friday 24 July to Monday 3 August.

Literary Connections / Based on Books

Have a delve into movies and documentaries playing at the Film Festival based on books or with literary connections:

Before Everest

“I’d never share a rope with him” is about as damning a comment as anyone can make about a fellow mountaineer. Sir Edmund Hillary’s words about Earle Riddiford in his last autobiography set the uneasy tone of Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read A View from the Summit by Edmund Hillary

The View From the Summit

The Girl on the Bridge

This documentary follows 21-year-old Jazz Thornton during the pivotal two-year period she was emerging out of her own struggles with suicide to become a powerful advocate for mental health. 

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read Stop surviving, start fighting by Jazz Thornton

Stop Surviving, Start Fighting

Last and First Men

Last‌ ‌and‌ ‌First‌ ‌Men‌ ‌‌premiered‌ ‌with‌ ‌live‌ ‌orchestral‌ ‌accompaniment‌ ‌just‌ ‌months‌ ‌before‌ ‌the ‌death of composer Jóhann‌ ‌Jóhannsson‌,‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌Manchester‌ ‌International‌ ‌Festival.‌ Adapted‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌1930s‌ ‌novel‌ ‌by‌ ‌Olaf‌ ‌Stapledon‌ ‌and‌ ‌completed‌ ‌posthumously‌ ...‌ ‌Filming‌ ‌largely‌ ‌at‌ ‌gargantuan‌ ‌abandoned‌ ‌Balkan‌ ‌monuments‌ ‌in‌ ‌grainy‌ ‌black and white,‌ ‌Jóhannsson‌ ‌eschews‌ ‌niceties‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌“conventional‌ ‌drama”‌ ‌or‌ ‌“on-screen‌ ‌actors”‌ ‌in‌ ‌favour‌ ‌of‌ ‌mesmerising‌ ‌slow‌ ‌camera‌ ‌movements,‌ ‌Tilda‌ ‌Swinton’s‌ ‌hypnotic‌ ‌and‌ ‌quietly‌ ‌despairing‌ ‌narration‌ ‌from‌ ‌‘2000‌ ‌million‌ ‌years‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌future’,‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌signature‌ ‌score‌.

Find our more on the NZIFF site
Read Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon

Last and First Men

Martin Eden

Jack‌ ‌London’s‌ ‌sweeping‌ ‌semi-autobiographical‌ ‌novel‌ ‌gets‌ ‌an‌ ‌unexpectedly‌ ‌poetic‌ ‌Neapolitan‌ ‌translation‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌ambitious‌ ‌new‌ ‌feature‌ ‌from‌ ‌Italian‌ ‌director‌ ‌Pietro‌ ‌Marcello.‌ ‌

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read Martin Eden by Jack London

Martin Eden


A young paedophile’s return to society is calmly explored in Belgian director Patrice Toye’s powerful, thought-provoking new film. Based on Inge Schilperoord’s controversial novel Muidhond.

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read Tench by Inge Schilperoord


True History of the Kelly Gang

From Sir Sydney Nolan’s epic paintings to Peter Carey’s Booker Prize-winning novel, Ned Kelly has come a long way to find himself thundering on horseback across a barren moonlit landscape, dressed only in boots and a flowing lace frock, in this dazzling postmodern version of the outlaw legend.

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

True History of the Kelly Gang


Something completely different from the director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, this swirling, kaleidoscopic take on the adventures of Peter Pan and Wendy in Neverland is uniquely for both mature kids and wide-eyed adults.

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Read Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan

While at War

In Alejandro Amenábar latest film, celebrated Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno becomes a lens through which a critical moment in the country’s history is refracted back to our unstable political present.

Find out more on the NZIFF site
Watch Miguel De Unamuno: El Rector on Access Video

Miguel De Unamuno

See also:
Heroic Losers (Based on La noche de la usina / The Night of the Heroic Losers by Eduardo Sacheri)
My Extraordinary summer with Tess (Based on the novel of the same name by Anna Woltz)

NZIFF-related Books

Here are some books on topics and people featured in movies and documentaries at this New Zealand International Film Festival:


Fritzi: A revolutionary tale

Find books about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Hong Kong Moments

Find books about the Hong Kong protest movement.

Identifying features

Find books about the U.S. / Mexico border.

Kubrick by Kubrick

Find books about - and movies by - Stanley Kubrick.

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist

Read The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir by William Friedkin.

Martin Margiela: In his own words

Read books or watch videos about fashion designer Martin Margiela.

Once were brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

Find books about - and music by - Robbie Robertson and The Band.

State Funeral

Read books about Stalin.

Tupaia's Endeavour

Find books about Tupaia.


Find books and resources about aritst and activist Ai Weiwei, who directed this documentary.

Beamafilm and Kanopy

Beamafilm and Kanopy are online video streaming services with great collections of award-winning independent, international, classic films, and documentaries. Both are free with your library card number and password / PIN.

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Follow the Festival

Visit our page about film for movie resources and information.

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