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Auckland gears up for cinemaphiles

By's Darren Bevan

Published: 10:33AM Wednesday July 13, 2011

Cinephiles in Auckland are readying themselves for the launch of the 2011 NZ International Film Festival this week.

The event kicks off in the city tomorrow (Thursday) with the gala launch and the New Zealand premiere of Kiwi director Florian Habicht's new film Love Story before spending the next 15 days bathing in cinematic goodies as well as treats from the cream of this year's Cannes film festival.

Organisers say ticket sales in Auckland are well ahead of same time last year, with the oldest film on our line-up proving to be the most popular.

That's Nosferatu, Symphony of Horrors - which is selling faster than Brad Pitt's latest The Tree of Life.

Festival director Bill Gosden says "Other Civic best-sellers include opening night extravaganza Love Story , The Tree of Life, Melancholia, Arrietty, The Trip and Le Havre, but plenty of good tickets remain for all of them. Its the smaller venues you should worry about. Our Lido sessions of Beginners and Senna seem likely to be the first to go, though Civic seats remain plentiful for both. We especially recommend bookings for Pina and Cave of Forgotten Dreams as our 3D venues are not large and both films are selling steadily."

The festival which heads nationwide as well will see Kiwi directors get their time to shine - with some attending Q&As after the screenings of their films - including American director Morgan Spurlock who's attending screenings of his new film POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold .

Plus throw in a Film Cafe in Auckland's Civic Theatre, where some of the finest shorts will be on display, along with quizzes and Q&As and it's quite the film lover's wet dream made reality.

And it's quite the crop this year. Below are just a few titles which, in my humble opinion, you should look out for:

Being Elmo - a story of the life and dreams of a puppeteer, this film is joyous and crowd pleasing from beginning to end. Read the full review of Being Elmo here .

The Forgiveness of Blood - from director Joshua Marton, this tale of blood feuds benefits from a searing performance by two unknown teen leads - it's turly impressive. Read the full review for The Forgiveness of Blood here and get the inside word from the director in this exclusive Q&A here .

A Matter of Taste - Serving up Paul Liebrandt - from kiwi director Sally Rowe, this look at the rise, decline and phoenix like resurrection of the English chef sings from the screen as what can only be described as food porn impresses itself on your eyeballs. Ten years in the making, this doco is a fascinating look at what it takes to survive in the scene and how the critics can make or break a career. Read the full review of A Matter of Taste - Serving up Paul Liebrandt here .

Bobby Fischer Against The World - a thrilling portrait of the effect one of the world's most intricate games has on one person, this HBO doco about the elusive chess genius Bobby Fischer is a compelling and riveting look at what fuelled him during the height of the Cold War and what happened after that defining career moment. Read the full Bobby Fischer Against The World review here .

Just a few highlights there - you can read all of the Film Festival reviews here (including the likes of She Monkeys, Windfall, Hot Coffee, Boxing Gym, Meek's Cutoff, Happy,Happy to name but a few) - and keep upto date during the Film Festival as we file daily reviews on what's hot and what's going on during the film fest.

Check out the TVNZ Film Festival site here which has all the details on all the films - plus a Q&A with Festival director Bill Gosden .

And don't forget, if you want to review the films you see, you can do that here too.