Coming Soon to Academy Cinemas

SHOWING FROM MAY 19th - Michael Moore, still the baseball-hatted scourge of corporate America, is back with his first film in six years – and his funniest and most optimistic ever. The invasion promised in the title is a total ruse: he crosses Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East to reconnoitre social welfare programmes that might usefully be plundered for export to the US, or to any other bastion of free market ideology. Adopting the posture of an incredulous free marketer himself, he elicits highly amusing responses from the contented beneficiaries of government intervention in numerous… er, nanny states. A super-fit Italian couple proclaim the benefits of six weeks of paid vacation and five months maternity leave. Their boss concurs. French public-school kids learn about nutrition, lunch on lamb skewers and tomato salads and say yuck to Coke and ketchup. Portuguese cops say a sardonic não to the war on drugs. Elsewhere successful approaches to crime and punishment, women’s rights, defence budgets and school homework are expounded to the marauding Moore. Such a hand-picked round-up of patently sane interview subjects is more than enough to make Moore’s parade of Good Examples a buoyant experience for any progressive spirit. - NZIFF

JUNE 5th, 6:30pm - Part Gothic noir, part fairy tale, this one-of-a-kind masterpiece was ignored upon release but has since gone on to influence everyone from David Lynch to the Coen Brothers. Robert Mitchum is absolutely chilling as a homicidal preacher searching for stolen loot in the American south. A tour de force genre-bender packed with striking black-and-white imagery.

RELEASE DATE 26th MAY ~ Investigative Sundance documentary following New Zealand journalist David Farrier whose look into a bizarre and troubling world of competitive tickling takes him down a rabbit hole of abusive emails, law suits, and alternate agendas...

SCREENING MAY 24th & 26th - The award winning collection has stories that move us, stories that make us think, and most importantly of all- stories that inspire us to get on our bike. Showcasing everything a bike centric audience could want- action, drama, plenty of humor and even a hint of romance, making you want to fall in love with your bike all over again. There will be a 15 minute intermission, making the total running time for this screening 135 minutes.

COMEDY - Spanish & Catalan with English Subtitles If one affair wasn’t enough, the charming cast returns to open the festival once again – this time with some new friends, as the Catalans are thrown into the mix. Returning from months at sea, Koldo is met by his beloved Merche, who is less than impressed with him after his long absence. With her head held high, she storms away in a huff leaving him with an envelope announcing a seemingly joyful occasion – Amaia is getting married! But the fiercely Basque Koldo is horrified to realise Rafa is not the groom… even worse, she is marrying a CATALAN! With less than a few days to go before the wedding, Koldo and Rafa must join forces to prevent Amaia from promising herself to Pau, the wealthy hipster. What is not clear to Koldo, is why Rafa and Amaia separated in the first place… With new elements of playfulness, 2015’s number one Spanish box office hit will leave festival audiences with a fresh grin as they enjoy more escapades of their beloved characters.

Drama - Spanish with English Subtitles. Maria a 17 year old Mayan woman, lives on the slopes of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her. Although Maria dreams of seeing `the city`, her status as an indigenous woman does not allow her to go out into that `modern world`. Later during a pregnancy complication, this modern world will save her life, but at what price?

In one of Penélope Cruz’s finest-ever performances, the beloved actress powerfully depicts a woman experiencing major life challenges with an indefatigable dignity, persevering in the only way she knows how. Magda (Cruz) is separated from her husband and is entirely dedicated to young son Dani (Teo Planell), her pride and joy. Her world is upended when she is diagnosed with breast cancer, but she refuses to be defined by it. During her treatment she meets soccer scout Arturo (Luis Tosar), who is contending with changes and loss of his own. A relationship develops between the two, and as they support one another through hardships and treatment, their love gives life to – and joy in – events that are both unexpected and illuminating. Ma Ma is Cruz’s first venture into producing, and with acclaimed director Julio Medem (A Room in Rome, Sex & Lucia) she delivers nothing short of a spectacular ode to female strength in the times of greatest adversity.

The backstage preparations for a New Year’s Eve TV spectacular become a flashpoint for comic mayhem, in this audaciously inventive ensemble comedy from Álex de la Iglesia (Witching & Bitching, Closing Night SFF14). My Big Night offers all-access to a TV variety show so full of hitches and snags, its cavalcade of superstars will be lucky if they survive the taping. Pop sensation Adán (Mario Casas, Unit 7, SFF12) is duped by a fanatical groupie, while legendary divo Alphonso (Raphael) is stalked by an unstable wannabe. On stage, the hostility is barely concealed between presenters and former lovers Roberto (Hugo Silva, Shrew’s Nest, SFF15) and Cristina (Carolina Bang). Amongst the extras, loveable José is hitting it off with the gorgeous but jinxed Paloma. Meanwhile, outside the studio, there is bedlam as riot police clash with demonstrators. Chaos, snappy dialogue, wicked farce and eccentricities abound; all skilfully controlled by the committed all-star cast and madcap orchestrations of this maestro director.

Closing this year’s festival is one of the major discoveries of the 2015 Cannes International Film Festival. Ciro Guerra’s multi award-winning film is a breathtaking cinematic odyssey through the Amazon, following the quests of two European explorers in search of a rare flower alleged to have healing properties. Inspired by the real-life journals kept by Theodor Koch-Grunberg (portrayed by Jan Bijvoet) and Richard Evans Schultes (Brionne Davis), the film charts each man’s treacherous and life-changing journey. Though decades apart, both are guided through the labyrinthine rivers and jungles by the same native shaman, Karamakate (Nilbio Torres, and later Antonio Bolivar Salvado Yangiama), the last surviving member of his tribe, who takes them deeper and deeper into a heart of darkness. The spectacular widescreen black and white cinematography and evocative sound design combine to depict the landscapes and characters with an hypnotic, mythical sense of wonder. This is an extraordinary film.

Documentarian Andrew Rossi chronicles the creation of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's most attended fashion exhibition in history, 'China: Through The Looking Glass'. With unprecedented access, filmmaker Andrew Rossi captures the collision of high fashion and celebrity at the Met Gala, one of the biggest global fashion events chaired every year by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. Featuring a cast of renowned artists in many fields (including filmmaker Wong Kar Wai and fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano) as well as a host of contemporary pop icons like Rihanna, the movie dives into the debate about whether fashion should be viewed as art.

The enigmatic Damián Alcázar is Antonio, a onetime construction foreman who fell off the grid decades ago and is now a night watchman living in a junkyard. Well, not any more: business is bad, and the scrapyard’s owner just replaced him with a guard dog. Jobs are scarce in this corner of rural Mexico, and Antonio has to settle for pumping gas for pittance; but when an old co-worker stops by for a fill-up, Antonio once again gets the chance to lead a team. Setting out with four novices and a rolling spray-paint machine, the men start the job of laying down a dashed yellow line on a 217-kilometer stretch between two small towns. While on the road, a spectrum of hardships and triumphs will force the unlikely team of misfits to unexpectedly bond. A road movie in the most literal sense, Celso R. García’s dialogue fosters an easy, earthy camaraderie between the men, delivering both sadness and pure joy, and making this an irresistible journey in which audiences will delight.

Gael García Bernal gives a supremely unsettling performance in the new film from visionary Argentinean director Pablo Agu¨ero, which tells the unbelievable true story of the transport of the body of the country’s beloved First Lady Eva Perón. In 1952 Eva Perón, died of cancer at the age of thirty-three. A renowned embalmer was commissioned by grieving husband Juan Perón to preserve her body for display, and Argentines flocked to be near “Evita.” Three years later, when his government was overthrown by a military coup, Perón fled the country before he could make arrangements for the transportation of his wife’s body. The military junta now in control kidnapped the corpse; so afraid were they of Eva’s symbolic power that they even made it illegal to utter her name. Thus began the two-decade journey of Eva’s body throughout Europe and eventually back to Argentina. Interspersing his film’s eerie scenes with found footage, Agu¨ero creates a resonant reconstruction of Argentina’s past both bold and original.

Barça Dreams details the amazing history of one of the most popular and admired football clubs on Earth, FC Barcelona. Its mites and legends include arguably the world’s best player of all time Lionel Messi, the famous coach Pep Guardiola and the man that revolutionized this sport with his innovative vision, Johan Cruyff. This emotional journey begins with the club’s founder Joan Gamper, 115 years ago, and follows the dreams and ambitions of a long list of football celebrities. We see the success reached by Messi, Xavi Hernández and Andrés Iniesta, all of them born to play football at the extraordinary school of La Masia. Moreover, this documentary unveils the secrets of a powerful sports club linked not only to the world fans but also to the Catalan identity, as it was formed alongside political movements and events, validating its unique legend “Barça: more than a club”. Not just about football, the ideals presented show how competition can be a positive force in pushing forward to achieve any dream.

A captivating Irene Escolar delivers an award-winning performance as she plays young June – a woman who left her home in Madrid to escape a terrible occurrence. She has now returned, but not as the same person she once was. Wiser and more confident, she yearns to reconnect with her father, brother, best friend and ex-lover Diego. However, her past abrupt departure makes this much more difficult than she anticipated and she must gradually work to regain their love and trust. Her greatest challenge is Diego, who has also changed during her time away. He has become a recluse and retreated into a self-imposed solitary confinement in his apartment where he avoids human contact and natural light. June is determined to save him from disappearing completely. Slowly her presence draws him back into the world as she fights for them to reconcile their differences and realise their old dream of moving to Berlin together. This is an emotionally delicate and moving story that boldly confronts the limitations of love.

Rocío (Natalia de Molina in her award-winning performance) is a young single mother who has been without work for three and a half years in the Andalucian town of Jerez de la Frontera. She is on the edge of a precipice, living day-to-day off the small allowance of odd jobs and the generosity of her neighbours. As she fights to keep her apartment (with several months of rental debt accrued) she struggles to provide for her eight-year-old son Adrián. When Rocío’s gas canister runs out or when her water is turned off, she is faced with an impossible decision: if she replaces them, there is no money to feed her son. There is an understated naturalism to the performances in this perfect storm of misfortune, reflected by documentary-style photography. In the central role, the striking de Molina’s haunting performance is painfully expressive and combined with Castillo’s absorbing script, gives a somber, unsentimental but completely compelling X-ray of a southern Europe in crisis.

One misty dawn, in a quiet fishing port in northwest Spain, the body of a sailor washes up in the harbour. Detective Inspector Leo Caldas (Goya Award Winner Carmelo Gómez, El Método) and his assistant Rafael Estévez (Antonio Garrido) are called in from the nearby city of Vigo to sign off on what appears to be a suicide; but details soon come to light that turn this into a complex murder investigation. Uncovering the truth, however, is not easy when the villagers are so suspicious of outsiders. As Caldas delves into the maritime life of the village, he uncovers a disturbing decade-old case of a shipwreck and two mysterious disappearances. Based on Domingo Villar’s best-selling novel Death on a Galician Shore (and adapted for the screen by the author himself) this atmospheric mystery immerses its audience in the day to day life of Galicia, slowly drawing them into a tangled net of superstition, myth, lies and betrayal.

Fernando Colomo’s 20th feature film offering is nothing short of a delightful gem dealing with matters of the heart – both young and old. Colomo himself stars as Fer, a Woody Allen-esque divorced filmmaker in the midst of a life-crisis who makes ends meet by shooting adverts. While on an impulsive trip to Menorca with an old friend, Fer takes residence in the spare room of Nuria and her daughter Olivia (Olivia Delcán). Over the course of his stay, Fer will battle with an awkward crush on Nuria, while Olivia deals with the fickle nature of young summer love. When Nuria has to leave unexpectedly, Olivia and Fer explore the island and bond. Together with this dynamic duo, we pay a visit to the more remote corners of this paradise - we’ll laugh, and we’ll find ourselves succumbing to the carefree idleness of the radiant Balearics. Olivia will infect Fer with her boundless energy and free-loving spontaneity, and bring new life and inspiration into his work, with surprising outcomes.

After the success of My First Wedding and To Fool a Thief, Argentinian comedy maestro Ariel Winograd returns with another box-office hit that’s sure to delight audiences at the festival. Hapless charmer Diego Peretti (known as Argentina’s Hugh Grant) and the fiery Maribel Verdú (SFF13 Festival Guest) sizzle on screen as a mismatched couple with very, very different views on parenthood. Gabriel (Peretti) is a divorced dad whose daughter Sofía is the centre of his universe. So much so that he hasn’t had a relationship in four years. His world is rocked by the sudden reappearance of Vicky, a childhood crush who has grown into a beautiful, independent, self-assured woman. Sparks fly, they fall for each other…there’s just one catch. Vicky hates kids. Gabriel hatches a farcical plot to keep Sofía’s existence a secret from Vicky, but it soon transpires that Sofía has plans of her own for Vicky. Featuring a stand-out debut performance from childactor Guadalupe Manent, this is the ultimate crowd-pleasing comedy.

Elia (Maribel Verdú) has a secret. In an extravagant gesture, she rents a luxury villa to celebrate her 40th with family and friends. Amongst her invitees is her vulnerable sister Cati, her tough husband Juan (Antonio de la Torre) and their 15-year-old son Bruno, as well as Elia’s ex Mario (Ginés García Millán) and his insufferable new fiancée Claudia. At Elia’s birthday dinner, the group shares the best recent news about their lives, but none compare to Elia’s bombshell. She’s won 140 million euros. Far from celebrating Elia’s good news, her guests begin secretly plotting against her. As the air thickens with tension, Elia’s good intentions take a startling turn for the worse, culminating in the ultimate moral crises for all. Director Gracia Querejeta recruits a prestigious, multi-Goya award-winning cast to bring her gripping black comedy to life. Happy 140 explores conflicting notions of generosity and deservedness, and masterfully connects the lives of the characters in order to question, how far would any of us go for 140 million?