Festival FAQs

How can I submit a film?

We accept submissions from all over the world. Submission deadlines differ for New Zealand/Australia/Pacific Islands and international applicants. For information on rules and regulations, please visit the Submit a Film page. Queries can also be submitted to our <strong>Programme Manager Michael McDonnell</strong> .

When is the deadline for film entries?

Please visit the Submit a Film page for more information. Submission deadlines differ for New Zealand/Australia/Pacific Islands and international applicants.

Is there any fee to enter a film?

There is no fee for submission to Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival .

Is Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival a competitive festival?

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival does not currently host a competitive category for feature length films. We do, however, have two short film competitions within the festival: New Zealand’s Best short films, and Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts. Details on submitting for these collections can be found here.

Awards for New Zealand’s Best in 2020 were: the Creative New Zealand Best Short Film Award (a cash prize of $4000) and the Madman Entertainment Emerging Talent Award (a cash prize of $2000). Audiences select the Audience Award winner, who received 25% share of the box office taking from New Zealand’s Best online screenings and in-cinema screenings in Auckland and Wellington. In 2020, awards were introduced for Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts: the Wellington UNESCO City of Film Award for Best Film (a cash prize of $3000) and the Ngā Whanaunga CineMāori Audience Award (a cash prize of $1000). Read about the 2020 winners here

How can I volunteer for the festival?

We’ll be looking for volunteers to help deliver the 2021 film festival and we’ll be updating you very soon. We will be seeking volunteers to help in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. We hope you’ll consider volunteering with us in 2021!

Why have you moved the dates of the film festival for 2021?

The 2021 film festival dates have moved for two reasons. We anticipate we will be less likely to be impacted by Covid-19 lockdowns if we delay the festival until a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated. Some festivals from which we source films have moved to later dates.

Will these be the new festival dates every year?

No - this is a one-off for 2021 in response to the impact of Covid-19. We anticipate being back in our usual winter slot in 2022.

Will the festival also be online this year?

Not for 2021, but we are working on an online offer for release some time in 2022. Stay tuned.

Will there be a printed programme this year?

Yes - we will be printing and distributing our programme catalogue in all 13 centres.

Why is the film festival not in the town where I live?

We currently present the film festival in 13 towns and cities around New Zealand and are continually reviewing our options.

Why are you not screening in all of the cinemas you screened in last year?

The 2020 festival was one out of the box due to the uncertainty of Covid restrictions. In 2021 we have returned to our usual format, cinemas and venues, in a new time slot that we hope will remove some of the uncertainty of the previous year.

Will I get the same discounts or concessions which I have received in the past?

Yes – we will continue to offer great value for money with concessions, discounts for specific groups, and the popular multi-trip passes will be back.

When will you start telling us about films for this year?

As we've done in the past we'll be giving a sneak preview of some of the highlights in the film festival programme. You can expect the first of these in July.

When will the programme be announced?

As we've done in the past, we release the programmes in stages beginning with Auckland which will be in September. The date is still to be confirmed. 

Will you be having international filmmakers coming as guests?

Changing border restrictions mean we will not be welcoming international filmmakers to attend the 2021 film festival. We will however be celebrating New Zealand filmmakers in the festival and including Q&As and other events in the programme to enable audiences to meet filmmakers.

Will the film quiz be back?

We will definitely be talking to Flicks, Letterboxd and the film societies in Wellington and Christchurch about bringing the film quiz back for 2021 and look forward to this vibrant event which takes place in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch - start studying your film trivia now.

Will we get our money back if you cancel?

If a film screening is cancelled for any reason, including changes to lockdown levels, our cancellation policy regarding refunds will apply. Click here for more information on terms and conditions.