The inaugural season of Sunset Cinema in Carterton was a roaring success.  The movies that were featured are below:

Georgie Girl - Opening Night 22 January

2001, 69 min. Directors: Annie Goldson, Peter Wells

‘A stand-out… Beyer’s dignity, charm and frankness make Georgie Girl a fascinating film, even when she discusses the toughest times in her life…’ Sydney Morning Herald

We were delighted to have Georgina Beyer as our guest at this opening night screening. 

A must-see for Wairarapa locals old and new. This multi-award winning documentary tells the story of Georgina Beyer's extraordinary journey from city sex worker to MP for conservative, rural Wairarapa. Beyer became involved in local body politics in Carterton, winning the mayoralty in a landslide in 1995. When she went on to become the region's MP, she was the first openly transsexual person in the world to be elected to national office. Georgie Girl has screened in the US, Australia, on the BBC and won dozens of international awards.


Gardening with Soul - 29 January

2013, 100 min. Director Jess Feast.

'All the best documentaries have a strong lead character and Sister Loyola is a cracker.'  New Zealand Herald

'What a film ... I've never seen anything so warm-hearted or inspiring in my life.' Radio NZ National

We were thrilled to have director Jess Feast joining us on opening night to talk about Gardening with Soul, which won best documentary at the 2013 Moa NZ Film awards.

Don't miss this intimate, funny and moving portrait of one of the liveliest 90-year-olds you could ever meet – Sister Loyola Galvin. The film follows four seasons in Sister Loyola's life at the Home of Compassion in Wellington’s Island Bay, unearthing her thoughts on everything from compost to Catholic Church sex abuse scandals. The result is a tribute to a life lived with unusual zest and wisdom.

Antarctica: A Year on Ice - 5 February

2013, 91 min. Director Anthony Powell.

'Not your normal nature documentary.' Washington Post

Director and photographer Anthony Powell will be joining us via Skype to introduce his film – fresh from his latest trip to Antarctica. 

To create this visually stunning documentary, Powell spent 10 years capturing Antarctica on camera: from the 24 hour darkness of winter, with its blazing aurora and ice storms, to the summer months when teams of scientists and other workers descend on the continent.

Natural splendour aside, it's the startling behind-the-scenes footage of daily life in Antarctica, with all its highs and lows, that make this very personal movie unique. Powell’s time-lapse imagery - his speciality - has screened on National Geographic, Discovery Channel and in BBC's Frozen Planet.


This Way of Life

2009, 84 min. Directors: Barbara and Tom Sumner-Burstyn

‘Resonant and stunningly shot’ Variety magazine

Filmed over four years, This Way of Life documents the story of Hawkes Bay hunter and horse wrangler Peter Ottley-Karena, his wife Colleen, and their six children. Moving but unsentimental, the footage reveals the family's commitment to a simple life, close to nature (how many six-year-olds you know never watch TV, or can ride a galloping horse, bareback?) It's not an easy path, however, and among the challenges the family faces is Peter's broken relationship with his step-father.

This Way of Life was the only New Zealand documentary chosen to compete at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010, where it won a coveted Jury Prize.


Haunting Douglas - 19 February

2003, 75 min. Director: Leanne Pooley

‘A benchmark in arts documentaries.’ Sydney Morning Herald

'I can think of no more appreciative, perceptive or powerful portrait of an artist in New Zealand than this.' Bill Gosden, NZ Film Festival 2003

This intimate portrait of renowned dancer and choreographer Douglas Wright weaves interviews with footage of performances and extracts from Wright’s autobiography. From small town New Zealand, through drug addiction and illness, to triumph on the New York stage in the 1980s, Wright’s unique talent and resilience shine through. ‘For me, dancing, performing for people, is the ultimate mystery and the ultimate joy.’


Dark Horse (documentary ) - 26 February

2003, 70 min. Director: Jim Marbrook

'A simply amazing film.' Kim Hill, Radio New Zealand

This is the astounding true story that inspired the recent movie of the same name. Dark Horse the documentary follows charismatic local hero and chess champion Genesis Potini as he spreads the love of the game among his community in Gisborne, and deals with the challenges of his bipolar disorder along the way. 

Dark Horse was voted best feature documentary at the inaugural DOCNZ International Film Festival in 2005.


Kaikohe Demolition / Land of the Long White Cloud - 5 March

Kaikohe Demolition - 2004, 52 min / Land of the Long White Cloud - 2009, 75 min

Director: Florian Habicht

Don't miss this double bill! Two much-loved documentaries by one of New Zealand’s most successful and insatiably curious filmmakers. Shot on a shoestring budget, Kaikohe Demolition is a tribute to a community of fascinating characters in the Far North, drawn together by a desire to demolition derby. The film won best digital feature at the NZ Film Awards.

For Land of the Long White Cloud, Habicht returned to Northland to get up close to the surfcasters at the world’s biggest snapper fishing contest. The first prize is $50,000 but the participants chase the joy of the cast as much as the purse, while Habicht teases out their innermost thoughts.


My Lady of the Cave - 12 March

1922, 71 min. Director: Rudall Hayward

They just don't make movies like this anymore! Join us for a classic New Zealand silent movie with live piano accompaniment courtesy of Nga Taonga, the NZ Film Archive. 

My Lady of the Cave was the first feature film made by pioneering director Rudall Hayward. It has everything you’d expect from a romantic drama set in the Bay of Plenty in the 1890s: a dashing hero, a damsel in need of rescue, home-spun special effects, high-seas adventure, bootleggers… and that’s just the first 15 minutes. The story focuses on an orphaned girl raised in isolation on an island by a mute Maori man. The hero of the film is lost overboard from his ship and washes up on a beach, where he soon discovers the mysterious and beguiling ‘lady of the cave’…

But don't take our word for it! Here's what the NZ Herald said in Feb 1922:

‘New Zealanders should be proud of the New Zealand picture My Lady Of The Cave. It sets a standard in photography, technique, lighting, and production generally which places it on equal terms with the imported films… The crowds of patrons who thronged to the Grand Theatre at all sessions yesterday to witness the first screenings of this really fine film found no need to exercise tolerance towards a local effort.’ 


Many thanks to our sponsors who made the 2015 Sunset Cinema season possible:


Creative Communities NZ

Pelorus Trust

Trust House Trust

Wairarapa NZME


And, of course, endless gratitude to all those who came along and supported our festival!