Ticket sales surpass 2002 levels

AUCKLAND — Attendance at the Auckland Film Festival, which ran July 9 to Sunday, sneaked past 100,000 for the first time.

Ticket sales reached 100,655, surpassing 2002’s record of 92,000.

Director Bill Gosden said the 130-film fest’s advance bookings were the best ever, and though day sales declined slightly, the overall result is encouraging.

Fest barely broke even in 2003, and organizers had gloomily wondered whether Aucklanders, who had flocked to support it when it came under legal challenge from morality groups in 2002, had begun to take it for granted.

Gosden attributed its success to a program including Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11″ immediately after its success at Cannes and the amalgamation with the schlock-heavy Incredible Film Festival, which usually runs in November.

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