Moralists stir up Kiwi fests

The search for censorship brings in publicity

Auckland auds rewarded strong programming at this year’s round of New Zealand film festivals, boosting attendance by 17% from the previous record. Some 261,000 tickets were sold on the fest circuit, which began in Auckland and Wellington in July and just ended in the last of 13 provincial centers.

Fest director Bill Gosden attributed the success to a strong program that included New Zealand premiere screenings of some of the year’s hottest films, among them “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “The Motorcycle Diaries” and local hit “In My Father’s Den.”

Gosden said the publicity generated by a morality group, which tried to hold up screenings by seeking reviews of the censorship classifications of films it doesn’t like the sound of, assisted in raising fests’ public profile.

Fest programs drew from a selection of 150 features, documentaries and short films from 38 countries.

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