WFF logoLast night a select group of over 500 people at the Paramount were treated to the launch of this year’s Wellington Film Festival programme. Following a brief-ish introduction from returning director Bill Gosden, those present were treated to a delightful animated film called Persepolis – an adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic-novel-autobiography which is available in some local stores. Satrapi grew up in pre and post-revolutionary Iran and the film is a vivid and witty portrayal of the way totalitarianism of all extremes can squeeze human beings beyond recognition.

The programme is in a different format this year (A4) which makes it a bit easier on the eye as you scour it for gems. It also has to do double duty this year as the lack of a principal sponsor has meant the elimination of the glossy souvenir guide book.

I woke up this morning to find that last night I had ticked something on every page which is obviously not a sustainable strategy, but I do have until Tuesday (when tickets go on sale via Ticketek outlets) to slim my list down. The programmes are available now at all the Festival venues: Embassy, Paramount, Te Papa, Film Archive and Penthouse and across town over the next few days. The web site seems to be up and down under the load this morning but has a cunning calendar feature to allow you to build a personalised screening schedule over the two and a half weeks between July 18 and Aug 3.

Funerals & Snakes will have a few Festival preview posts over the next few weeks but I also commend you to The Lumière Reader, whose online coverage of the Festival is likely to be unequalled.