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The 75th anniversary of the Dunedin Film Society, in September, coincides with the 75th anniversary of the first film festival ever held in New Zealand.
Cinema magnate Sir Robert Kerridge approached the film society to join with him in organising the first festival, held in March 1947, at the now demolished St James Theatre in High St. Six films were screened over a week, with 6000 tickets sold.
The Kerridge festivals lasted into the 1960s.
The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) came to Dunedin in 1977, when Amalgamated Theatres in association with Dunedin Film Society screened a selection of films over a fortnight at the now-demolished Century Theatre in Princes St.
Since 1984, the NZIFF has been organised by a trust spun off from the NZ Federation of Film Societies, of which the Dunedin Film Society was a founding member in 1947.
The society’s role is to help publicise the film festival and educate audiences about the films and film-makers selected.
For the past six years, the society has organised a festival programme launch function, with this year’s event to be held this Saturday, at 2pm, in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery auditorium.
All welcome, admission is free.