As the New Zealand film industry has evolved, definitions of what constitutes a feature film have shifted. Although guided by the world archivist standard of defining features as being of more than 60 minutes in length for films made after 1976, but I have also taken under consideration that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute all consider a film of at least 40 minutes to be a feature. I have included one documentary (Cinema of Unease), due to its subject matter, and have also included some telefeatures along with theatrically released films.

Producing a film isn't all about the profit the producers add to their accounts, nor is it about the popularity of its cast and creative team. A good local film can be considered a cultural product. As with all cultural products, any New Zealand film is a hybrid of influences, with overseas input including such contributions as the influence of overseas training institutions such as the Australian Film, Television and Radio School; the presence of "imported" actors such as Warren Oates, Eleanor David, John Carradine, etc. and production personnel such as Michael Anderson, Ferdinand Fairfax and Nagisa Oshima; and the models provided by imported genres, as can be seen in such films as Bad Taste, Wild Horses and Goodbye Pork Pie.

In defining what constitutes a "New Zealand film" I have been guided by the description in the Film Commission Act of 1978 which established the New Zealand Film Commission. Under the Act "significant New Zealand content" is defined with regard to subject; nationalities and places of residence of creators, production teams and casts, financiers and copyright holders: money sources; ownership and whereabouts of equipment and technical facilities.

Many films do not fit all of these categories, but I have included them because of their significant New Zealand association. Examples include The Piano, which was financed from overseas, but set and shot in New Zealand with a largely New Zealand cast and crew; A Soldier's Tale which was shot overseas, but financed and produced from New Zealand; and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, which, although not a New Zealand story, had input from New Zealand money and personnel and was shot in New Zealand. Later, if there is an interest, I may include films with a minimal, but nevertheless interesting connection to New Zealand, such as The Sands of Iwo Jima, which was partly filmed in New Zealand.

The Preceeding is mostly derived from 'New Zealand Film 1912-1996' by Helen Martin and Sam Edwards - Oxford University Press IBSN 0-19-558336-1 which I highly recommend to everyone interested in pre-1997 New Zealand films. - CE

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