The New Zealand International Film Festival is upon us, and our programme director Rachael King makes some literary picks.

Bill Direen: A Memory of Others
Bill Direen is best known as a musician, but he is also a poet and a novelist. This film promises to be in-depth exploration of music and writing, and includes homages to Janet Frame in Oamaru and James K. Baxter in Jerusalem.

Free Theatre
I’ve included this because it tells the story of our friends at Christchurch’s Free Theatre, who stage challenging and literary work, and it is made by the wonderful Shirley Horrocks.

The Workshop
Who can resist a film set in that hotbed of suspense and transgression — a writing workshop?

Ethel & Ernest
An animated feature based on the graphic novel by the amazing Raymond Briggs whose work intrigued, enchanted and scared the hell out of me when I was a child.

A Monster Calls
I sobbed my face off reading Patrick Ness’s novel and I can’t wait to see the story of a boy dealing with his mother’s cancer, and a monster that won’t leave him alone (could the two be related? Spoiler: yes), brought to the big screen.

The Lost City of Z
The fascinating story of Amazon explorer Percy Fawcett, based on the book by David Grann. Secretly I’m hoping that films of books about the Amazon will catch on.

Swallows and Amazons
Finally! Arthur Ransome’s much-loved children’s novel that fuelled many a young sailor’s dreams of independence and adventure.