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Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival 2021

It's a great pleasure to introduce this year's 10th annual Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival, the sixth that we've proudly curated.

Like many cultural events, our programme was interrupted by Covid-19 last year. This year, we have an even greater appreciation for our sponsors, Rialto Cinemas and our cinema partners, and you, our loyal audience, for supporting us as we bring this festival to life. We are so fortunate and grateful to be able to share these films with you here in New Zealand, and the filmmakers themselves feel a real joy knowing they are being seen in a cinema, as they intended them to be experienced.

This year's line-up offers an inspiring dose of films from architects that have left a legacy of work, including Alvar Aalto, Mario Botta and Alfred Frey; characters whose indelible impact on contemporary design is still present to this day.

The influence of Aalto's wives, Ray Eames and the creative genius of several women, come to the fore this year. Charlotte Perriand's fascinating career alongside Le Corbusier, the trailblazing women architects in City Dreamers and the spiritual works of Hilma af Klint, a painter whose abstract compositions were years before the 'masters', yet have only been widely recognised in the last two decades. Along with the charming musings from Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa, in Tokyo Ride, there are stories to share, not previously told.

We contemplate Impossible Projects; people who, despite challenges, remain steadfastly committed to their beliefs and values, their work and craft. Here the exceptional story of innovative American furniture designer George Nakashima sits with a celebration of the analogue in An Impossible Project. The engaging history of advertising's birth in America explores design within culture, as do the collection of Ray and Charles Eames' short films and the Rock'n'Roll feature, Show Me The Picture.

And finally, we reflect on a decade of the festival with a selection of films that have been much-loved and admired over the years, brought back by popular demand, in the spirit of celebration.

We hope you enjoy.

Clare Buchanan and Akiko Kurematsu
Clearly & Co.


Resene Paints Ltd

2021 brings with it two celebrations. It's 10 years since the Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival first started and when we look back over all the films that have been screened over the years, it's a veritable feast of architecture and design ideas – stimulating, thought provoking and inspiring. And this year's festival promises to continue that tradition.

The second milestone we're celebrating this year is Resene's 75th birthday.

Like so many good Kiwi ideas, the story of Resene started in a garage in 1946. My grandad, Ted, couldn't find any paint suitable for his concrete buildings, so in typical Kiwi style, he developed his own — in a cement mixer in his garage!

And since that time, as Resene has grown, we have been continually energised and inspired by the architecture and design community with suggestions for paints, stains and colours that have grown Resene well past Ted's original vision. It was the design community's desire for more colour that led Resene to create a new system of colour in the 1960s that greatly expanded the colour options available. Not only did this enable the design community to bring more colour to their projects, it also made colour accessible to all Kiwis.

Thanks to the Rialto Cinemas and Clearly & Co teams, the Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival has grown to be one of the largest architecture and design film festivals in the world. It's our privilege to be part of a festival dedicated to architecture and design that celebrates cutting edge design and architecture, inspiring ideas and so much more. It's a much cherished opportunity for us to provide inspiration to all those who inspire us.

We hope you enjoy the festival as much as we do.

Nick Nightingale

Managing Director

Rialto Cinemas

This year we celebrate 10 years of the Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival.

Every year since the beginning, we've experienced growth in the festival by adding venues, more films and reaching more architecture and design enthusiasts in the community.

Then 2020 brought the ninth edition of our festival to a grinding halt with the Covid-19 pandemic. It feels hard to believe that when the festival would have normally opened in May last year, not one cinema in the country was operating.

This makes our 10th anniversary feel even more special as we have approached it with a thankfulness that we can once again enjoy this specialised content on cinema screens nationwide.

We'd like to extend our appreciation to our curatorial partners Clearly & Co for their support. Their resilience and positivity has meant that we have a fantastic line-up to share with you this year.

Sponsors mean that this festival can exist. Thank you to our naming rights sponsor Resene who have been on the journey for the entire 10 years. This year we are also grateful for the support of our premiere gold partner One Roof; our gold partners Fisher & Paykel, Bremworth and HOME magazine; plus our bronze partner ADNZ (Architectural Designers New Zealand) and our wine partner Leftfield.

This year, be sure to keep an eye out in Auckland and Wellington for additional programming on the last four days of the festival. The Wellington audience will have their pick of cinemas as the festival is showing at Embassy Theatre and Light House Cinema Cuba. And we'll be continuing to host week-long versions of the festival in New Plymouth and Havelock North.

Book online, sit back, relax and let the films take you on a fascinating journey through the world of architecture and design.

Kathryn Bennett

Group Manager
Rialto Cinemas

Welcome to the 2021 Line-up

See the programme below for details or download a PDF version.

Auckland @ Rialto Cinemas, Wellington @ Light House Cinema Cuba, Wellington @ Embassy Theatre, Dunedin @ Rialto Cinemas, Christchurch @ Deluxe Cinemas.  The Havelock North and New Plymouth theatres will play Festival Selects – a selection of films – check with the theatre when you wish to book those locations: Havelock North (June 10–16), Event Cinemas, New Plymouth (June 17–23), Event Cinemas.

Book tickets online

Architectural legacies

The works that speak volumes decades later, and the architects that made them.

Beyond the visible: celebrating women and and stories untold

Fearless visionaries, trailblazers and dreamers.

Impossible projects: design within culture

Crazy commitment. Those who defy expectations in their devotion to craft.


AKL: Sat 8 May, 8:30 pm / Tue 13 May, 10:45 am
WGTN: Sat 22 May, 8:15 pm / Sun 30 May, 3:00 pm
DUN: Fri 4 June, 11:00 am / Thu 10 June, 7:30 pm
CHCH: Thu 17 June, 7:45 pm / Wed 23 June, 10:00 am

Frey II only

AKL: Sun 9 May, 12:30 pm / Tue 18 May, 6:40 pm
WGTN: Thu 27 May, 6:15 pm / Tue 1 June, 6:15 pm
DUN: Sun 6 June, 11:30 am / Sun 13 June, 5:30 pm
CHCH: Sun 13 June, 7:45 pm / Mon 21 June, 5:45 pm

SCREENING TOGETHER: Charlotte Perriand, Pioneer in the Art of Living + The Women of the Bauhaus

AKL: Sat 8 May, 6:30 pm / Fri 14 May, 6:35 pm / Tue 18 May, 10:45 am
WGTN: Sat 22 May, 6:15 pm / Tue 25 May, 8:15 pm / Fri 28 May, 6:00 pm
DUN: Sun 6 June, 1:30 pm / Fri 11 June, 6:00 pm
CHCH: Sat 12 June, 4:30 pm / Fri 18 June, 6:15 pm

Ray and Charles Eames are among the most important American designers of the 20th Century and are celebrated for their ground-breaking contribution to architecture, furniture design, photographic arts, industrial design and manufacturing.

The husband-and-wife duo were also prolific film makers. Exceptionally good at visualising abstract concepts, they produced 125 experimental, educational and entertaining short films over 30 years. This is a selection of their 35mm films.

Powers of Ten, 1977, 9 mins
Considered 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant' by the Library of Congress, this film was added to the United States National Film Registry in 1998. An unforgettable experience, it begins with a man sleeping at a picnic, then takes the viewer out to the edge of space and back, all in a single shot.

Eames Lounge Chair, 1956, 2 mins
A celebration of the iconic Eames chair, a design classic.

Day of the Dead, 1957, 15 mins
An exploration of the Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico in early November.

Toccata for Toy Trains, 1957, 14 mins
This film delves into the world of toy trains, which Charles loved. It features toy trains of various vintages, styles, sizes, and materials to tell the simple story of a journey.

House — after 5 years of living, 1955, 11 mins
An exploration of the Eames House and Studio, made five years after they began living there. Composed entirely of still images and shot as 35mm transparencies by Charles between 1949 and 1955.

A computer perspective, 1972, 8 mins
This film was based on their 1971 exhibition, A Computer Perspective, produced for the IBM Corporation. The film is a visual survey (from 1890 to 1950) exploring important milestones in the development of the electronic computer through filming the collection of artifacts, ideas, events, and memorabilia displayed in the exhibition.

A collection of short films  by Ray & Charles Eames

Tops, 1969, 7 mins
A celebration of the ancient craft of top-making and spinning. The score is by Elmer Bernstein and 123 tops spin to it. A mix of close-up and, live action photography, we see an array of tops from a range of countries.

IBM at the fair, 1964, 7 mins
This film reveals design proposals for the IBM pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It incorporates photography and animation to present the concepts, architecture, and overall look of the pavilion and to convey an impression of the exhibition's spirit and content.

AKL: Fri 7 May, 11:00 am / Mon 10 May, 7:30 pm / Fri 14 May, 5:00 pm / Sun 16 May, 12:25 pm
WGTN: Sun 22 May, 2:45 pm / Mon 24 May, 7:45 pm / Thu 27 May, 12:45 pm / Fri 28 May, 8:30 pm / Sun 30 June, 3:30 pm
DUN: Fri 4 June, 8:15 pm / Mon 7 June, 6:30 pm / Sat 12 June, 2:45 pm
CHCH: Sun 13 June, 4:15 pm / Wed 16 July, 6:15 pm

The Gardener

2016, Director: Sébastien Chabot, 84 mins, part subtitled

For the garden lovers, this film is sure to delight as it profiles famed horticulturist Francis Cabot and his signature creation, Les Quatre Vents, nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Charlevoix County in Quebec. As one of the world's foremost private gardens, created over 75 years and three generations, it is an enchanted place of beauty and surprise, a horticultural masterpiece of the 21st Century.

Film: The Gardener

With voice over captured before his passing at the age of 86, plantsman Cabot recounts his personal quest for perfection. Through the words of Cabot and his family, and with the participation of gardening experts and writers, the film looks back at this remarkable man's personal story and the artistic philosophy that gave birth to one of the greatest gardens in the world.

NZILA* Includes Q&A hosted by NZ Institute of Landscape Architects

AKL: Sat 8 May, 12:45 pm / Mon 10 May, 5:45 pm / Fri 14 May, 10:45 am / Sun 16 May, 5:45 pm
WGTN: Thu 27 May, 6:15 pm* / Sat 29 May, 6:45 pm / Sun 30 May, 1:15 pm / Wed 2 June, 6:30 pm
DUN: Sat 5 June, 1:15 pm / Thu 10 June, 5:45 pm / Sun 13 June, 1:45 pm
CHCH: Fri 11 June, 6:30 pm / Wed 16 June, 10:00 am / Sat 19 June, 4:30 pm

Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

2016, Director: Peter Rosen 68 mins

This film examines the life of Finnish-American modernist and architectural visionary Eero Saarinen, whose iconic buildings include National Historic Landmarks such as St. Louis' celebrated Gateway Arch, the General Motors Technical Center in Michigan and New York's TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport.

This cinematic journey is narrated with genuine intrigue, mixed with love and loss, by Saarinen's son Eric (Director of Photography). He visits the sites of his father's work and celebrates, through spectacular drone-captured photography, the extraordinary timelessness of Saarinen's designs. Saarinen's life was tragically cut short at the age of 51. His body of work reveals, even after many years, that his was one of the most influential careers in American architecture.

Film: Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future

Last screened at the festival in 2017

AKL: Sun 9 May, 2:15 pm / Tue 18 May, 5:10 pm
WGTN: Fri 21 May, 1:00 pm / Sat 29 May, 3:15 pm
DUN: Mon 7 June, 11:30 am
CHCH: Mon 14 June, 10:00 am / Mon 21 June, 7:45 pm

— Download a PDF version of the programme for full details —

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