Rosie of WUFF

The Wellington Underground Film Festival started a couple of years ago and has since grown from strength to strength. We chat to Rosie, the energetic, passionate founder about running a festival for “original, radically artistic” approaches to their craft.


First things first: name and what you say you do at parties

Rosalinda Gabriella Flores Rodriguez Rowe. Or Rosie Rowe. I try not to go to parties where people ask me what I do. I know that’s pretentious, but I’m a genXer, so pretension is in my blood.

You run an underground film festival in Wellington. Can you tell us a bit more about it? 

Yep. This is our official line: “The Wellington Underground Film Festival aims to identify and encourage contemporary New Zealand filmmakers who have an original, radically artistic approach and are producing work outside mainstream movie production and distribution. We create a platform for the screening of film and video providing a festival to showcase NZ artists work alongside international artists, especially single-author, which might otherwise be unrecognised and unavailable to the general public.”

What’s your favourite part of choosing films?

I think my favorite part of choosing a film is when, after watching hundreds of classical narrative submissions with the same opening, same soundtrack, same title font, same establishing shot, same, same, same until my eyes are bleeding… I stumble on a film that shows itself as unique. It separates itself from the pack with its unbridled imagination or vision, in content and form, and it restores my faith that people are still crafting these gems.

Do you have any top-must-see recommendations?

I think it best to abstain from giving my recommendation, except to come to all three nights! Do I have favourites? Yes, I have my own aesthetic, but it’s mine, and I wouldn’t want to push that onto others. An analogy I make with WUFF is that it’s like walking through an art gallery or museum. It may take you all day to find that one piece that resonates with you, but seeing the others was a requirement. There will be films that do not resonate with you, and there will be films you will never be able to let go of. That is what WUFF provides the audience.

 What’s the most challenging thing about running an underground film festival?

Finding the right PR person…hands down. That has been the hardest role to fill. I’m totally winging it, and have people step in to help. Thank goodness for Ellen Pullar at The Film Archive and my partner, Anna. Whew!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“It’s about losing everything you love, except your love, and springing back to life…” spoken by a dear friend-poet after I lost my mother to cancer. I don’t know if that counts as advice, but never have truer words been spoken to me.

What’s an upcoming project you’re excited about?

I am super excited that Wellington is getting serious about bicycle infrastructure. I would say that the protected bike lanes that are in the works in Wellington is the upcoming project I’m most excited about.

Where’s the place you’ll always take visitors to Wellington?

Around the bays on a bicycle, stopping for a picnic next to the water.

WUFF is on from May 15 – 17 at The Film Archive