Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin

Over the last 15 years Francesca Rudkin has been working in the media as a film and music reviewer (NZ Herald, Breakfast TV), a television presenter and producer, and voice over artist. Recently, Francesca joined Rialto Channel as their resident blogger, allowing her to indulge in her love of world cinema. Her next challenge is to convince her young children that being a “Cinephile” is a legitimate profession.

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Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 30/05/2016 May, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

Rialto Channel’s A Celebration of Cannes wraps up with this week with two must see films; Swedish satirical comedy Force Majeure and excellent coming of age drama Girlhood. As sad as it is to see May come to an end, there’s plenty on offer throughout June to look forward to including the much lauded television shows This is England ’90 and The Last Panthers starirng Samantha Morton and John Hurt. Also throughout June, Willie Los’e presents a collection of sports documentaries including the fabulous New Zealand documentary The Ground We Won.  

And, here are my highlights for the week.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 23/05/2016 May, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

Well the 2016 Cannes Film Festival has come to a close with British director Ken Loach winning the Palme d’Or for the second time in his career with his social drama I, Daniel Blake. The film tells the story of an ailing carpenter’s struggle against the bureaucracy of the healthcare system and was well received at the festival. French Canadian director Xavier Dolan (Mommy) took home the Grand Prize for his film It’s Only The End Of The World. The film tells the story of a writer who returns home to tell his father he is dying, and it received mixed reviews in Cannes making it one of the more controversial winners this year. Another British director, Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank, Red Road) took home third prize, the Jury Prize for her film American Honey

Here’s a full list of this years winners. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 16/05/2016 May, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

One week into the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and the premiere of Woody Allen’s new film Cafe Society has been overshadowed by allegations of sexual assault, Julia Roberts scandalously walked barefoot on the red carpet, and George Clooney has taken every opportunity to denounce Donald Trump. In amongst all the scandal, politicking and fashion, there have been some great films on show too! Check out Indiewire’s excellent coverage of the Cannes Film Festival at

Here are my picks for the week. 

Q&A with Marty from 13th Floor Sessions.

Posted on Wednesday 11/05/2016 May, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions about 13th Floor Video Sessions. It’s fabulous to see New Zealand music on Rialto Channel - every night! 

Firstly - tell us a little about the 13th Floor.  Why did you start the 13th Floor website, and how did the Video Sessions evolve out of it?

The 13th Floor began about 5 years ago. I had been writing for various magazines previously, but the changes in the music industry meant that there was no longer much paid work for a music journalist, so I decided that if I was going to continue writing, I’d do it for my own outlet. The Video Sessions started about two years ago. A professional still photographer friend of mine, Tony Nyberg, wanted to get into video work. He suggested having bands come up to my studio/living room and he would shoot and edit the sessions. This worked surprisingly well and after several sessions Tony felt he was trained sufficiently as a video editor. By that time bands were approaching me to have them record Video Sessions so I found another music fan with several video cameras, Dennis Thorpe, and he and I have been making them ever since, with me taking over the editing duties (My real job is as a video editor at Sky TV). 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 9/05/2016 May, 2016 by Melanie Curry-Irons
It’s been 23 years since I traveled through Russia, and yet watching Leviathan, a satirical Russian drama set in the present day, it looks like little has changed. An ambitious and audacious work by Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev, Leviathan stunned critics at its 2014 Cannes Film Festival premiere where Zvyagintsev and his co-screenwriter Oleg Negin won the award for Best Screenplay. It’s a stunning film, and my first highlight of the week.

Leviathan … Wednesday 11th May, 8.30pm

Nominated for best foreign language film at the Oscars and the winner of the same category at the Golden Globes, Leviathan was applauded for the way it deals with social issues in contemporary Russia – although not by the officials who helped pay for it!

Inspired by The Book of Job and the work of Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan is a vodka drenched exploration of love, faith, corruption, violence, freedom and economic decay. It’s the story of married couple Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov) and Lilya (Elena Lyadova), and their son Romka (Sergey Pokhodaev), who are forced out of their ancestral family home on the whim of the Mayor who wishes to develop their prime site for himself. Shot in Teriberka on the Barents Sea coast in northwest Russia, the Russian Ministry of Culture apparently stumped up 35% of the film’s budget. 

Needless to say they weren’t terribly happy with Director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s brazen and derogatory take on Russia’s bureaucracy, the Russian Orthodox Church, or the average Russian’s daily consumption of vodka. Initial attempts to ban the film were scrapped after it’s Oscar nomination, and while the Russians may not like it, Leviathan is a remarkable and engaging satire.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 2/05/2016 May, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

Goodness gracious there’s a lot going on this month. The Festival de Cannes kicks off in just over a week and Rialto Channel is celebrating. Every night throughout May, Rialto Channel screens critically acclaimed feature films and documentaries that have screened in competition at Cannes recently, such as Oscar nominated films Mr. Turner, Timbuktu and Leviathan to name a few. Join me for Wednesday evening’s Rialto Presenters series when I introduce an eclectic collection of films from around the world that made a name for themselves at the Cannes Film Festival, including the beautiful The Assassin and this week’s cult horror hit It Follows.

Here are my highlights for the week. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Friday 22/04/2016 April, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

French icon Juliette Binoche and Twilight star Kristen Stewart are two actresses you might not have thought would ever co-star in a film together, and yet in Clouds of Sils Maria they do a fine job of holding this overly talky French drama together. The film about an actress facing a transition in her career due to her age was written and directed by French director Olivier Assayas after Binoche challenged him to write a film centered on women. It’s a mature, beautiful shot film that explores perceptions of age, and while at times it’s a little ambiguous, you can’t miss the obvious – Stewart is surprisingly good in it, and Bincohe is the class act we expect. Clouds of Sils Maria screens on Saturday 30th April at 8.30pm.

Here are my other highlights for the week. 

Cartel Land - Interview with Matthew Heinman

Posted on Monday 18/04/2016 April, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin

Cartel Land is a riveting, on-the-ground documentary that follows parallel stories of a group of US and Mexican vigilantes. The Arizona Border Recon is a group of volunteers run by exsolider turned vigilante Tim Foley, who protects the Arizona border from Mexican drug and people smugglers. 

On the other side of the border, Dr José Mireles, a Michoacán-based physician leads the Autodefensas, a group of everyday people who have taken the law into their own hands to rid the area of ruthless drug cartels. 

It’s a thoroughly engaging, thought provoking and revealing documentary from producer and director Matthew Heineman. This Academy Award nominated documentary screened in the 2015 NZIFF, and premieres on Rialto Channel on Thursday 21st April. 

Ahead of its television premiere, Rialto Channel caught up with Matthew Heinman to talk about why he risked his life for this documentary, and his love of the documentary genre. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 18/04/2016 April, 2016 by

If you were delighted by Jean Dujardin’s performance in the Academy Award winning film The Artist, then you might like to check out The Connectionscreening Monday 18th April at 8.30pm. In The Artist, Dujardin played a 1920’s matinee idol, and in The Connection he steps into the 70s as a French police magistrate trying to clean up the heron trade in Marseilles. Shot in the style of a 70s cop drama, The Connection is stylish and sexy, and once again Dujardin embodies his character and the era. 

Here are my other highlights for the week. 

Francesca's Picks of the Week

Posted on Monday 11/04/2016 April, 2016 by

Alan Rickman passed away in January this year leaving behind an almost 40 year long acting career that spanned film, theatre and television, as well as venturing into directing. His first foray into directing was in 1997’s The Winter Guest, a relationship dramastaring Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson. In 2014 he stepped behind the camera again to direct the delightful period romance A Little Chaos, set in the gardens of Versailles, and in which he also stared. It was his third to last performance on screen, and one that reminds us there is so much more to Rickman than his reputation as a memorable villain (Die Hard, Harry Potter, Robin Hood). His languid drawl and distinctive looks worked beautifully in any genre from drama to action, comedy to romance. A Little Chaos is a wonderful way to see Rickman on screen again, and celebrate and remember his acclaimed career.

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