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 7/13/2015 July, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

This weeks’ documentary is a portrait of the great twentieth century libertarian Gore Vidal. Australian filmmaker Nicholas D. Wrathall, who found Vidal’s enormous intellect and reputation initially overwhelming, wrote and directed Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia. Wrathall learnt the best way to approach the author was with “caution and respect”, and the two bonded over Australian politics as Vidal had personally known former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Even though he rarely answered questions about his personal life, Vidal was happy to talk to Wrathall about his thoughts on American culture and politics. It makes for fascinating viewing, reminding us how relevant Vidal’s ideas are today. Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia is one of my picks of the week, but first up, Swiss family drama Rosie.  

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 7/6/2015 July, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

Nordic Noir television series and films are so popular now that Danish tourism websites actually promote ‘Nordic Noir Tours’. Series such as The Bridge and The Killing have not only been huge hits at home, but in the UK and around the world as well. Cinematically shot and often with strong female lead characters, shows such as The Bridge have already been re-made by the British and Americans, confirming just how influential Scandinavian television is at the moment. However, there’s nothing like the original, so don’t miss the start of season 2 of The Bridge, kicking off on Tuesday this week.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 6/29/2015 June, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

Well, it’s all go this month on Rialto Channel. German films take over Monday evenings, the second series of the excellent Danish/Swedish co-production The Bridge kicks off next Tuesday evening and you get to program Wednesday evenings  - all part of Rialto’s Sweet 16 celebration! A new British drama Run staring Olivia Coleman starts on Sunday evening, and classic anime features continue to light up Friday nights. Phew.

My first pick of the week is French film Turning Tide.  

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 6/22/2015 June, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

There have been some audacious cheats in sporting history; sprinter Ben Johnson, skater Tonya Harding, and Boston marathon winner Rosie Ruiz who took the subway mid race. However in recent times, no one comes close to seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong when it comes to being revealed as a fraudster. Not only did he dope for most of his career, but also he constantly denied it, bullying those along the way who threatened to reveal his double life. Catch his story in Alex Holmes explosive documentary Stop At Nothing, just one of my picks for the week.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 6/15/2015 June, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

This week on Rialto Channel catch skateboarding documentary All This Mayhem, as well as the Irish black comedy Calvary staring Brendan Gleeson. 

World Championship skateboarder Tas Pappas and filmmaker Eddie Martin talk to Francesca Rudkin about their collaboration All This Mayhem that chronicles the extraordinary careers of the Pappas brothers.

When Australian brothers Tas and Ben Pappas were hanging around the Prahran skateboard park as kids in the 1970s, they could not know where their extraordinary talent would take them, and the incredible highs and lows that would follow.

Their story is the subject of leading Australian filmmaker Eddie Martin’s latest documentary, All This Mayhem. It’s a gut wrenching rollercoaster ride that follows the tight knit brothers from the North Western suburbs of Melbourne to America, where they fulfilled their ambition to “smash Tony Hawk” and become the number one and two skateboarders in the world.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 6/8/2015 June, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin


Throughout June, Rialto Channel celebrates the French film industry by screening a collection of recent French dramas and comedies every Monday and Tuesday evening. As you’d expect, there’s something to make you laugh and cry, and many things in-between. Francophiles can enjoy everything from Chinese Puzzle, the final film in director Cedric Klapisch’s charming drama series, or French-Swiss filmmaker Ursula Meier bleak drama Sisterstaring Léa Seydoux. This week though, begins with a real crowd pleaser, The Finishers.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Friday 5/29/2015 May, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

It’s a good week for tennis fans, and a great month for sports fanatics with sport documentaries screening on both Thursday and Friday evenings throughout June on Rialto Channel. Covering off everyone from Lance Armstrong (Stop at Nothing) to Venus and Serena Williams (Venus and Serena), and featuring a variety of sports from skateboarding to bodybuilding, there are some remarkable, almost unbelievable stories to enjoy here. Perfect for the armchair sportsman. Here are my ‘picks of the week’ including two films that feature tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, and Billie Jean King.  

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 5/25/2015 May, 2015 by Francesca Rudkin

The 2015 Festival de Cannes wrapped up this weekend with a call to arms for climate change. Closing the festival was the nature documentary Ice and the Sky by The March of the Penguins director Luc Jacquet who returns to Antarctica to tell the life story of 83-year-old French glaciologist Claude Lorius. “Showing this film in the world’s largest film festival is contributing to highlighting this huge challenge facing humanity as quickly as possible to secure its future and the future of the planet,” Jacquet told the press in Cannes.

The Festival also concluded with the announcement of various competition winners. This year, Jacques Audiard surprised pretty much everyone by winning the Palme d’Or with this film Dheepan, a low key study of Tamil Tiger refugees trying to build a new life in France.

Not so surprisingly, the runner up Grand Prix Prize went to László Nemes for Son of Saul and in “third place”, Yorgos Lanthimos won the Prix du jury for The Lobster. The Directors Prize was awarded to Hou Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin, Vincent Lindon (La Loi du Marche) won best actor and Rooney Mara (Carol) and Emmanuelle Bercot (Mon Roi) shared the best actress accolade.

In the Un Certain Regard section of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, the jury awarded the top prize to Iceland’s Rams, by Grímur Hákonarson. The High Sun by Croatian director Dalibor Matanić picked up the jury prize, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Journey to the Shorewon the best direction award.

So many wonderful films to look forward to, however in the meantime, enjoy these must see films of the week, all of which have screened at the prestigious Festival de Cannes in the past. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week

Posted on Monday 5/18/2015 May, 2015 by Rialto Admin

The Festival de Cannes is well under way and the reviews have been coming in thick and fast. Enjoy keeping up with all the action by checking out the festival coverage on,, or Just beware; once you start browsing, it’s hard to stop.  

Here are the top five must see films of the week, all of which have screened at the prestigious Festival de Cannes in the past.

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