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 14th July

Posted on Monday 7/14/2014 July, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin


K2 is the second highest and most dangerous mountain to climb in the world. As I discovered in the documentary The Summit, one of four who try to reach its summit will die in the attempt. I don’t expect to ever find myself in the “Death Zone” above 8,000 metres on the 8,611-metre peak, but those who have taken that risk fascinate me. The Summit is a breathtaking insight into the reality of mountain climbing and those willing to take it on, and it’s my first highlight this week.    

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 7th July

Posted on Monday 7/7/2014 July, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Brooklyn born and raised Jewish kid paralysed with polio as a child, Doc Pomus reinvented himself first as a blues player, and then as a songwriter, responsible for some of the greatest of the early rock and roll era. His life and incredible talent is showcased in the documentary Viva Las Vegas: The Improbable Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Doc Pomus, which just happens to be one of my picks for the week.


Posted on Monday 6/30/2014 June, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

The best indie films and documentaries on TV this week.

This week on Rialto Channel, catch John Cusack in the period drama Shanghai, and reminisce about the rise and fall of British punk rockers The Clash.


Posted on Monday 6/23/2014 June, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Rialto Channel is unlocked to Sky subscribers, so enjoy taking a peek at what’s on offer; Rectify, What Maisie Knew and Dancing on the Edge.

Abigail Spencer talks about Rectify, Series 2

Posted on Friday 6/20/2014 June, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Rectify is the first Sundance Channel produced television series written and created by Ray McKinnon, an actor and writer known for roles in Sons of Anarchy and Deadwood. The series stars Aussie actor Aden Young (Mao’s Last Dancer) as Daniel Holden, released from prison, thanks to new DNA evidence discovered by his sister Amantha, after 19 years on death row for raping and murdering his girlfriend. Returning to his small Southern hometown, Daniel rediscovers a world far removed from the prison where he spent 23 hours a day in solitude.

Television, film and online actress, writer and producer Abigail Spencer (Oz The Great and Powerful) plays the role of Amantha, and on the eve of series two’s debut in the United States, she kindly took the time to chat about what we can expect from this new series, where the name Amantha comes from, and what’s she learnt from the shows creator and writer Ray McKinnon.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 16th June

Posted on Monday 6/16/2014 June, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) 2014 is only a month away, and while we wait with great anticipation to find out what this year’s programme has for us, it’s been announced New Zealand film The Dark Horsewill open NZIFF, in Auckland on 17 July at the Civic Theatre and Wellington on 25 July at the Embassy Theatre. Directed by Napier Robertson and staring Cliff Curtis, the film tells the story of Genesis Potini, the speed chess champion who passed on his gift to countless East Coast children. 

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 9th June

Posted on Monday 6/9/2014 June, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

Congratulations to all the winners announced recently at the Grand National Final of the Rialto Channel 48 Hour Film Competition. The competition kicked off on April 4th when over 700 teams were given a genre, a line of dialogue, a prop, a camera angle, a character, and 48 hours to complete a short film. The films were then judged at a regional level with the top films, along with Peter Jackson’s wildcard selections, judged by an international judging panel. 

This year there were 14 incredibly strong finalists up for Best Film, and the Grand National Champion award was taken out by team Lense Flare for their short Pants on Fire. The Runner Up award went to team Noise and Pictures for Rubble

You can catch these impressive shorts, as well as meet the talented teams behind them, when Rialto Channel screens 48 Hour Film Competition 2014 on Wednesday 25th June at 8pm.

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 2nd June

Posted on Friday 5/30/2014 May, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

There are a few changes on Rialto Channel this June. Rialto World, which brings you the best in foreign film, will begin screening on Mondays at 8.30pm. On Tuesdays you can catch top international dramas and returning hits like acclaimed series Rectify, while on Wednesdays new series Rialto New Wave continues screening the work of first time feature film directors. Thursday evening remains dedicated to documentaries, and Saturdays are still the best place to see our finest independent premieres, with Rialto Selection. In another change, Sunday evening is now the best place to catch quality British drama, with Rialto British. Got all that? Now, here are my picks for the week

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 26th May

Posted on Tuesday 5/27/2014 May, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

The 2014 Cannes Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend with the Jane Campion led Jury announcing Nuri Bilge Ceylan's three-hour plus drama Winter Sleep as the winner of the Palme d'Or. The film beat out Xavier Dolan's Mommy, which settled for the Jury Prize, along with Jeal-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language. The runner-up Grand Prix award went to Alice Rohrwacher's Italian-language film The Wonders. Here is a list of the winners:

Grand Prix: The Wonders, Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director): Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Prix du Scenario (best screenplay): Leviathan, Writers: Andrey Zvyaginstev and Oleg Negin
Camera d’Or (best first feature): Party Girl, Directors: Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
Prix du Jury (jury prize): Mommy, Director: Xavier Dolan; and Goodbye to Language, Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Prix d’interpretation feminine (best actress): Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Prix d’interpretation masculine (best actor): Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

Francesca’s Picks for the Week 19th May

Posted on Tuesday 5/20/2014 May, 2014 by Francesca Rudkin

There are so many fabulous films screening on Rialto Channel this week so clear the PVR and get recording! Below are three moving, delightful and unique films for you to enjoy, but also this week, keep an eye out for Matteo Garrone’s reality television satire Reality (Tuesday 20th May), the intense Russian drama In the Fog, and the charming French rom-com Happiness Never Comes Alone.

Here are my picks for the week. 

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