Winter might bring southerly gales and constant rain, but what better weather to settle into the plush theatre chairs at the 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival in Auckland?

It’s not too late to catch the festival in Auckland. It takes place at several historic and contemporary theatres from July 18 to August 4, and will be touring the length of the country until November. If you’re a visitor, travelling around the city and to the festival venues is made that bit easier with a rental car in Auckland from DriveNow.

Winter is the perfect season to watch a plethora of international films from countries as far away as Romania and Israel.The festival will also feature a host of home-grown films made by local New Zealand talent.

With categories like ‘Incredibly Strange’, ‘Animation’ and ‘Inside Stories’, there’s something to tempt everyone from the discerning film connoisseur to the wide-eyed child.

In addition to watching the films, festivalgoers will have the chance to meet some of the filmmakers. For example, audience members can have an in-depth discussion with the creators of Antarctica: 15 Years on Ice, Utu, 30 Years Later and Filming with Soul. Here, the audience can learn about issues these individuals encountered in their work. Better still, these meet-the-filmmaker sessions are unticketed, free events.

A highlight of the festival is the opportunity to watch films inside the historic Civic Theatre. Built in 1929 and one of the few remaining atmospheric theatres in the world, the theatre makes visitors feel like they are stepping back in time to an era of opulent indulgence.

It can be hard to concentrate on the film when you’re surrounded by old-world turrets, spires, tiled roofs and an imposing Abyssinian panther statue sitting near the stage. Look skyward to the soft-top roof and you might catch a shooting star through tufts of cloud – The Civic brings the outside in with this feature.

Indulge your inner film buff this July and August in Auckland with the New Zealand 2013 International Film Festival.