International Film Festival’s Bill Gosden dies

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Former New Zealand International Film Festival director Bill Gosden has died, days before his 67th birthday.

Mr Gosden, who was born and raised in Dunedin and attended the University of Otago, died peacefully on Friday, after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2017.

He ran the film festival for 40 years, but retired last year because of his health problems.

New Zealand Film Festival Trust chairwoman Catherine Fitzgerald said Mr Gosden had created an enduring legacy through his contribution to New Zealand film culture.

‘‘Bill lived and breathed film from his earliest years, working tirelessly to create a demand from New Zealand audiences for the highest quality films from around the world,’’ Ms Fitzgerald said.

Film festival director Marten Rabarts said it was a sad moment for the film industry in New Zealand and worldwide.

‘‘The film community in New Zealand owes Bill a huge debt of gratitude for the decades of work and passion he committed to develop and champion a world class festival experience for audiences and film-makers alike.’’

Last year, Mr Gosden featured in a Facebook post from Bowel Cancer New Zealand, saying he wished he had been able to get a colonoscopy earlier.

‘‘I would encourage people to definitely get screened if they are worried,” Mr Gosden said.

Despite three rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, the cancer metastasised to his lungs.

He told RNZ’s Standing Room Only last year that when his oncologist told him that now was the time to go out and do the things he wanted to do, his response was: ‘‘I’ve spent most of my life doing exactly that.’’

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‘‘I think I’ve been incredibly lucky with what I’ve done.’’

Mr Gosden’s family and close friends have asked for privacy while they come to terms with their loss. 

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