Hope and Wire

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2014, 3x 90 minutes

A television drama telefeature trilogy set in Christchurch, New Zealand, during the earthquakes and aftermath of 2010/2011.

It’s the aftershocks that run the deepest, bringing to the surface the things that truly matter to us, the compassion of the many and the selfishness of the few. Covering a cross-section of modern families, from the homeless pulling together to create a community, to the middle-class suburbanites whose world has been shaken to its foundations, Hope & Wire shows us at our most desperate and our most hopeful. Echoing true events with a candid and unflinching eye, see what emerges from the rubble.

A universal story of family, hope and triumph against the odds.


Bread and Roses

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1993, 200 minutes

Released to mark 100 years of women's suffrage in New Zealand, Bread & Roses tells the story of pioneering trade unionist, politician and feminist Sonja Davies (1923 - 2005) who rose to prominence in the 1940's and 50's. At over three hours in length, it was created for a dual cinema/television release.

'In the 'kill to watch' category …faultlessly directed.' - Neil Jillet, Melbourne Age

Selected: New Zealand, Melbourne, San Francisco, Brisbane, Perth, Toronto, Seattle, London



Home By Christmas

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2010, 90 minutes

A true story of romance, secrets and terrible adventure in which Ed Preston, on his way home from rugby practice in 1940, joins the New Zealand Army to go to World War II. His new wife, Tui, is pregnant and distraught, but he tells her not to worry, he'll be home by Christmas. And so he is — four years later — after escaping from a prison camp in Italy. But while Ed is away, Tui has fallen in love with another man. A remarkable memoir of resilience, determination and love.

'A bravura performance by Tony Barry is woven together with WWII archival footage in this touching Kiwi memoir' - Variety

Selected: Cannes Cinephile, Sydney, Melbourne, London,
Bali Balinale, India, Shanghai


Perfect Strangers

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2003, 100 minutes

When seduction becomes deception and passion becomes possession, torn between fear and desire, Melanie kills her ardent admirer, just before she realises she loves him.

A chilling romance.

'Gaylene Preston's generally taut and well directed pic is her best work in film to date.'

- David Stratton, Variety

Selected: Fantasporto, Vancouver, Brussels International Fantasy Film festival, Vladivostok , London, Montreal, Film Des Femmes Paris, Stockholm, Seattle, Chicago, Germany, Hof, Shanghai, Cincinnati, Melbourne, Toronto Female Eye


Ruby and Rata

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1990, 102 minutes

Rata needs an address so she can continue to cheat the welfare department. Ruby needs an Anglican. Willie lights fires. Their culture clash of lies and pretentions is told with humour, warmth and charm and reveals an unlikely family with more in common than they realize… A warm-hearted comedy.

'Preston and her team have woven a special kind of Kiwi magic in this one - I'd crawl over broken glass to see it again - and again'
- Peter Calder, NZ Herald

Selected: New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, London, Milan, Seattle, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Palm Springs


Mr Wrong

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1985, 87 minutes

What would you do if the car you just bought made noises - like somebody's dying breaths? It happens to Meg. And she attracts unwanted passengers - like the strange woman who gets in the back seat and disappears, or the sinister man who persistently watches her every move. Meg doesn't know who they are. All she knows is that these people are inextricably linked to her car and her life is in danger.

Her mum wants her to meet Mr Right but she is haunted by MR WRONG.

'A dandy little thriller marked by excellent performances' - Judith Crist

Selected: NZ, Seattle, Chicago, Melbourne, Munich, Creteil Films Des Femmes


War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us

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1995, 94 minutes

In this moving documentary, seven elderly women recall their personal experiences of World War II. Their heartfelt tales have the capacity to move an audience to laughter and to tears, as they tell of love, death, small pleasures and large fears in a time of enormous change. From tragic love stories to long-suppressed revelations of sex and loss, War Stories is a richly revealing touchstone of New Zealand history.

'Gaylene Preston takes a simple idea
and turns it into a rich, universal experience proving that there is nothing more beautiful than the human face talking from the heart.'

- Kevin Thomas, LA Times

Selected: Venice, Sundance, Toronto, London, Hong Kong,
Gothenburg, Munich, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Seattle, Chicago



Making Utu

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1983, 48 minutes

Gaylene Preston’s 1983 TV documentary celebrates the chutzpah, ingenuity and burgeoning national pride of a bunch of young cowboys out in the wild making the epic New Zealand movie of their dreams. Training her camera on the face of assistant director Lee Tamahori as the rebel Te Wheke and his gang throw a grand piano to its spectacular demise, she captured for all time an essential satisfaction of movie-making for boys: making stuff and wrecking it. (In the case of Utu, once they’d wrecked a set, they’d reassemble the pieces into another set.) Preston is also memorably attentive to Utu’s moment in the advancement of popular biculturalism. A pākehā-generated project (entitled ‘Puha Western’ in its development stage), Utu was more invested in tikanga Māori than any feature film since the works of Rudall Hayward. (You can hear the novelty of te reo in the mouths of Māori and pākehā actor alike.) Director Geoff Murphy wants authenticity. It is fascinating to see how willingly, and how tentatively, all concerned consider who can tell whom how to get it right.


Lovely Rita - A Painters Life

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2007, 70 minutes

Renowned New Zealand painter Rita Angus lived and worked at a time when to be a full time artist was unusual and hardly considered a serious occupation. Preston explores a colourful collection of friends and family who knew and loved Rita, while biographer Jill Trevelyan provides a fresh intelligence on the Rita Angus life story. A wealth of letters from Rita to Douglas Lilburn, re-enacted on screen by Loren Taylor, form a moving personal commentary.

'A lively and loving look at one of our cultural icons.' - Angela Walker, Sunday Star Times


Hone Tuwhare: No Other Lips

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1996, 46 minutes

This is a warts-and-all tribute to one of the country's best-known, best-loved and most colourful literary figures. In a tiny house in the South Otago settlement of Kaka Point where he wrote prolifically, Hone Tuwhare allowed a film crew to observe him at home, and travelling the country reading his work. The result is a punchy portrait of a remarkable poet and a great New Zealand character.

'Working with Hone was a blast. I stayed friends with him for the rest of his life, and he enriched mine, and thousands of others through his wonderful words.' - Directors Perspective

Selected: NZ International Film Festival


The Time of our Lives

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2007, 45 minutes

This documentary follows a 32-strong 'mob of veterans' (the oldest is 95) on their trip to unveil a war memorial in London's Hyde Park. The memorial honours New Zealand's service in war alongside Britain. The ceremony took place on November 11, 2006, with attendees including Prime Ministers Helen Clark and Tony Blair, The Queen and ... Dave Dobbyn. For many of the elderly vets it is effectively their second OE; they remember war stories and lost mates, flirt with young journalists and endure the pitfalls of airport drudgery and jet-lag.

'The veterans march again with a pride in their past and their present, which is our pride too.'




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2006, 44 minutes

With an almighty crack and rumble followed by a devastating fire, the Hawkes Bay Earthquake of 1931 struck with lethal results. 258 people died and many more were left injured and homeless. A documentary of loss and survival and of lives changed forever told by people who thought their world was ending.

'Preston has interwoven personal eye-witness accounts of the disaster with stunning archival footage from the time'


Titless Wonders

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2001, 72 minutes

An upfront exploration of the emotional discoveries of women with breast cancer, this brave and valuable documentary raises a subject most people would rather avoid. Preston coaxes touching and sympathetic testimonies, making the troubling journey worthwhile. Watch it with a friend.

'A compelling mixture of poetry and pragmatism.'
- Irene Gardiner

Selected: NZ Film Festival


Getting to Our Place

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1999, 72 minutes

This documentary is a view into the crucible that forged Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand, which opened in 1998. Fascinating fly-on-the-wall moments are captured as a new kind of National Museum is conceived. As political, ideological, creative and commercial considerations collide, the frustrations of decision making by committee are palpable.

'Has many of the hallmarks of a thriller.'
- Peter Calder, NZ Herald

Selected: NZ Film Festival


Kai Purakau

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1987, 27 minutes

Keri Hulme talks about her writing and coping with success. Her next door neighbour claims full credit for the Bone People, Leon Narbey's cinematography makes Okarito look like Paradise.

Selected: NZ Film Festival