When A City Rises - The People’s StoryAn insightful sequel to “When A City Falls” - One of New Zealand’s most popular documentaries in history. Directed and
shot by Gerard Smyth
When Gerard Smyth captured one of New Zealand’s most tragic events, there was a feeling that the first documentary had
achieved a lot more than the telling of a local story. On a very important level, it was history being captured - but
the way in which Gerard was also able to portray the impact and the shock, the grief and the despair as well as the
community spirit, hope and tenacity that materialised, made “When a city falls” a necessary and cathartic watch. To see
ourselves reflected in each story, gave every Cantabrian the belief that they had not been alone in their feelings,
their struggle and their deep sense of loss. The hope that was offered to Christchurch to reimagine their new city, is
passionately portrayed in this not be missed sequel. It contrasts with the very real testimony of the fight that locals
have had in their individual and collective wrestling with government and the fences they put up.
This new film, 10 years after the earthquake, is an honest measurement of our struggle to build a world-class city with
true collaboration. Many have already commented that Christchurch failed in their opportunity to build the first city of
the new millennium, but thankfully this film also shows that even after 10 years of rebuild, we are not finished yet.
During our interview with Gerard, he says he made this new film “to be a catalyst for debate for change” commenting that
“we have to start talking” and hoping that this new film will be “a tool to talk, a device for debate”. This film is the
people’s story - and this city is the people’s city. Despite the often rampant bureaucracy, and the complete failure of
senior officials to truly connect with the residents, community groups and local Iwi, we still have a chance to make
Christchurch the world-leading city it could be.
“Now that the government has pulled the fences down, it’s time for the people to rebuild the city” says Gerard, and that
is a key point in this film. As our conversation with Gerard came to a close, his last comment resonates loudly “it’s
not over yet Christchurch, there is still an opportunity for the people to have their way...”
This is a well crafted film. Make sure you get to Cinema’s as soon as it comes out later this month. Take your friends
and family, and keep the conversations going. This is a truly local film, with a truly local story that reaches far and
Premiere Isaac Theatre Royal 28th October -Tickets from Ticketek from Friday 9th October
In Christchurch cinemas October 29th 2020.