Coming soon at the cinema: Six New Zealand shot and set films planned for 2020

by MPA

Comedy and crime await Kiwi cinemagoers in the months ahead, with the releases of New Zealand films about gang life, romance and the end of the world.Over the next seven months, at least six New Zealand-made and funded feature films will be released. Here are the details:

Here are the details:


The Legend of Baron To’a tells the story of a Tongan entrepreneur who returns to his old neighbourhood and inadvertently causes the theft of his late father’s valued-pro wrestling title belt by gangsters.

When negotiation and diplomacy fail to get it back, he is forced to embrace his father’s legacy to reclaim the title.

The film is due out late February, with confirmed screenings at Rialto.

The Legend of Baron To'a hits cinemas in February.
The Legend of Baron To’a hits cinemas in February.


Flagged as the “most messed-up movie” of last year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Come To Daddy is a black thriller comedy with generally positive if not questioning reviews.

After completing the film festival circuit, Ant Timpson’s dark comedy launches in cinemas late in February.

Talking with Stuff, Timpson denied that his film was too messed up.

“It’s far more accessible than some of the other films I’ve been involved in. It’s more of a slow burn that starts picking up speed then goes a bit bonkers,” he said.

The film centres on a DJ in his 30s whose father invites him to reconnect. It follows as the wannabe DJ and his estranged father head into the woods together. It stars Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie and Madeleine Sami.


A messy, “hyper-violent”, dystopian film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Rhys Darby, Guns Akimbo premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. It is set for general release at the start of March.

Radcliffe plays Miles, a man who becomes embroiled in a dark social media game before being sent to fight to the death against an assassin in a Hunger Games-like competition.

When he arrived in New Zealand, Radcliffe posted: “If you see me around Auckland looking very worse for wear and covered in blood and bruises, don’t worry, this is probably for filming.”

The film sees him walking down empty streets, bruised and worse for wear with pistols bolted to his hands.

Actor Daniel Radcliffe has been filming his latest project in Auckland over the last month and a half.


A film about reinvention, This Town follows a young man struggling to move on with his life after being acquitted of murdering his family. At the same time, the cop who investigated the murder (played by Robyn Malcolm), has left the police and can’t move on after seeing Sean (played by David White) walk free.

Even as Sean starts to find a new path for himself, she refuses to let him follow it.

According to the New Zealand Film Commission, This Town will be in cinemas this April.

It describes the film as “a touchingly twisted comedy about what it means to reinvent yourself”.

Jake Ryan from Home And Away takes up a new role in Savage.
Jake Ryan from Home And Away takes up a new role in Savage.


New Zealand’s underworld is brought to the surface in Savage, a film about the gangs of the 1970s and 80s. The drama follows the founders of gangs such as the Mongrel Mob and Black Power.

The film has already received a lot of attention offshore.

A review from the Hollywood Reporter compared it to Sons of Anarchy and said the film was a powerful, important and well crafted portrayal which could help viewers understand the social complexity of New Zealand.

Former Home and Away actor Jake Ryan plays the central role of Danny, a character whose past is explored throughout the film to work out how he ended up how he did.

Ryan told Stuff the script was raw and didn’t shy away from difficult topics such as the abuse of children in state care.

“The good thing about this story is it’s very brutal but there’s so much heart in it. It confronts a lot of issues I think have been overlooked for a long time, especially with the young kids in the borstals in the 60s and 70s and the mistreatment that they’ve had from the system over there,” he said.


Rose Matafeo makes her feature film debut with Baby, Done.
Rose Matafeo makes her feature film debut with Baby, Done.


Starring Rose Matafeo alongside Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis, Baby, Done tells the story of a tree surgeon called Zoe, who becomes pregnant to her long-term boyfriend Tim.

Her pregnancy sparks a fullscale freak out, which prompts her to comically try and rush through her dreams before she turns into a mum.

This was Matafeo’s feature film debut.

This article was first published here.