- Directed by: Hamish Bennett
- Produced by: Orlando Stewart, Catherine Fitzgerald
- Screenplay by: Hamish BennettCast: Marshall Napier, Annie Whittle, Cohen Holloway, Rachel House, Kahukura Retimana, Stephen Tamarapa
- Cinematography: Grant McKinnon
- Editing: Jason Pengelly
- Music: Karl Steven
- Production design: Shayne Radford
- Drama, comedy
An understated drama with an open heart and a lithe sense of humour
Sarah Ward, Screen International
Hamish Bennett’s feature debut takes place in the heart of a small New Zealand town, where a community comes together after a tragic death.
“Ross (Marshall Napier) has farmed the land all his life, just as his father and grandfather did before him. A largely silent man, Ross farms the land alongside his far more exuberant wife Beth (Annie Whittle), who is an eager participant in the local choir and a friend to many. When Beth suddenly dies, Ross is crushed but incapable of displaying his emotions. His son Bruce (Cohen Holloway) moves back in and tries to help, but is not suited to the farming life and also has great difficulties in expressing himself. Around them, their friends realise the difficulties, and pitch in to help.” (Sydney Film Festival)
- World premiere was on 11 June 2019 at Sydney’s State Theatre, as part of the Sydney Film Festival.
- The New Zealand premiere was on 20 July 2019 at Auckland’s Civic Theatre, as part of the 2019 NZ International Film Festival.
At times it can be mistaken for an out-and-out comedy, but Bellbird is wonderfully tender and emotive.
Ethan Sills, New Zealand Herald