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Poppy in cinemas from 27 May

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Lead actors Libby Hunsdale - featured on recent Sunday programme with Miriama Kamo - and Ari Boyland who returned from Australia to play his role, will attend the premiere at the Roxy Cinema in Wellington alongside their co-cast Seb Hunter and Kali Kopae and the film’s production team.

The premiere on 26 May, which was a quick sell-out, is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Wellington.

Opening night at Rialto Cinemas Newmarket on 27 May will also have the cast and director in attendance. Bookings for this public screening will open this week.

A preview in Masterton on Sunday 16 May organised by local radio host and District Councillor Brent Gare sold out both cinemas at The Screening Room. Gare, who played a small part in scenes filmed at the Masterton Motorplex, ensured that locals who supported the film as extras and drivers were in attendance at this fundraiser for Riding for the Disabled.

Poppy is the story of a young woman with Down syndrome who refuses to be defined by disability and is forced to employ secret strategies to achieve her ambition of becoming an apprentice motor mechanic.

Casting Libby Hunsdale from Whanganui to play Poppy was the final piece of the puzzle that enabled writer/director Linda Niccol’s project to go ahead. After 10 years in development, this labour of love received investment in 2019 through the New Zealand Film Commission’s 125 Fund which was set up to commemorate 125 years of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. TVNZ, New Zealand on Air and several private investors and benefactors quickly came on board to complete the financing required to produce the film.

As a Kāpiti resident, it was always Linda’s intention to film in her own backyard. With the assistance of Kāpiti Coast District Council and Screen Wellington, and the generosity of the local community who provided locations, services and background extras, the film was shot in 2020. It was not without incident as COVID lockdown intervened just as the final week of filming was commencing and it wasn’t until June 2020 that filming was completed.

Early responses to the film indicate that audiences appreciate this inspiring and optimistic social justice drama that advocates the right of everyone to fulfill their potential.

Poppy is produced by Robin Laing and Alex Cole-Baker for Poppy Pictures.

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