Helen Kelly – Together debuted at the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2019 resulting in sold out theatres and additional screenings added to keep up with audience demand. Due to its success at the NZIFF Helen Kelly – Together returns to selected cinemas this February.
Kelly was born in Wellington to strong social activist parents in 1964. Becoming a teacher herself in the 1980s, Kelly went on to study law and became an advocate for various people and industries including the Pike River Mine victims and forestry workers.
In 2015 Helen Kelly agreed to let award winning documentary maker Tony Sutorius document her last year of activism. Produced by Catherine Fitzgerald (Bellbird, The Orator), Helen Kelly – Together is an intimate and inspirational portrait of the late activist and advocate.
When Sutorius first met Kelly, it was the day after she finished as the President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and undergoing treatment for terminal cancer. This was also the first time in her life without a job. “I sat down with her and said: ‘How about I just tag along with a camera and see what happens? –and that’s exactly what we did.” explains Tony who filmed for the following year until Kelly’s death in October 2016.
“There was some work that Helen really wanted to try to get over the line before she couldn’t contribute anymore and it was a privilege to be there to document that,” says Tony. “This documentary has changed my life and challenged me in some ways I was very surprised by. I think one of the most important things we can all learn from Helen is her humanism and the way she engaged with all people in a very equal way. She showed us that you can act to make real change and the first part of that is to engage with people in need as human beings.”
Described as equal parts moving, inspiring, funny and tragic, Helen Kelly – Together is a look at Helen’s astounding life and what it is to be a Kiwi.
Helen Kelly – Together. In 30 cinemas across the country from February 13th 2020