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The Eruption: Stories Of Survival Documentary Picked Up For Global Distribution

Irene Chapple and Annie Goldson’s new film The Eruption: Stories of Survival has been picked up by UK-based TVF International for global distribution.

The documentary, on the deadly eruption of Whakaari / White Island on December 9, 2019, offers very personal insights into the tragedy, which killed 22 people and injured 25.

The events of the day and its aftermath are told through the eyes of the White Island Tours’ guides, rescuers, first responders, local iwi Ngati Awa and others who were directly involved.

TVF International is the leading independent distributor of quality documentaries, and Catriona McNeish, Head of APAC at TVF International, was struck by the film's sensitivity, craft and its timeliness.

She said: “This film offers a unique and authentic insight into a tragedy that caught the attention of the world. Its narrative is both compelling and delicate, and with the extraordinary first-hand footage we are sure the film will resonate with audiences globally.”

In the film, guides Kelsey Waghorn and Jake Milbank share their remarkable stories of survival and recovery. The family of Hayden Marshall-Inman, who died in the eruption, also remember his life and love for the island.

The film was broadcast by Three and funded by NZOnAir, and rated exceptionally well when it aired late November.

The Eruption was directed by Chapple, an experienced journalist making her feature documentary debut. Chapple produced the film with Goldson, one of New Zealand’s top documentary filmmakers, through their company Pencil Productions. Piata Gardiner-Hoskins was associate producer while Goldson was also the sound recordist.

The film was beautifully filmed and edited by Jacob Bryant and Prisca Bouchet respectively, with Karl Steven composing an evocative track. Phil Brough was animation director, Loren Prendiville production manager and Janet Thomson production accountant. Post-production was handled by Department of Post under the guidance of Mark Taylor and James Brookes.

Chapple and Goldson edited a longer version to suit international broadcasters and are very confident with their decision to sign with TVF International. Chapple said TVF’s reputation was a key reason for signing with them. “TVF is known for the distribution of high quality films, and we felt it was a good fit given the sensitivity of our documentary, and the care we felt it needed. We are very pleased with this partnership.”

Worksafe has now charged 13 parties following the eruption. The WorkSafe case will continue through 2021, and Chapple and Goldson will continue to follow the story.

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