Power of Forgiving

Soon-to-be-released action drama Broken filmed in Gisborne.

Soon-to-be-released action drama Broken filmed in Gisborne.

BIGGER MAN: Actors Josh Calles (right) and Wayne Hapi during a scene in soon-to-be-released, Gisborne-shot film Broken. Picture supplied.

A feature film shot in Gisborne brought former gang members and affiliates of opposing gangs together to work alongside each other, says Auckland-based filmmaker Tarry Mortlock.

Soon-to-be-released action drama Broken, which was filmed in the region earlier this year, stars more than 25 Gisborne people and Wayne Hapi (The Dark Horse).

“We had guys who were gang-affiliated or in gangs. They would just drop their jackets, put on our patches and work together,” says Mortlock who directed the film.

“They were literally dropping their hostilities and coming together; that was what the film was all about.”

Broken tells the story of ex-gang leader Logan, who has the difficult task of deciding what to do after his daughter is murdered by an opposing patch.

The dramatic tale was filmed in Gisborne by a crew from Auckland’s City Impact Church over four weeks in May this year.

Mortlock’s parents, Peter and Bev Mortlock founded the multi-centre church which has congregations in seven countries. Tarry is also a pastor at the church.

'Forgiveness is always an option'

“There was an interview done with one of my actors; they asked him what was the main message in the film, and I really liked his answer,” says Mortlock.

“He said, ‘it’s about letting people know that forgiveness is always an option’. A lot of people don’t realise that. The heart of the film rises and falls on that theme of forgiveness.”

Violence, Maori culture and the East Coast also feature heavily in the drama which is based on a story about a Waikato chief.

“It’s the true story of Tarore, the daughter of a chief from a small marae near Matamata,” says Mortlock.

“She attended a mission school and was gifted the book of Luke which she wore around her neck.”

Mortlock says a warring tribe came into the area, forcing the group out, ultimately leading to the death of Tarore.

“We’ve done a modern take on this story,” says Mortlock. “When I decided to do a modern story of two warring tribes, the first thing that came to mind was gangs.”

“The gang issue is a very important issue for New Zealand and will continue to be. Why? You ask any of those guys in gangs why they are in them and they say, cause it’s their family, it’s where they feel they belong.”

The presence of gangs in Gisborne is not the only reason the church chose to shoot here, says Mortlock.

“I have a love affair with Gisborne. I’ve been back and forth for about 10 years. My family and I started holidaying there after making connections with people from the church (House of Breakthrough).”

“I’m 42 now, for me it feels like New Zealand when I was growing up.”

This side of New Zealand will go on show to the world next year, with international as well as national releases planned.

“I just answered an email this morning from distributors in Germany who have the rights to the Once Were Warriors film. They want the rights to our film too,” said Mortlock.

While comparisons have been made with the 1994 drama, Mortlock tells audiences to expect something different.

“It will be quite a different kind of movie for many people,” he says.

Either way, interest in the film which is expected to premier in New Zealand next year, is substantial. A trailer released online has already accumulated more than 1.5 million views across various internet sites.

Broken is expected to premier in New Zealand cinemas early next year. See The Guide next week to hear from Gisborne man and lead actor, Josh Calles.

A feature film shot in Gisborne brought former gang members and affiliates of opposing gangs together to work alongside each other, says Auckland-based filmmaker Tarry Mortlock.

Soon-to-be-released action drama Broken, which was filmed in the region earlier this year, stars more than 25 Gisborne people and Wayne Hapi (The Dark Horse).

“We had guys who were gang-affiliated or in gangs. They would just drop their jackets, put on our patches and work together,” says Mortlock who directed the film.

“They were literally dropping their hostilities and coming together; that was what the film was all about.”

Broken tells the story of ex-gang leader Logan, who has the difficult task of deciding what to do after his daughter is murdered by an opposing patch.

The dramatic tale was filmed in Gisborne by a crew from Auckland’s City Impact Church over four weeks in May this year.

Mortlock’s parents, Peter and Bev Mortlock founded the multi-centre church which has congregations in seven countries. Tarry is also a pastor at the church.

'Forgiveness is always an option'

“There was an interview done with one of my actors; they asked him what was the main message in the film, and I really liked his answer,” says Mortlock.

“He said, ‘it’s about letting people know that forgiveness is always an option’. A lot of people don’t realise that. The heart of the film rises and falls on that theme of forgiveness.”

Violence, Maori culture and the East Coast also feature heavily in the drama which is based on a story about a Waikato chief.

“It’s the true story of Tarore, the daughter of a chief from a small marae near Matamata,” says Mortlock.

“She attended a mission school and was gifted the book of Luke which she wore around her neck.”

Mortlock says a warring tribe came into the area, forcing the group out, ultimately leading to the death of Tarore.

“We’ve done a modern take on this story,” says Mortlock. “When I decided to do a modern story of two warring tribes, the first thing that came to mind was gangs.”

“The gang issue is a very important issue for New Zealand and will continue to be. Why? You ask any of those guys in gangs why they are in them and they say, cause it’s their family, it’s where they feel they belong.”

The presence of gangs in Gisborne is not the only reason the church chose to shoot here, says Mortlock.

“I have a love affair with Gisborne. I’ve been back and forth for about 10 years. My family and I started holidaying there after making connections with people from the church (House of Breakthrough).”

“I’m 42 now, for me it feels like New Zealand when I was growing up.”

This side of New Zealand will go on show to the world next year, with international as well as national releases planned.

“I just answered an email this morning from distributors in Germany who have the rights to the Once Were Warriors film. They want the rights to our film too,” said Mortlock.

While comparisons have been made with the 1994 drama, Mortlock tells audiences to expect something different.

“It will be quite a different kind of movie for many people,” he says.

Either way, interest in the film which is expected to premier in New Zealand next year, is substantial. A trailer released online has already accumulated more than 1.5 million views across various internet sites.

Broken is expected to premier in New Zealand cinemas early next year. See The Guide next week to hear from Gisborne man and lead actor, Josh Calles.

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James Swan - 1 month ago
The storyline is empowering and so true. We humans need to understand the world we live in is not of the supernatural, unless you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and saviour. We are made in God's image and made to be godly like. The story of Tarore is so humbling and overwhelming. Appreciate your beautiful hard work and acknowledging Maori history as a mark of one man's identity for love and peace between tribal warfare that starts from forgiveness. Tarry Mortlock, God bless to you and your beautiful whanau.

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