Jake Mahaffy began making movies in the United States, with the black and white, post-apocalyptic War (2004). Featuring non-professional actors, it took five years to complete. After immigrating downunder, he began co-ordinating the Screen Production programme at Auckland University. His 2015 feature Free In Deed, which focuses on a failed Tennessee faith healing, won Best Film in its section at the Venice Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Film and Director at New Zealand's Moa Film Awards. In October 2020 he unveiled Kiwi psychological thriller Reunion, starring Emma Draper and Brit Julia Ormond (Ladies in Black).
If you care about what you're doing, then most decisions are difficult because you're always making compromises. You can only ever make a version of the film you wanted, so figuring out which is the lesser loss in any situation can be tough. But there also might be a great sense of revelation in those moments, when real life turns out better than your own plans and you're forced to discover it. Jake Mahaffy on the difficulties and rewards of filmmaking, Stuff, 1 November 2016