Sam Kelly directed the Wellington winners of the 48 Hours short film competition for three years running, from 2006 to 2008. After completing a Masters in Scriptwriting at Victoria University he was named SPADA NZ Young Film-maker of the Year, then made Lambs, a short about a teenager in gangland New Zealand. It screened at numerous festivals worldwide, including Berlin and Clermont-Ferrand. He is currently making commercials and developing his first feature.

...part of the reason I wanted to make the film was to illuminate what kids in our own country are going through, so it's important to me that New Zealanders see it. Sam Kelly, on his short film Lambs, in The Dominion-Post, 27 July 2012, page A9


2011, Writer, Director - Short Film

In this short film, 14-year-old Jimmy (Waka Rowlands) faces a tough decision: stay in his abusive home to protect his younger siblings, or escape to start a new life of his own. Written and directed by Sam Kelly, Lambs was inspired by true stories. It competed at the 2012 Clermont-Ferrand and Berlin Film Festivals, and won the Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2012 NZ Film Festival; judge Roger Donaldson raved: “It reminded me of Once Were Warriors in the best possible way.” Lambs was one of the first products of the NZ Film Commission’s ‘Fresh Shorts’ funding scheme. 

The Witch and the Woodsman

2010, Producer - Short Film


2008, Director, Writer - Short Film

The Māori Detective and the Boogie Fever

2007, Director, Writer - Short Film


2006, Director, Producer - Short Film

Baby Farmer

2006, Director

The Tribe

2000 - 2003, As: Hawk - Television

One of the most successful television shows shot on Kiwi soil, The Tribe was the brainchild of British-born Raymond Thompson. In a future where the adults have been wiped out by a virus, the children that remain have formed into competing tribes, some of whom live to terrorise. Running five seasons, The Tribe sold to more than 120 territories, and the cast toured performances from the soundtrack for overseas fans. The cast were almost entirely New Zealanders, as were most of the crew. Sequel The New Tomorrow, following descendants of the original characters, screened in 2005.