During a stint in prison for importing drugs, Bill Payne reinvented himself and became a writer. Payne went on to write Staunch (an acclaimed non-fiction book about gangs), short stories, a play, and two short films. Bella was the first. It follows life behind bars for Bella (Mitch Thomas), a defiantly proud transsexual and part-time tattooist, whose mere presence arouses the ire of one of the prison guards. But the guard's taunts are more complicated than they appear. The guard is played by Tim Gordon, who would later play All Blacks coach Graham Henry in telemovie The Kick.
Who's a pretty boy then?– Officer Goff (Tim Gordon) taunts Bella (Mitch Thomas)
Made with funding from the NZ Film Commission's Short Film Fund
'Bella's song' written by Steve Cournane and Graeme Collins, performed by Steve Cournane and the Unit
'Lament' written by Simon Bowden, Nils Olsen & Steve Cournane, performed by Boat