Marshall Napier (Came a Hot Friday) has played his share of unsympathetic cops over his long career. In Bellbird he shows a gentler side, as a Northland farmer who is unable to express himself after his wife's death. His son (Cohen Holloway) and friends do their best to help. Director and schoolteacher Hamish Bennett based the script on memories of his rural Northland upbringing. The film expands on his award-winning short film Ross and Beth (2014). The cast also includes Rachel House. In November 2019 Bellbird became the first film to be released in cinemas with te reo subtitles.
Mum used to do the talking for both of us.– Bruce (Cohen Holloway)
Released in New Zealand cinemas on 7 November 2019
New Zealand premiere on 20 July 2019 at Auckland's Civic Theatre, as part of the 2019 NZ International Film Festival
World premiere on 11 June 2019 at Sydney's State Theatre, as part of the Sydney Film Festival