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When a City Rises

Film (Trailer and Excerpts) – 2020

Christchurch quake documentary When a City Falls won awards, and screened in the city's cinemas for months. For the sequel, director Gerard Smyth combined new footage and old to chronicle ambitious, arguably rushed, government plans to destroy and rebuild much of central Christchurch. Locals offer their take on the pros, cons, and white elephants of the city's rebirth. In The Spinoff, Christchurch academic Erin Harrington praised the documentary as "necessary and frequently moving", although she felt that the TV version moved too quickly from catastrophe to hope (the cinema cut is 25 minutes longer).

The question of what stories to include and what stories to regretfully leave out this time around has given me more than a couple of sleepless nights over the last year! We settled on a film about the regrowing of the central city and the recovery of her people.
– Writer/director Gerard Smyth on Facebook, 26 October 2020

Key Cast & Crew

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Oliver Dawe

Editor, Drone Camera Operator

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Ben Edwards


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Jacob Bryant

Drone Camera Operator, Cinematographer

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Ben Woods


Generic Profile image for Anita Clark (aka Motte)

Anita Clark (aka Motte)


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Gerard Smyth

Director, Writer, Cinematographer, Producer

See all 21 credits

Produced by

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Frank Film


Logo for Frank Film

Frank Film