When a City Falls


... this is the story of the people of Christchurch, living through their hardest year. And it's the film they deserve. At once a celebration of endurance and a lament of loss, it will still be being watched, 50 years from now.


Writer, Director
Gerard Smyth

Gerard Smyth, Paul Swadel, Alice Shannon

Richard Lord, Ken Sparks

Chris Sinclair, Ben Edwards, Mike Hedges, Gilbert Lake, John Neill

Jacob Bryant, Gerard Smyth

This is the story of 2010/2011 Canterbury/ Christchurch Earthquakes. One man's journey through disaster, recovery and discovery.

2010 on the Canterbury Plains and all is well. Lambs, blue skies and daffodils. In Cathedral Square choir boys sing to their God. Punts push new season's tourists along the Avon. They photograph the 'Garden city'; the 'most English city outside of England'.

We get hit with a 7.1 earthquake. We stand up, wave our fists at the heavens and compliment ourselves on our ability to recover. And then we get hit even harder. Now the city has fallen. Many are dead. Many injured. Many narrowly escape.

A fragile people reappear in the following days. We have learnt from the first earthquake and once again a response is growing. Once again adrenaline is taking over. Now the whole country is rallying for Christchurch. It's the energy of the people that's unprecedented. Communities are rising from the sand. People are holding tight to each other.

A year later and the quakes keep rolling. Now the Canterbury earthquakes are the most ever quakes recorded in a series. And we're still counting....

"When A City Falls" sees New Zealanders in our darkest days. How do we respond? Who do we become?

We discover something wonderful about ourselves. We discover we are a functional people, concerned and caring for our neighbours, our fellow Kiwis.

"When A City Falls" travels way beyond earthquake reactive television footage to a tale of hope, an uplifting story that speaks of the kindness of human hearts.

"A moving testament" - Peter Calder, NZ Herald.

"Grippingly emotional. Heartbreaking, humbling and inspiring" - Darren Bevan, TVNZ.