When a City Rises



Writer, Director
Gerard Smyth

Gerard Smyth

Executive Producer
Tony Holden

Oliver Dawe, Gaylene Barnes

Chris Sinclair, Ben Edwards, Amanda Reid, Tim Brott, Paul Skelton

Gerard Smyth, Jacob Bryant

A decade on from the deadly earthquake, Christchurch has risen from the rubble, a new city built upon the kindness and resilience of its people.

Ten years ago, just months after the largest of the Canterbury earthquakes, Christchurch- based Frank Film produced the award-winning documentary, When A City Falls. It had been produced for us, about us, and by us.Each of Christchurch’s remaining cinemas screened the film to packed houses for months. When a City Falls was to become our city’s most watched documentary ever.

Now a decade on, comes the sequel: When A City Rises - The People’s Story. Ten years in the making. Over 600 hours of stories about our people and our place. Local characters have been followed throughout the decade; their triumphs, frustrations and disasters recorded.

First we see a city pulled apart and razed to the ground around us. A blank slate emerges. Dreams are free and we all have our say. But what makes a 21st Century city?
Who will take of the rebuild? Will it be led by Central Government or local authorities?
Will Ngāi Tahu and the Christchurch City Council have a place at the table?
What will rise from the rubble?
And what about us, the people? Beaten, traumatised and exhausted. But connected, resilient and kind. We scarcely remember how we survived those years of disillusionment. A people profoundly changed. A new people in a new world. Where to from here?

When a City Rises journeys with the people as we all travel the most unexpected and bumpy of roads. From despair to recovery. From grief to optimism.
Our untold story. Our extraordinary experience.