A film by Amanda Millar
“Timely, clear-eyed and necessary”
– Dominion Post
A film by Amanda Millar
– Dominion Post
Celia is due to be released in cinemas across New Zealand from February 28, 2019. If you want the film to be shown in your town or city or you’d like to host a private screening/ fundraiser, please contact Caramel Canine Films
RUNNING TIME 101 minutes
COUNTRY Aotearoa, New Zealand
COMPANY am&co productions
EXEMPT FROM CLASSIFICATION
Celia Lashlie wasn’t afraid to speak up… this film was her last chance to do so.
After receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis in late 2014, Celia asked her friend, award-winning journalist Amanda Millar to film the final year of her life to ensure her unfinished work could go on.
In February 2015, Amanda was summonsed to bring a camera to Celia’s home for what turned out to be the only interview for this film. Two days later, Celia passed away.
Celia presents the transformational effect of this one charismatic woman in the lives of some of the most at-risk people in the country. This film represented her last chance to not only open up about her life and work but also share her vital messages about how to change the lives of those involved in New Zealand’s appalling violence, child mortality, prison and suicide statistics.
Celia was three and a half years in production before it had its New Zealand premiere at the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival. It then went on to become the biggest box office success for that year’s festival.
It was Celia’s wish that this film focused on her ‘heart’s work’ – at-risk women and their children.
After her years in the prison service, Celia came to understand that to unravel the complex issues needing attention within New Zealand’s at-risk families, we need to start with the mothers who are at the centre of these families.
Celia worked for 15 years within the Prison Service, making New Zealand history in 1985 as the first woman to work as a prison officer in a male prison. Her final role within the Service was as Manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison.
Celia wasn’t afraid to speak up. She fought authorities over plans for Christchurch Women’s Prison and was sacked from a government job after she was accused of breaching client confidentiality when she spoke about a fictional 5-year-old boy who she predicted, was destined for prison. She was later vindicated after a government inquiry.
Her work in men’s prisons, coupled with raising a son, left her with a strong sense of the vulnerability of adolescent boys. In 2005, He’ll Be Ok, Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men was published, and in it, Celia’s controversial message was ‘telling mothers to step back’.
This work followed three years of research with Celia talking to boys from 25 high schools throughout the country about what makes a good man in the 21st Century. He’ll Be OK became a bestseller and the 10th anniversary edition was released posthumously in September 2015.
Celia wrote two other books: The Journey to Prison: Who goes and why and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children. She was also a mother to Rebekah and Gene and nana to Ted, Fergus and Ruby.
– Director & Producer
Celia is Amanda Millar’s first feature-length film and came about through the former TV reporter’s 15-year releationship with Celia Lashlie.
Celia featured in several of Amanda’s stories for TV3’s 20/20 and 60 Minutes over that time.
In three decades of television production, Amanda Millar has worked as a reporter, producer, director and presenter on award-winning documentaries and current affairs programmes, including ‘Fair Go’, ‘Frontline’, ‘20/20’ and ‘60 Minutes’.
She has also produced and directed more than 30 independent television documentaries.
Most of her journalism career has been in high profile current affairs – where she earned more than 18 national awards. Until her departure in 2010, Amanda was TV3’s ‘60 Minutes’ most experienced female current affairs reporter and presenter. In just over a decade, Amanda won the Best Current Affairs Reporter three times.
She’s also the seven-times winner of the Best Interviewer award at the Qantas Media Awards. In 2006, she was the overall winner of the TV & Film Peace Foundation Media Awards.
She now runs the team at am&co supplying expert communication advice to multi-national corporations and some of New Zealand’s most innovative and successful companies.
– Executive Producer
Land investor and farmer, Garry Robertson helped make the documentary possible by financing the production after an initial Givealittle site raised some money.
His motivation for supporting the documentary was his admiration for Celia Lashlie after he and the mother of his four sons had followed her advice on raising teenage boys. He also grew up in Mosgiel, Dunedin where he’d seen plenty of domestic violence.
Garry Robertson is a passionate philanthropist who’s determined to support and see hard-working Kiwis thrive.
This film was made with the intention of keeping Celia’s work, vision and voice alive. To see how you can contribute to change visit Celia’s Army