NZ documentary big hit offshore

By Chloe Johnson

Rob Hamill. Photo /  Rhys Palmer
Rob Hamill. Photo / Rhys Palmer

Former Olympic rower Rob Hamill is baffled a documentary which follows his journey to seek justice for his murdered brother has been largely overlooked in New Zealand.

The feature-length film has failed to win major awards in New Zealand even though it has been recognised at international film festivals.

Brother Number One is an emotional film about Kerry Hamill who, in 1978, was captured and tortured at the Tuol Sleng prison after sailing into Kampuchean waters in 1978. The film's general release in this country is not until March 8.

Directed by Annie Goldson, the film follows Rob's first trip to Cambodia, where he testified against Khmer Rouge jailer Comrade Duch, who was imprisoned for 35 years.

Hamill said he was "perplexed" that the documentary, which took four years to make, did not make the final three nominations for the Aotearoa Film and Television Awards last month. The film featured in festivals in London, Copenhagen and Gothenburg. It has also been named as a finalist in a Paris film festival and asked to enter festivals in Canada, Texas and the prestigious Tribeca festival in New York.

"I'm surprised and perplexed," Hamill said. "I am basing my comment on the response, it has been amazing.

"One woman [a film director] said it should be nominated for an Oscar."

Goldson won an AFTA for best film director for Brother Number One.

- Herald on Sunday

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