To mark the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Screen brings us the stories behind some of our most notable local films.
Released in 1977, Sleeping Dogs is based on the CK Stead novel Smith's Dream, a political thriller set in a police state New Zealand.
The film heralded a new wave of Kiwi cinema, attracting a large local audience, and helping lead to the establishment of the Film Commission the following year.
It was also the first New Zealand film to be released in the US, and launched the international careers of two pivotal figures in our screen history – director Roger Donaldson, and actor Sam Neill.
Here Donaldson speaks about receiving support for the film from unexpected quarters (including Don Brash and the NZ Airforce), and arranging a secret screening for then-Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.
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You can watch the original trailer for Sleeping Dogs here:
See more great New Zealand film moments here, in NZ On Screen's Film Commission Collection.