Just one week after Paul Henry returned to New Zealand television screens, the controversial broadcaster has made his feature film debut at the Florida Film Festival.

And the first review from its festival screening has been a good one.

The Desk - a mockumentary filmed in the US after he left TVNZ in 2010 but before he began his failed stint on Australian breakfast television - debuted at the festival on Saturday night. It screens again on Tuesday.

The film's trailer shows the breakfast radio and television host starring opposite actor Joe Canal, who plays New York Times journalist Andrew Goldman.


Watch the trailer for The Desk below:

Paul Henry stars in the film The Desk, which will premiere at the Florida Film Festival.

Henry plays himself in the film, which purports to tell the real-life story of how Henry destroyed Goldman's career.

A synopisis on the Florida Film Festival website says: "This is the absolutely true story of Andrew Goldman, a New York Times journalist who makes a short film about an outrageous New Zealand talk show host named Paul Henry.

"In the process, Goldman's life and career implodes before his very eyes. The New York Times fires him for asking impolite questions of celebrities, the buffoonish Paul Henry drags him into the gutter of Hollywood talent management."

The film is a strange mix of fiction and real-life footage, assembled from behind-the-scenes footage, real documentary segments and re-enactments.

It also features '80s fitness guru Richard Simmons.

The first review, on www.chriscrespo.com, calls The Desk "one helluva film".

"This is something that feels real and intimate, while also managing to tackle some very interesting macro issues about social media trolls and the death of journalism."


According to The Spinoff, Henry has not seen the film himself, telling David Farrier he never expected it to be released.

He was contacted by Goldman after he was sacked by TVNZ, Henry says.

"He said, 'You have a great future here and I've been talking to people...' And a production company... the one that produced Paris Hilton's series - the one with Paris and Nicole [The Simple Life] - that one. It wasn't the biggest one in the world, but they had cred. And the next minute I was in all these executive meetings and expensive clubs in LA."

Henry admits he is acting in the film but it's unclear how much of the story is true.

"The premise is that I've come from New Zealand to make it big, having been sacked. And I was offered a job in America ... but in the time it took to get me to get to LA the man who offered me the job is no longer there! So I brought my desk over with me - Sir Edmund Hilary's desk - not really, but that's in the script. I am sort of acting. But what do I know about acting?"

- nzherald.co.nz