A trailer previewing a documentary sharing the inspirational journey of young Christchurch cancer survivor Jake Bailey, whose heart-wrenching speech to his peers days after being diagnosed with cancer went global, has been released tonight.

Jake Bailey, 19, captured hearts after he delivered his Christchurch Boys' High School head boy speech days after being diagnosed with the aggressive, rare cancer Burkitt non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and being told he had three weeks to live without treatment.

In the footage which made international headlines, was translated into dozens of languages, and has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.7 million times - he told fellow pupils to, "Be gallant, be great, be gracious and be grateful for the opportunities that you have".

Now, a sneak peek into The Common Touch - a documentary made by three young New Zealand filmmakers - has been revealed.


It's been a year in the making for 17-year-old director Mason Cade Packer and producer Isabella Walsh and fellow 18-year-old director of photography James Murray.

Packer said he saw Bailey's speech last year when it first went viral.

As many people were, he was moved by it. And he also saw an opportunity to make a poignant documentary about Bailey's journey.

He sent Bailey, who last year won Massey University's Quote of the Year, a message. The pair met and decided they could work together on the project.

"It was clear from the get-go that Jake wanted this film to be about accessibility- he wanted it to be a vessel for a message that could help other people going through cancer, and how to get through it, like he got through it," Packer said.

"He wanted it to be a film that could help families going through cancer, and he wanted it to be a story that could really help anybody feel good."

It centres on interviews with Bailey, his mother, Boys' High headmaster Nic Hill, and a doctor that treated him.

The Bailey family also provided access to home videos depicting Bailey as head boy at primary school and giving speeches in Year 8 and Year 10.


An intriguing aspect to the film is that it's produced by teenagers, on a subject who is the same age as them.

"It's very clear in our doco that it's not a movie made by adults, but a movie told by people who have just graduated high school like him and who are just coming into their new worlds and having to deal with issues."

The film, which is still in its editing phase, will be released online for free next year.

Packer said they have had interest to premiere the film at the Documentary Edge Film Festival in Wellington in May.

"We're students, we don't make a lot of money, that's the stereotype, but we don't want to make money from this film. So that's why we decided to release it online for free next year," Packer said.

"Jake's speech connected to people worldwide for free, and that was the power of it, and we want to replicate that."

Bailey, who has been living in Australia, has signed a book deal also due to be released in May.