Jacindamania: Documentary about ex-PM Jacinda Ardern being produced

Jacinda Ardern. PHOTO: GETTY
Jacinda Ardern. PHOTO: GETTY
The New Zealand Film Commission is putting $800,000 towards a documentary about former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern.

In a statement the Film Commission said the documentary explores the rise of violent extremism and online hate in New Zealand, while covering Dame Jacinda's leadership.

The commission said the documentary was not authorised nor endorsed by Dame Jacinda, and she has no editorial involvement.

"It is important to note this is not a biopic. Rather, the documentary explores the rise of violent extremism and online hate in New Zealand, following Jacinda Ardern's leadership trajectory as an example of how these forces played out through one of the most tumultuous periods in modern times.

"The documentary records a period of New Zealand's history."

The documentary is being produced by Emma Slade of Firefly Films, with the writer-directors Pietra Brettkelly and Justin Pemberton.

The Commission said Brettkelly and Pemberton were among New Zealand's most experienced documentary makers and the project was in the Commission's slate presented at Cannes Film Festival in May 2023 to potential international partners, under the name Jacindamania.

In total it is expected the documentary will cost $3.2 million to make.

There had been significant investment from local and international partners, meaning strong market confidence, which indicates there is an audience for the film in New Zealand and overseas, the Commission said.

"The average NZFC contribution so far this financial year has been $1.5m for scripted features, and $863,000 for documentaries. It is worth noting that at 25 percent of the total budget, NZFC's proportional contribution to this film is substantially less than usual for documentaries, due to the level of third party investment."

The film is scheduled to go into production later in 2024, and to be released in August 2025.