A documentary on the late activist and union advocate Helen Kelly will be released in over 30 cinemas around the country from Thursday, 13 February.
Helen Kelly - Together was made by director Tony Sutorius and producer Catherine Fitzgerald and was very successful at its debut in New Zealand's International Film Festival in 2019.
In 2015 Helen Kelly agreed to let documentary maker Tony Sutorius into her life to document her last year of activism.
Tony Sutorius says he initially met with Helen Kelly the day after she had finished up her role with President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions. At the time, she was not only undergoing cancer treatment and facing a terminal illness (having been diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2015) but it was also the first time in her adult life without a job.
“I sat down with her and said: ‘How about I just tag along with a camera and see what happens? – and that’s exactly what we did',” he says. That process lasted nearly a year - until Helen’s death in October 2016 - and encompasses her advocacy work with various local sectors, including the families of the Pike River Mine victims, as well as forestry accident victims and locked out meat-workers.
While she completed a law degree at Victoria University in 2006, Helen Kelly never practised law, but was closely involved in legal issues over her career.