Issue date: 
Friday, 28 May 2021

The trailer for the local feature film Juniper has been released today ahead of its nationwide cinema release on August 26, 2021.

Juniper stars acclaimed Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominated actor Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Hannah, Night Porter, London Spy, Swimming Pool), Márton Csókás (Kingdom of Heaven, The Equalizer, The Luminaries), Edith Poor (Underbelly, Super City) and a young kiwi star on the rise George Ferrier (Dirty Laundry, Kiwi Christmas). 

Written and directed by Matthew J. Saville (Hitch Hike, Dive), Juniper is Saville’s debut feature film. Juniper weaves its narrative around Sam (George Ferrier) a self-destructive 17-year-old, who upon returning home from boarding school discovers his UK-based grandmother Ruth (Charlotte Rampling) has moved in. Sam soon finds himself confronted by Ruth’s love for the bottle, acerbic wit and lust for life. A battle of wills ensues enabling him to embrace life again, as Ruth faces her own mortality.  

Charlotte Rampling’s impressive credit list includes 45 years, Red Sparrow, Hannah, Swimming Pool, Assassin’s Creed, London Spy, Broadchurch, Restless. She recently completed filming Paul Verhoeven’s latest film Benedetta and Dennis Villeneuve’s feature adaptation of science fiction novel Dune.  

Rampling commented on the role, “I felt something special about Juniper. The script was beautifully crafted, it's strong, unsentimental and it pulls you in to its astonishing end. The characters are finely drawn, close to the heart.  This is an auteur film, written by the director and with a smaller production team you can go on an adventure in a way you can’t do with big productions. I love this and I was deeply happy to return to New Zealand working alongside a talented cast and crew in the making of this superb film.”

Writer and director Matthew J Saville’s inspiration for Juniper is drawn from his own experiences growing up in New Zealand, Saville added, “Much like the character of Sam in Juniper, my grandma broke her leg and moved into our family home when I was 17. I hadn't had much to do with her prior. She was a real character, funny, intelligent, sharp and perhaps a little abrasive from being stuck in a chair all day. It was a crazy time – and so drawn from my own experience Juniper promises a hearty meal of belly laughs, pathos and conflict. I can't wait for audiences to see this intimate story brought to life by our incredible cast.”

Juniper is produced by Desray Armstrong (Stray, Coming Home in the Dark) from Sandy Lane Productions and Angela Littlejohn (Apron Strings, Separation City). Littlejohn came onboard the film early 2019 on the strength of Saville’s script and was excited at the opportunity to work on his feature film directorial debut. Littlejohn commented: “It was one of the strongest most beautifully written scripts I had read in a long time and I connected immediately with the fraught family relationships and Ruth and Sam’s ultimate love story.”

Transmission Films will distribute theatrically in New Zealand and Australia, with Celsius Entertainment handling international sales. The film was made in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Screen Production Grant and Fulcrum Media Finance.

Last updated: 
Saturday, 29 May 2021