Issue date: 
Monday, 12 September 2022

Transmission Films and Eight Productions in association with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) have today released the trailer for feature documentary Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD about Olympic champion, Kiwi icon and Tongan leader, Dame Valerie Adams - which will have its nationwide cinema release on October 20, 2022.

Directed by Briar March and produced by Leanne Pooley, Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD is the candid and inspirational story of Dame Valerie Adams; one of the world’s most celebrated athletes. It is a story of a mother, a daughter, a sister and a survivor. At a time when sportswomen globally are struggling with pressures beyond the field of play Dame Valerie Adams is a beacon of hope.

“I want people to laugh, I want people to cry, I want people to be with me in the serious moments but then I want people to celebrate. I’ve told my story, my own way,” states Dame Valerie.

Competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games required all the shot-putter’s determination and courage. At 36, following two major surgeries and the birth of her children, she was considered an ‘older’ athlete. Struggling to balance her role as a mum with her job as an elite sportsperson, Dame Valerie was forced to navigate emotions every mother will identify with. Woven around observational scenes of Dame Valerie’s journey to Tokyo, is her astonishing backstory.

Over the course of 25 years, Dame Valerie has conquered adversity time and time again. Many New Zealanders believe they know Dame Valerie Adams, but in Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD, Dame Valerie shares her story with honesty and vulnerability exposing her in a way few high-profile people dare. The feature is destined to resonate with ordinary New Zealanders in an extraordinarily human way. For those who have faced hardship, lost someone they loved, or held onto a dream, this film will deliver. It is both funny and gut-wrenching as Dame Valerie shows us what it means to be a world-class competitor and a person for whom winning means more than gold.

Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD director Briar March states, "There is so much more to Dame Valerie's story than you would expect. She has overcome significant challenges to achieve her dreams. Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD is a film about what matters most and looks at the strength it takes to look beyond our limitations and circumstances and reach our fullest potential. Dame Valerie is a role model, and I am genuinely excited by the positive impact her story will have on audiences everywhere." March’s credits include, Mothers of the Revolution (2021), A Place to Call Home (2016), There Once Was an Island (2010), and Allie Eagle and Me (2004). Her work has premiered at major international festivals including Sundance, SXSW, IDFA, and the BFI London Film Festival and has received numerous awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at Oceanian International Documentary Film Festival (FIFO).

Transmission Films will distribute Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD theatrically in New Zealand and Australia. Joint Managing Directors of Transmission Films, Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie state, "This is an intimate and moving tribute to an inspirational woman and we couldn’t be more honoured to be releasing Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD in cinemas across New Zealand. We can't wait for audiences to experience the full emotion of this feature on the big screen."

Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD producer Leanne Pooley states, “I’m very proud to have made an honest film about a kiwi icon that goes way beyond the ordinary ‘sports’ documentary. Dame Valerie opened herself up, sharing a story of resilience and tenacity that is almost incomprehensible. If it was fiction no one would believe it.” Leanne Pooley has been a filmmaker for over 25 years, has directed films all over the world and has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Leanne was named an “Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit” for Services to Documentary Filmmaking in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List and she is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscars).

Katie Millington, Executive Producer, Eight Productions states, “We are honoured to have worked together with such a talented bunch of female storytellers to bring to life a story that every New Zealander should see. This film will remind audiences of the Kiwi dream - to be able to provide every new generation with better lives than the lives we’ve had. The mighty Dame Valerie Adams’ story will richly reward audiences long after the curtain comes down.”

Dame Valerie Adams: MORE THAN GOLD is an Eight Production in Association with the New Zealand Film Commission, and with assistance from the Government’s Screen Production Recovery Fund. Proudly supported by Toybox, Images & Sound, Visa, SKY, AIA Vitality and Toyota NZ.

Last updated: 
Monday, 12 September 2022