Gardening With Soul - A Big Success

Posted Monday 11 Nov 2013

Well done to WIFT member Vicky Pope for the breakout success of Gardening with Soul - a Wellington documentary centered on the life story of 90-year-old gardening nun Sister Loyola Galvin - that is setting a new benchmark for locally made low-budget documentaries, topping $400,000 at the box office this week.

Since its world premiere at the NZ International Film Festival in July, this heart-warming documentary achieved this box office milestone just eight weeks after its nationwide release. The film is still showing on 22 screens in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, Nelson, Blenheim and more, retaining its place in the top 20 films currently screening in New Zealand.

Producer Vicky Pope says the documentary is on track to be one of the most successful self-distributed films in New Zealand in recent times.

"The film has received an overwhelming response wherever it has screened. We're so thrilled with the box office results and the great feedback we've received from both the public and cinema exhibitors about the film. We've had amazing support from both the NZ International Film Festival and also the cinema operators around the country. It has been humbling and terrific".

Director Jess Feast is most heartened by the way that so many people have connected with Sister Loyola's spirit and story.

"Seeing the way that people talk about and engage with the film is a testament to Sister Loyola's common sense wisdom and incredible compassion. It's very special and quite rare to be involved with a film that strikes such a strong chord with audiences".

The film's publicist Anna Dean says the film's success shows the pulling power of a simple but compelling documentary can match and out-perform films made with larger budgets.

"The audience this has reached is amazing and a tribute to Sister Loyola and the awesome duo of Vicky Pope and Jess Feast. This all-women team definitely lights the way to a future where more and more elegantly crafted, well-told and timeless stories like the life of Sister Loyola make it into our cinemas and on to international success as well".

The film opens this week in Masterton, Martinborough, Havelock North, Sumner and at the Academy in Christchurch.

Trailer here: