Fantail

Fantail

Fantail

A South Auckland petrol station is the setting for this independent drama about graveyard shift worker Tania (Sophie Henderson, also the film’s writer and based on her one-woman stageplay), whose long nights are spent chipping away at the savings she needs to leave with her little brother in search of their father.

Raised Maori, Tania’s bonds to her whanau underpin a life spent caring for her ailing mother during the day and preparing to take her brother Piwakawaka overseas. But as he leaves to pick kiwifruit and Tania is stuck at the gas station with a slack manager and an eagle-eyed regional supervisor, it seems she’s not able to look after her family to the same extent. 

A product of the NZ Film Commission’s Escalator scheme, this low-budget feature, shot in just 20 days, brings Henderson’s piece to the big screen courtesy of first-time director Curtis Vowell.

2013Rating: R15, Violence, offensive language & drug use79 minsNew Zealand
Drama

Streaming (2 Providers)

Reviews & comments

Flicks, Liam Maguren

Flicks, Liam Maguren

flicks

In similar fashion to 2013’s Oscar Wilde-inspired The Selfish Giant, Fantail brings a Maori fable to a local lower-class setting. Mostly set at a South Auckland petrol station, first-time feature director Curtis Vowell achieves the sombre look and visual grit such a lonesome location requires, allowing actress/writer/wife Sophie Henderson to soak it all up with her vibrant, absorbing performance.

3.0

Funny and moving

This is a great wee film to watch on a Sunday morning. Great performances and themes. Sometimes the lack of budget showed through but the film comission did a great job in funding this film as we need to tell more NZ stories and this is a special wee film.

4.0

I really, really loved this film

Fantail is gorgeous, touching, shocking, heart warming - everything you could want really. It's also beautifully written, performed and directed. ALL the performances are stellar. That this film was shot in such a short time and completed on a shoe string just adds to the appeal. Congratulations to everyone involved. What an achievement. I love a film that...

F#*k YEAH NZ films !

FANTAIL joins the list of truly great and genuine New Zealand films. It is a small, touching unpredictable and engaging film. Written and featuring an impressive performance by Sophie Henderson, the film touches important themes such as cultural identity and familial longing. Jarod Rawiri who plays Dean, the regional supervisor, provides plenty of light...

5.0

A little indie movie to be proud of

About time New Zealand came up with a classy little indie movie. Different, beautifully shot and acted, Fantail is a sweetly balanced tragedy-with-funny bits. I don't know why I was so surprised that a NZ film could be so good. Looking forward to seeing this director's next movie and hopefully plenty more from the stunning cast. LOVED it.

5.0

We are not in Hollywood now

Tania (Sophie Henderson) is a Maori, a blue eyed blonde Maori. She works the night shift at a South Auckland petrol station. She and her younger brother Pi are saving money for a trip to Surfers to visit their dad and the fun parks there. New regional manager, Dean (Jared Rawiri), shows up, and keeps showing up. Dean is a little too full of himself and...

4.0
Stuff

Stuff

press

The well-crafted story trips along at quite a pace, proffering surprises as well as flashes of nastiness.

Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand

press

I was gobsmacked by it. The acting talent is absolutely stunning.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

One of the freshest New Zealand films to come along in years. Displaying an emotional assuredness rarely seen in debut films,... often-hilarious and occasionally devastating.

Metro Magazine

Metro Magazine

press

Even with these flaws, it’s an effective and engaging film.

Lumiere Reader

Lumiere Reader

press

A fascinating and brave film anchored by Sophie Henderson’s Kidman-esque performance.

Dominion Post

Dominion Post

press

Fantail is a deft, brief, ultimately indelible film.

5.0
Flicks, Liam Maguren

Flicks, Liam Maguren

flicks

In similar fashion to 2013’s Oscar Wilde-inspired The Selfish Giant, Fantail brings a Maori fable to a local lower-class setting. Mostly set at a South Auckland petrol station, first-time feature director Curtis Vowell achieves the sombre look and visual grit such a lonesome location requires, allowing actress/writer/wife Sophie Henderson to soak it all up with her vibrant, absorbing performance.

3.0
Stuff

Stuff

press

The well-crafted story trips along at quite a pace, proffering surprises as well as flashes of nastiness.

Radio New Zealand

Radio New Zealand

press

I was gobsmacked by it. The acting talent is absolutely stunning.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

One of the freshest New Zealand films to come along in years. Displaying an emotional assuredness rarely seen in debut films,... often-hilarious and occasionally devastating.

Metro Magazine

Metro Magazine

press

Even with these flaws, it’s an effective and engaging film.

Lumiere Reader

Lumiere Reader

press

A fascinating and brave film anchored by Sophie Henderson’s Kidman-esque performance.

Dominion Post

Dominion Post

press

Fantail is a deft, brief, ultimately indelible film.

5.0

Funny and moving

This is a great wee film to watch on a Sunday morning. Great performances and themes. Sometimes the lack of budget showed through but the film comission did a great job in funding this film as we need to tell more NZ stories and this is a special wee film.

4.0

I really, really loved this film

Fantail is gorgeous, touching, shocking, heart warming - everything you could want really. It's also beautifully written, performed and directed. ALL the performances are stellar. That this film was shot in such a short time and completed on a shoe string just adds to the appeal. Congratulations to everyone involved. What an achievement. I love a film...

F#*k YEAH NZ films !

FANTAIL joins the list of truly great and genuine New Zealand films. It is a small, touching unpredictable and engaging film. Written and featuring an impressive performance by Sophie Henderson, the film touches important themes such as cultural identity and familial longing. Jarod Rawiri who plays Dean, the regional supervisor, provides plenty of light...

5.0

A little indie movie to be proud of

About time New Zealand came up with a classy little indie movie. Different, beautifully shot and acted, Fantail is a sweetly balanced tragedy-with-funny bits. I don't know why I was so surprised that a NZ film could be so good. Looking forward to seeing this director's next movie and hopefully plenty more from the stunning cast. LOVED it.

5.0

We are not in Hollywood now

Tania (Sophie Henderson) is a Maori, a blue eyed blonde Maori. She works the night shift at a South Auckland petrol station. She and her younger brother Pi are saving money for a trip to Surfers to visit their dad and the fun parks there. New regional manager, Dean (Jared Rawiri), shows up, and keeps showing up. Dean is a little too full of himself and...

4.0