It’s time to leave the work to others now – Celia Lashlie’s last interview.

Millar’s film is timely, clear-eyed and necessary. Celia should be compulsory viewing for anyone who works in education, social services, incarceration or corrections in New Zealand. It is also an undeniably engrossing, entertaining and often surprisingly funny watch.

Compassionate, funny, combative, and blunt.

Directed by award-winning current affairs journalist Amanda Millar, this documentary celebrates the life of equality advocate Celia Lashlie. The first female prison officer in a male prison in New Zealand, Lashlie fought to get people the tools for making responsible decisions, from female prisoners to fatherless boys to impoverished children. Lashlie had a particular focus on empowering mothers. The documentary was filmed over the last months of her life, following a diagnosis of terminal cancer.


This film was the biggest box office hit for the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival, with sold-out theatres and extended sessions throughout the country. In this emotionally charged, lovingly made documentary, social advocate Celia Lashlie talks openly about her life, her work and her dreams of a better New Zealand. After receiving a terminal cancer diagnosis in late 2014, Lashlie asked her friend, award winning journalist Amanda Millar, to film the final year of her life. But in February 2015, Millar was summoned to bring a camera to Lashlie’s home for what turned out to be the only interview for this film. Lashlie died on February 16, 2015, just two days after that interview. Lashlie recognised that this film would be her last chance to share her vital messages about how to change the lives of those involved in New Zealand’s appalling violence, prison and suicide statistics.


Celia presents the transformational effect of this one charismatic woman in the lives of some of the most damaged people in the country. It is an intimate portrait in which family, close friends, people she worked with and those she helped provide fond recollections while archival footage adds context.

NZ 2018, 100 min, exempt
Directed by Amanda Millar

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