Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Apostasy 2017

Directed by Daniel Kokotajlo Fresh

Himself a former Jehovah’s Witness, writer/director Daniel Kokotajlo provides an insider’s critique in this dramatic tale of mother and daughter torn between faith and instinct.

UK In English and Urdu with English subtitles
96 minutes DCP



Marcie MacLellan
Andrea Cornwell


Adam Scarth


Napoleon Stratogiannakis

Production designer

John Ellis

Costume designer

Lance Milligan


Matthew Wilcock


Siobhan Finneran (Ivanna)
Sacha Parkinson (Luisa)
Molly Wright (Alex)
Robert Emmst (Elder Steven)


London 2017

Set in the cloistered world of Manchester's Jehovah’s Witness community, this exquisitely observed, superbly acted British debut is a quietly devastating film about the tension between personal devotion and institutional power. Alex and Luisa have grown up in the faith with their unquestioning single mother, Ivanna, as spiritual guide. The deeply reverent Alex is suffering from a disease that requires blood transfusions, a 'contaminating' procedure that is forbidden by the church. Her older sister Luisa begins art school, romances an outsider and starts to doubt the tenets of their religion.

When a sudden rift occurs – in both the lives of the protagonists and the narrative of the film – the foundation of this pious family is torn asunder. Rigorous in its critique of the church, and entirely sympathetic in its treatment of character, this is a rare film about a rarefied world. It heralds Daniel Kokotajlo (who draws on his own experience growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness) as a major new talent. This is reflected in his winning of the prestigious BFI and IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award. — Clare Stewart