A Mild Touch of Cancer 2021

Directed by Annie Goldson

Following the success of David Downs’ book of the same name, NZ director Annie Goldson (Brother Number One NZIFF 2011, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web NZIFF 2017) brings his story to the big screen.

76 minutes DCP
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements

Director, Producer, Screenplay


David Downs
Kirsty Horgan
Mile Nafatali


Irene Chapple


Jacob Bryant
Dominic Fryer
Mark Lapwood
Adam Luxton
Faanati Mamea
Eric Phillips-Horst
Richard Kickbush


Prisca Bouchet


Karl Sölve Steven

Post Production Facility

Department of Post

Aotearoa New Zealand films at NZIFF 2022 are proudly supported by


Tackling boredom, fear and hospital food, David blends honesty, humour and information to chronicle his experience with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That same transparency shines on camera, charting the long months that changed the Downs family’s lives.

Terminally ill, David makes it to Boston where he enters a clinical trial in cancer immunotherapy called CAR T-cell therapy. For those left with few options, CAR T is the last lifesaver thrown, and for David, the treatment is a resounding success. On his return to Aotearoa, he discovers that the Malaghan Institute in Wellington has started their own CAR T trials, and so begins David’s next great adventure: helping other New Zealanders negotiate their own cancer journeys.

A story of generosity, family connections and courage, A Mild Touch of Cancer explores the science and history of immunotherapy, providing an exciting glimpse into what may very well be the cure for cancer. — Rachael Rands