Screened as part of NZIFF 2023

Sanctuary 2022

Directed by Zachary Wigon

Set over one night in one hotel room, this psychosexual thriller–cum-romantic comedy charts the ever-shifting power plays between a wealthy heir and his long-time dominatrix.

USA In English
96 minutes Colour / DCP




David Lancaster
Stephanie Wilcox
Ilya Stewart
Pavel Burian


Micah Bloomberg


Ludovica Isidori


Kate Brokaw
Lance Edmands

Production Designer

Jason Singleton

Costume Designer

Mirren Gordon-Crozier


Ariel Marx


Christopher Abbott
Margaret Qualley


Toronto 2022


Margaret Qualley (Stars at Noon NZIFF 2022) and Christopher Abbott (Piercing NZIFF 2018) star as Rebecca and Hal, a dominatrix and her long-time submissive. Theirs is a connection founded on humiliation and degradation, so when Hal learns he is to become the CEO of his late father’s luxury hotel chain he concludes that the time for indulging in his fantasies of submission is over. He attempts to end his working relationship with Rebecca, but she is unconvinced. When they met, he was meek, insecure—it is only because of her efforts that he now has the self-confidence to perform as CEO, and doesn’t that surely entitle her to half his salary? Set over one night in one hotel room, what follows is an evening of quippy screwball tête-à-tête, blackmail and cat-and-mouse power plays. — Amanda Jane Robinson

“Bloomberg’s cruelly sharp dialogue is a pleasure to the ear, and Qualley and Abbot a sparring match worthy of the Broadway stage. We hang on their every word but more thrillingly, on their every thought.” — Chuck Wilson, Village Voice

“[Sanctuary] upends the romantic comedy genre’s usual approach to relationships with a delightfully demented but surprisingly sweet tale about sex, power, and, most shocking of all, love. It’s loads of sick fun—if that’s what you’re into.” — Kimber Myers, Crooked Marquee