Head South 2024

Directed by Jonathan Ogilvie Big Nights

Christchurch-born filmmaker Jonathan Ogilvie returns home for this evocative coming-of-age story that brilliantly captures the feeling of growing up weird in the Garden City. Starring Ed Oxenbould, Márton Csókás and featuring Stella Bennett aka Benee in her acting debut, Head South will be our Opening Night film for the Christchurch leg of the festival.

Aug 15

Hoyts EntX

Sold Out

Lumiere Cinemas (Bardot)

Sold Out

Lumiere Cinemas (Bernhardt)

Aug 17
Sold Out

Lumiere Cinemas (Bardot)

Aug 20

Lumiere Cinemas (Bernhardt)

Aug 29

Lumiere Cinemas (Bardot)

98 minutes Colour / DCP
Violence, drug use, offensive language & sexual coercion

Director, Screenplay


Antje Kulpe
Jonathan Ogilvie


John Christoffels


Julie-Anne De Ruvo

Production Designer

Christopher Bruce

Costume Designer

Lesley Burkes-Harding

Sound Designer

Chris Sinclair


Shayne Carter


Márton Csókás
Ed Oxenbould
Stella Bennett
Trendall Pulini
Roxie Mohebbi
Jackson Bliss
Demos Murphy
Oscar Phillips
Mark Darbyshire


Rotterdam, Sydney 2024


Drawing from his own experience growing up in Christchurch in the 1970s and ’80s, Jonathan Ogilvie’s warmly engaging film delves beneath the city’s prim and proper exterior to portray its nascent post-punk underground. A scene which would later birth the record label Flying Nun, that would go on take South Island music to the world. 

Ed Oxenbould stars as teenaged Angus who has been left alone for a fortnight with his old-school civil engineer father Gordon (Márton Csókás). It’s 1979 and long hair is out, and spiky hair is in. While visiting the local record shop Angus’s mind and the film literally expands on first listening to Public Image Limited, Johnny Rotten’s post-Sex Pistols band. Soon enough Angus has turned his flared trousers into stovepipes, repurposed Gordon’s wedding shoes as a pair of winklepickers and visits the hair salon to lay waste to his flowing locks. 

Angus becomes drawn to cool punk chick Holly (Roxie Mohebbi), who claims to be from London, and musically talented shopgirl Kristen, played by Stella Bennett, better known as homegrown popstar Benee. Convinced to attend a gig by popular local band The Cursed, Angus is bullied by the sneery lead singer and claims to have his own band, only to be put into a position to back up this little white lie when he’s asked to open The Cursed’s next show before even learning to play. Can you get more punk rock?

Oxenbould provides just the right dose of open-eyed naivety and schoolboy enthusiasm in the role of Angus, while Csókás brings a real gravitas to the character of Gordon which belies his outwardly stiff and conservative nature. Bennett proves to be a natural on screen and gets ample opportunity to display both her dramatic and musical talent.

The film makes pointed use of an era appropriate soundtrack including choice cuts from the fabled AK79 punk compilation and several new tracks from composer Shayne Carter (from iconic Flying Nun band Straitjacket Fits). A fab cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale” by Carter and Bennett perfectly encapsulates the hazy, psych-influenced feel of the Christchurch scene as does the throbbing original title track which could be mistaken for a forgotten Flying Nun classic. Ogilvie, who got his start making music videos for that venerable Kiwi label has really come full circle with Head South, crafting a coming-of-age film with a true heart that is an entertaining and loving tribute to his hometown. — Michael McDonnell