Never Look Away 2024

Directed by Lucy Lawless Māhutonga

Lucy Lawless makes her directorial debut with a raucous documentary exploring the life of another warrior princess – fierce and fearless Kiwi war video journalist Margaret Moth.

Aug 15

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Aug 16

ASB Waterfront Theatre

Aotearoa New Zealand In English and French with English subtitles
86 minutes Colour / DCP
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements



Matthew Metcalfe
Tom Blackwell
Lucy Lawless


Darryl Ward
Richard Bluck


Whetham Allpress, Tim Woodhouse


Jason Smith, Karl Sölve Steven


Margaret Moth, Christiane Amanpour, Joe Duran, Sausan Ghosheh, Tom Johnson, Stefano Kotsonis, Jeff Russi


Sundance, SXSW, Hot Docs 2024


Presented in association with

Newstalk ZB

Margaret Moth worked as a CNN video journalist in the 1990s, known in the industry for her willingness or eagerness, even to put her safety on the line in order to get amongst terrifying military action. Never Look Away features friends, lovers, and colleagues sharing their admiration, wonder, and fear over Moth’s unyielding determination in many of the world’s most dangerous warzones. 

It’s not difficult to see what attracted Xena star Lucy Lawless to her subject: Moth blazed a trail as TVNZ’s first woman camera operator before becoming a respected visual correspondent in hotspots like Iraq, Georgia, Palestine, and Rwanda. One look at the photographer, with her Siouxsie Sioux-like black hair, dark makeup, and smirking swagger, and it’s clear she belonged as much in front of the lens as behind.

Fellow war reporters, including Christiane Amanpour, make clear the huge impact Moth had as a photojournalist, a woman in a male-dominated field, shining a light on humanity’s darkest moments – some of which the documentary brings to life as stylish digital dioramas built by Wētā Workshop. Despite this, she remains a largely unsung hero in her home country a situation this energetic film seeks to remedy. 

But the documentary doesn’t simply canonise the prickly photographer, paying just as much attention to Moth’s complicated character as her achievements. Her personal life contained no less adrenaline than the warzone workdays: a flurry of LSD, punk clubs, open relationships, and risky behaviour. Darker notes include childhood abuse, PTSD, and a war wound that would change her life profoundly. 

As Moth boldly thrust the grimy realities of war onto the TV screen, so does Lawless’s documentary present the details of her life and legacy in all their tangled complexity. More powerful still are the undeniable connections between the travesties she risked her life to document, and today’s condemnable conflicts which the world shamefully manages to look away from. — Adrian Hatwell