The House Within 2024

Directed by Joshua Prendeville Māhutonga

Filmmaker Joshua Prendeville’s sterling documentary holds a delicate lens to the fascinating life and work of one of Aotearoa’s literary treasures, Dame Fiona Kidman.

Aug 18

ASB Waterfront Theatre

71 minutes Colour / DCP
documentary film exempt from NZ Classification labelling requirements


Kerry Prendeville, Joshua Prendeville, Victoire Maderou


Bill Bycroft


Cushla Dillon, Richard Shaw


Xavier Mañetto


Fiona Kidman


At 84, Fiona Kidman has published more than 30 books of fiction, poetry, and memoir, and received a raft of the highest accolades here and abroad. As the New Zealand Listener put it, “in her craft and storytelling and in her compassionate, gutsy, tough expression of female experience, she is the best we have.”

In this gentle, meandering film, we’re shown a vocational life lived with conviction and courage, punctuated by loss. From precocious beginnings in rural Northland to her involvement with the New Zealand Women’s Liberation Movement, Fiona Kidman has always been propelled by her sense of the power of words to inspire change, and a nose for thinly veiled Kiwi conservatism. 

One might imagine a documentary about a writer to lack imagery, but quiet domestic scenes set among Wellington’s lush, rugged landscape make for a compelling accompaniment to Kidman’s voice. Coupled with a dreamy score from talented Auckland composer Xavier Mañetto, the film renders the emotional cadences of her words with sophisticated restraint. 

The keen support from readers, writers, and bookstores across the country is a sure sign that The House Within is a film we’ve been waiting for. — Manon Revuelta 

“Fiona has spent her life standing up for the rights of others, and carving out a space for herself in industries where she was often the only woman in the room. The House Within… shines a long overdue light on one of our country’s most inspiring artistic figures and the fearless determination required to write the novels which have had such a lasting impact on our cultural identity.” — Joshua Prendeville