How Far Is Heaven
The Sisters of Compassion have lived in the remote village of Jerusalem / Hiruharama on the Whanganui River in New Zealand for 120 years.
Today, only three nuns remain - their legacy on the river is coming to an end. This is a complex world of powerful dualities; Maori & Christian spirituality, gang parties & prayers, pig hunting and perfume appreciation...
Auckland based filmmakers Miriam Smith & Christopher Pryor lived and filmed in Jerusalem for a year, spanning 2010/2011. How Far is Heaven follows the journey of Sister Margaret Mary, the newest Sister to Jerusalem, who is a regular volunteer at the local school. Through an intimate, observational gaze, the film is captivated by the spellbinding personalities of the local kids, whose humour and unique philosophies transcend the harsher realities of life.
Throughout all seasons, the Sisters’ daily practice of compassion engages with the traditions of local Maori. Together they must learn to navigate lifeʼs heartbreak and joy.
NZ International Film Festival 2012