"What a beautiful, generous, profound and loving film How Far is Heaven is. Utterly magic." - John Campbell, TV3
"A genuine triumph… Destined to be one of the greats." - Dan Slevin, Capital Times
"An eye-opening, moving, funny, charming and surprisingly beautiful film." - Tom Cardy, The Dominion Post.
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, parties & prayers, pig hunting and perfume appreciation...
Over the course of a year, the film 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.
Filmmakers Christopher Pryor & Miriam Smith lived and filmed in Jerusalem for a year, gaining privileged insight into this special world.
"How Far is Heaven is a cinematic gem with an enormous heart, the aesthetic sensibility of a gifted painter, and characters so tangible and perfectly expressed that it's as if Gogol and Balzac had descended onto the shores of the Whanganui River."
Federico Monsalve, Writer, associated with MONOCLE MAGAZINE (UK) and ARTNEWS (NEW YORK)