New film “West of Eden”, screened at the Auckland Pride Festival last month, tells the love story of a gay couple in 1960s rural New Zealand.
In the film, gay Maori man Billy (pictured, left) moves to the country to escape prejudice he faced for his sexuality.
He takes a job on a farm where he soon falls in love with Tom, the farmer’s son. But the couple find themselves at odds with their conservative surroundings, two decades before New Zealand decriminalised homosexuality.
The indie film was written and produced by Vanessa Cohen-Riddell and directed by her husband Alastair Riddell.
“One of the things we’re both really strong about is that history isn’t forgotten and there are a lot of people who still fight very long and hard for things to change,” Cohen-Riddell told the New Zealand Herald.
“Once those changes have happened, decades down the track, people often forget and don’t really appreciate how hard it was for people who were fighting the cause.
“I just imagined being in that position; that I couldn’t love the person I wanted to love because it was deemed unacceptable and how hard that would be and the worst thing would be living a kind of lie.”
Watch the trailer for “West of Eden” below: