WATCH: First trailer for NZ gang movie 'Savage' released

TV and Movies 16/07/2020

Newshub | Daniel Rutledge

The first trailer has for Savage, an upcoming film inspired by New Zealand gangs and state-run boys' homes, has just been released.

The story centres around Danny, and according to the film's official log, follows three decades of his life in Aotearoa - the '60s, '70s and '80s - "taking a deeper look at a boy who grows into the brutal enforcer of a gang, to understand how he got there."

Savage is written and directed by Sam Kelly, who has previously covered the topic of at-risk Kiwi youth in his 2011 short film Lambs, which was played at film festivals around the world.

Kelly says researching that brought him into close contact with New Zealand's organised crime underworld, on top of his being exposed to it from an early age.

"I come from Porirua, a place where gang members are a part of the fabric of the community. I had friends who were directly impacted by gang violence," Kelly told Newshub.

"While researching Lambs, I spent time with a Porirua youth gang and then met several former and current Mongrel Mob and Black Power members.

"The stories of their childhood journeys towards becoming gang members I found the most affecting. Many came from abusive homes, were removed and placed in state care where they suffered horrific abuse, and afterwards looked to join other outcasts in a new family unit - a gang."

Kelly said the New Zealand state failed these people and that inspired him to "shine a light on the reality that gangs form not in isolation from society, but as a direct result of it".

Savage opens in New Zealand cinemas on August 27.