WATCH: The trailer for NZ gang movie 'Savage' just dropped

Headlines 16/07/2020

Newshub | Daniel Rutledge

The first trailer for Savage, a film inspired by New Zealand's gang history and abusive state-run boys' homes, has just dropped.

The story revolves around Danny - played by Jake Ryan - and according to the film's official log, follows him through 30 years and three defining moments in his life as he grows from a boy into the violent enforcer of a gang.

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. Check Lambs out below.

Kelly says researching for that film 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.