Same but different...a true NZ love story about a Ponsonby mum in love

This new movie is the debut self-funded feature film from real life wives, Nikki Si’ulepa (writer/director) and Rachel Aneta Wills (producer) who’ve spent the last three years preparing, scripting, shooting, editing, and now, distributing their romantic Kiwi flick into cinemas.

The film is based on Nikki and Rachel’s true, awkward, beginnings in love from when they met at the 2015 Wairoa Māori Film Festival. Rachel spent weeks trying to land a cafe date with Nikki to “talk about a film idea”. Nikki, on the other hand, was confused at the efforts of this persistent Ponsonby mum who “drove an expensive car and got her nails done”. Four years later and the filmmaking duo are happily married and living in Ponsonby with their two children, Jett (9) and Cooper (15), with their love film screening in Auckland at Rialto Cinemas, The Vic Devonport and are about to announce more cinemas in NZ and overseas.

Rachel recalls, “When Nikki first suggested we make a film about how we first hooked up, I said, ‘That’s a horrible idea!’ because I knew that my character wouldn’t come off very good. From that initial reaction, Nikki knew it would make a great film.”

The pair both have acting backgrounds but opted not to play themselves in the movie. Nikki adds, “We made the decision early which helped us step away from the characters and put our filmmaker hats on”. They put a callout to actors and cast Robyn Paterson as Rachel and Hannah Martin as Nikki.

SBD was mainly filmed in and around Ponsonby, (Urban Ashram Yoga, Ponsonby Road), Grey Lynn (Seabreeze Café, Garnet Road, Pocket Bar, Tart Bakery), Newton (Coco’s Cantina), and Kingsland (MTG RM, Kiko’s Coffee). Nikki says, “We’re both born and bred in Auckland and love our city. We wanted to capture it’s vibrancy, diversity, and heart and put it on the big screen for the world to see.”

Nikki and Rachel left their corporate jobs and focused all their energy into making SBD. Rachel’s experience in the insurance world helped her transition into producing. She says, “It’s been hard work getting SBD to where it’s at today, especially while raising a young family. We believe in our film so much that we’re doing everything possible to get it seen. We want our audience to forget that they’re watching two women on screen and hope they feel the truth and love in our film that is the essence of Nikki and I.”

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