The Day That Changed My Life

Synopsis: A powerful, uncensored and insightful documentary built around raw, heartfelt, never-seen-before, interviews captured in the immediate aftermath of the February 22nd 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. Survivors share their stories of panic and heart-breaking loss, courage and miraculous survival.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Christopher Dudman
  3 wins.
45 min

I saw one of my colleagues, and he just said,

'The building's going down. We're going down, '

and that's when I thought,

'Shit. We actually are going down. '

It was so violent that it was actually going

up and down, and I was lifted off the ground.

And then the dust was everywhere, and I remember

it kind of choking me; trying to cough. And then,...

it stopped.

Could see the sky, so I knew

that our building was munted.

As we went for the stairs, we were actually kind of

jumping over bits of the building to try and get down,

and everyone was, you know,

'Go, go, go, go!'

Like, kind of go as fast as you can, cos they

didn't know if another aftershock was gonna hit.

Extremely lucky to-to have survived,

as the building's infrastructure is down.

Our whole building is gone. It's

just smoke and ruin at the moment.

And I was, like, 'Holy shit. I can't

believe I just got out of there alive. '

There's people trapped on the top of our Press

building. The walls have collapsed around them.

The videographer from work, Daniel Tobin, he

came round, and he was, like, 'Are you OK?'

And I was, like, 'No. ' And he was,

like, 'Can you do work?' 'Yup. '

Just say what you feel.

OK. What's the time?

1 o'clock. Here?

Yeah, OK. So if people can-

It's just after 1pm on, um,...

Tuesday the 22nd of February.

Um, we've just been hit by a devastating

earthquake in Christchurch again.

I'm one of the reporters from The Press building.

I was upstairs when it hit. Buildings fell down.

We're out in Christchurch Cathedral Square. As you

can see, people are just gathering round.

We were in the library,

up on the top floor.

The spire of the Christchurch

Cathedral has fallen down.

There's dead people.

There's people crushed.

OK. Sorry.


People just everywhere.

There's a lot of people in shock.

There were just hundreds of people

gathered around, just thinking, 'Oh my God.

'I can't believe this has happened.

I can't believe this has happened here. '

You can see them gathering here

today, hugging each other in support,

trying to get in touch with people they love to tell

them that they're safe or ask if others are safe,

but there's no communication in and out of

central city of Christchurch at the moment.

All phone networks were down.

There were no ambulances.

There were no police.

There were no officials.

Oh, that's gas. That's fuckin' gas.

Oh my gosh.

There's people killed in this.

You were just faced

with a broken city.

Are there people in there?

Oh f*ck.

It was madness.

Have a look around. Do something!

People are just roaming round, just distraught. No

one knows what to do or where to go at the moment.


It's hard to explain, really.

It's just terrifying.

Comms, CHO4. When there's an opportunity, we

could do with an ambulance and St John's staff.

We've got quite a few

injured people here.

OK. Who needs urgent

assistance in Central City?

We had lots of conflicting

information coming through.

The problem was communication

and information.


Got multiple

building collapses...

There's buildings

down everywhere.

Buildings have collapsed.

Try to stop all the bleeding.

I've got a critical here.

You start to build a mental picture, and

you think that this is quite catastrophic.

We've got, uh, major damage

throughout the entire city.

Oh shit. Hold on, hold on,

hold on, hold on!

At that point - right at that very point - my

day that I knew was gonna be changed forever.

You have, you know, the choice to either blend

into the background or take on a leadership role,

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