Bank of Dave: The film that wants to inspire communities in Aotearoa to rise up against corporate bigwigs

New Zealanders have the ability to rise up against the banking system and take back control - and it just takes one person to get the ball rolling.

That's according to Englishman Dave Fishwick, whose story is the subject of new film Bank of Dave.

Fishwick is a self-made millionaire whose down-to-earth demeanour and practical approach to problems has seen him garner much success in his hometown of Burnley, north England. He started a community bank, the Bank on Dave, meaning his hometown could stop going to the high street banks to ask for loans. It's his fight to get approved that forms the backbone of the movie, which is in cinemas now across Aotearoa.

As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, Fishwick believes now is the time for us all to work together and stand up.

"There's lots and lots of people having issues and problems at the minute with credit, with getting loans, struggling with the cost of living crisis and it's everywhere. If we could find one or two entrepreneurs in New Zealand [who are] doing really well in life but want to give something back to their community, if they could stand next to something and guarantee the money, that would be the start," he told Newshub.

"That's the only way of taking back charge. The Bank of Dave itself, it helps people get the best rate of interest to work hard with savings. That's one big part. The second thing is we lend money to people and businesses who can't borrow from the high street banks. Then the third part is we pay the overheads of the difference to local charities, which is super important.

"If you can really take part in something, you get a real warm feeling about it. We've loaned over $50 million out, which is a substantial amount of money in a community - that could be replicated all across New Zealand," he said, beaming with pride.

Fishwick's community spirit is what prompted Hollywood to come knocking, with an idea for a film where he would be portrayed by James Bond actor Rory Kinnear.

Rory Kinnear in movie Bank of Dave.
Rory Kinnear in movie Bank of Dave. Photo credit: Supplied

But instead of a big budget London-based production, Fishwick managed to get most of it shot around his hometown for authenticity - and even had major scenes shot in his own house.

"My kitchen's in it, they shot in different rooms, in my garden - it's just a very strange feeling, a very surreal feeling, seeing your home turned into a Hollywood movie set," he chuckled.

"Right from the beginning, I said, I need authenticity in as many places as possible!"

It's a move that's paid off - the feelgood film's been released on Netflix in the UK, quickly racking up success and appearing regularly in the top 10 daily chart. However, New Zealand and Australia are one of few territories in the world to release the film in main cinemas.

Game of Thrones' star Joel Fry is key to the Bank of Dave cast.
Game of Thrones' star Joel Fry is key to the Bank of Dave cast. Photo credit: Supplied

Fishwick is hopeful many will be galvanised enough by what they see to start a community movement.

"It really is a lovely, lovely film to watch on the big screen. It's only coming to Australia and New Zealand on the big screen, and I think, to me, that's better because people can go out at night. They've got a tough day of working and they're going to go to a movie, maybe a little popcorn and have a can of pop and watch something and take their mind off things for a while. Just maybe they'll come out of that movie a little bit inspired tomorrow morning.

"If I can get to the point where I'm building a bank and Hollywood turned up and made a movie, then anybody can achieve anything!" he laughed.

When asked if he is being naive about the possibility of prompting radical change across the sector, Fishwick admitted his journey took 12 years to come to successful fruition, but said he truly believes the film's release will help others. If a growing chorus of dissent against the banking sector or high energy prices can be channelled into something positive, that time will all have been worth it, he added.

"What I'd love to see is maybe an energy community operation started where an entrepreneur can buy a block of energy or a group of people in the community can get together and pool their money and buy a block of energy off of the energy companies. 

"That's a massive discounted price and then they can split that discount in between all the people in that village or in that community. I'd love to see that get started somewhere like New Zealand, because I think that would be the perfect place for it.

"It's time we take things back from these energy giants who are making billions in bonuses and so many people can't afford to turn the electric and gas off. So if we could get people to think in that community spirit, whether that's finance, whether it's buying energy, us buying fuel, buying as a group, as a family, as a community, it's very powerful stuff. And New Zealand is just the place for that."

Bank of Dave is in cinemas now.