About us

Fearless Productions is an independent production company established in 2015 by Carmen Leonard and Deb Cope. Based in Auckland, New Zealand, they specialize in creating high-quality scripted and factual content. They are passionate programme makers whose focus is on producing powerful and distinctive stories for NZ and international audiences while working with both experienced and emerging talent.

Carmen Leonard and Deb Cope

Deb Cope



Deb began her television career in London at BBC Drama working on acclaimed drama series The Lakes. After returning to New Zealand she worked on a range of drama series, factual programmes, outside broadcasts and documentaries for TVNZ and independent production companies.

In recent years, Deb has specialized in drama and has worked on a number of award-winning programmes as a Line Producer, Co-Producer and Producer.

Her credits include the award winning docu-drama Erebus - Operation Overdue, tele-feature The Kick, award-winning six-part drama series Hillary, the multi award-winning tele-feature The Exponents: Why Does Love?, tele-feature Kiwi, the award-winning digital documentaries NZ Wars - The Stories of Ruapekapeka and NZ Wars – The Stories of Waitara, two-part mini-series Jonah about rugby legend Jonah Lomu and the hugely popular six-part series, One Lane Bridge, which screened in April 2020.

In 2019, Deb produced Runaway Millionaires the first tele-feature from Fearless Productions.


Carmen J Leonard

Te Arawa/Rangitāne


Carmen is the daughter of one of the pioneers of Māori television in New Zealand, Ernie Leonard. She spent all of her childhood years with him on various television productions and was a huge supporter of his quest to start the Māori department at TVNZ.

Carmen is skilled across all genres of television. She has executive produced the multi award winning observational documentary series The Casketeers, the BBC format show Coast NZ and multiple other factual and reality series.

As a drama Producer, she co-produced six series of Outrageous Fortune, and has also produced the tele-feature What Really Happened: Votes for Women, the award winning docu-drama Erebus - Operation Overdue, the tele-feature The Kick, the award winning six-part drama series Hillary, the multi award winning tele-feature The Exponents: Why Does Love?, the tele-feature Kiwi, and the highly successful multi award winning digital documentary project NZ Wars – The Stories of Ruapekapeka.

In 2019 Carmen produced Runaway Millionaires, the first tele-feature from Fearless Productions, the 2 part mini series Jonah and the six part series One Lane Bridge.

  NZ Onscreen      IMDB

Runaway Millionaires

In 2018 Fearless Productions were commissioned to produce the tele-feature Runaway Millionaires for TVNZ. Funded by New Zealand On Air and critically well received, the production was a career defining moment for Deb and Carmen and the awarding of four medals at the New York Festivals: Film & Television Awards in April 2020 was a highlight. Fearless Productions received a Gold medal for Best Camerawork, a Silver for TV Movie and a Bronze each for Best Direction and Best Screenplay.

Poster of Runaway Millionaires

Runaway Millionaires is the gripping true story of Kara Hurring and Leo Gao, an ordinary New Zealand couple who went on the run after an extraordinary sum of money was mistakenly deposited into their account. The telefeature was made with the support of NZ On Air and aired on TVNZ1 (New Zealand) and Channel Seven (Australia).

In 2009, as New Zealand struggled to find its way through the global recession, a young couple fast-tracked their way out of financial strife after receiving millions of dollars in a banking error. Petrol station owner Leo Gao and his girlfriend Kara Hurring, along with her six-year-old daughter, fled New Zealand for a new life in China with 10 million dollars of stolen money.

Their story captivated international media for two years and the hunt for New Zealand’s most wanted couple gripped the nation and the world as ordinary people pictured themselves in the same situation: what would they do if this happened to them?

Set against a backdrop of five-star hotels and the hidden back alleys of mainland China, Kara and Leo struggled to keep up their unconventional lifestyle. In New Zealand, a local police detective received a tip-off and began an investigation to track them down.

When the NZ Police drained the offshore bank accounts, Leo took the rest of the money and fled. Kara was left alone in a strange country to fend for herself. She had a six-year-old, no money and was on the run.

Runaway Millionaires is Kara’s incredible untold story.

Badge of New York Film Festival Gold Medal
Badge of New York Film Festival Silver Medal
Badge of New York Film Festival Bronze Medal
Badge of NZTV Best Drama Feature
Badge of NZTV Best Original Score
“Runaway Millionaires is a strong drama that brings fresh truth to a legendary tale, and leaves the viewer feeling more certain about how to answer an age old imponderable: what would you do?”

-Tara Ward – The Spinoff

“…It's a cracking story, and the way it's shot using long takes makes it feel immediate and authentic. Sayer and Zhao are both good. Chloe White, who plays Hurring's daughter Lina, is possibly a star in the making. Refreshingly for Sunday Theatre, Runaway Millionaires tells a story we don't already know well. That alone would make it worth watching.”

-Jack Van Beynen - Stuff

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Get in touch


PO Box 60067
Auckland 0642

Publicity and media enquiries

Tamar Münch


Distribution contact

Runaway Millionaires

Kirsty Divehall
ABC Commercial