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NZ Films Set To Shine At Toronto

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
NZ Films Set To Shine At Toronto

Wellington, Sept 2 NZPA - Two New Zealand films, Matariki and Tracker, have both been selected to premiere at this month's influential Toronto International Film Festival - a potential stepping stone to North American success.

The New Zealand Film Commission said Matariki -- from first time feature director Michael Bennett -- would screen in the opening weekend of the festival's contemporary world cinema section, on September 11.

"I am excited and honoured our film has been selected," Bennett said in a statement. "Kiwi films are on a roll! It's an important festival and the best possible kick-off before we bring it home to New Zealand audiences in November."

Matariki shows the results of chaos caused by one event. A rugby league star drives past a deserted carpark late at night and witnesses a fight - he intervenes and as a result gets bashed. When a young car thief steals the man's apparently abandoned car, he unwittingly starts a chain of events that will change his life and the lives of others, forever.

Filmed in South Auckland, the film stars Alix Bushnell (Go Girls), Sara Wiseman (Outrageous Fortune), Iaheto Ah Hi (Sione's Wedding) and Michael Whalley (Eagle vs Shark).

Tracker, a UK/New Zealand co-production set in 1903, tells the story of a former Boer War guerrilla in New Zealand who is sent out to bring back a Maori accused of killing a British soldier.

Directed by Ian Sharp and starring Ray Winstone (The Departed) and Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors), the manhunt thriller was shot in Auckland and around Queenstown, and will also screen in the contemporary world cinema section, from September 12, cinema website In Film reported.

The showings cap a successful year for the local industry, which saw Taika Waititi's Boy become the highest grossing local film in history after passing The World's Fastest Indian after only eight weeks. It has made $9.3 million, compared with the $7m earned by each of Once were Warriors and The World's Fastest Indian.

Home By Christmas, written and directed by Gaylene Preston, has also taken more than $1 million on this side of the Tasman and is about to begin its Australian campaign.

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