River Queen is an original story by director Vincent Ward (Vigil, The Navigator, What Dreams May Come), who wrote the screenplay with Toa Fraser (Bare, No 2).
The film stars double Academy Award-nominated Samantha Morton (In America, Sweet and Lowdown); Kiefer Sutherland (Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy Award-winning star of 24); Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Trauma, Missing); Temuera Morrison (Once Were Warriors, Star Wars Episodes II and III): Anton Lesser (Imagining Argentina); 12-year old newcomer Rawiri Pene, and Stephen Rea (Academy Award and BAFTA nominated for The Crying Game).
Morton plays Sarah, a young Irish woman who finds herself with family on both sides of the lines during the turbulent wars between the British and Maori in 1860s New Zealand. Sarah’s search for her Maori son, Boy (Pene), takes her into the violent heart of the war, where she finds herself torn between loyal family friend Private Doyle (Sutherland), the “rebel” Maori warrior Wiremu (Curtis) and the attachments she still has to the European world.
River Queen is a collaboration between producers Don Reynolds of Silverscreen Films in New Zealand and Chris Auty of The Film Consortium in London. Executive producers are James D Stern, Neil Peplow, Geoff Dixon, Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin, alongside co-producers Tainui Stephens and Richard Fletcher. River Queen was developed by Ward’s company Wayward Films.