Māori action epic The Dead Lands will have its world premiere with a Special Presentation at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The prestigious festival annually launches several key international and North American films and is one of the world’s leading public film festivals, screening around 300 films from more than 60 countries every September.
The Dead Lands is the fourth feature by acclaimed New Zealand director Toa Fraser (Dean Spanley, No. 2, Giselle) and is based on a script by Glenn Standring (Perfect Creature, The Irrefutable Truth About Demons). It was produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley, Beyond The Edge, Giselle) for General Film Corporation, in association with Day Tripper Films. Tainui Stephens and Norman Merry took on co-producer duties and Glenn Standring also receives a producer credit on the film.
The film stars James Rolleston (Boy, The Dark Horse), Lawrence Makoare (Die Another Day, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), Te Kohe Tuhaka (Sione's 2: Unfinished Business), George Henare (Once Were Warriors), Xavier Horan (Dean Spanley) and Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors).
After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi (Rolleston) – a Māori chieftain's teenage son – must avenge his father's murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by the band of villains, Hongi's only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious 'Warrior' a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years. The Dead Lands was filmed in Auckland and the central North Island.
Matthew Metcalfe, the film’s producer, is delighted The Dead Lands has been honoured with a Special Presentation at the festival: “Everyone involved with the film is humbled by the film’s selection and we look forward to sharing this exciting and uniquely New Zealand action adventure film with not only the Toronto audience, but New Zealand and the whole world as well.”
Andrew Mackie, Managing Director of Transmission Films, said the film would be released in New Zealand on the 30th of October. "We're proud and excited to be releasing The Dead Lands in its home territory. We were already huge fans of Toa Fraser having released Dean Spanley. The Dead Lands is an absolute crowd-pleaser. TIFF audiences are in for a treat."
An official NZ/UK co-production, The Dead Lands was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Film Production Fund Trust, Te Mangai Paho, Images and Sound, the UK’s Day Tripper Films (backed by Ingenious Media) and Lip Sync Productions. International sales are handled by XYZ Films.
The Dead Lands will be released in New Zealand and Australia by Transmission Films, with the Australia release date still to be confirmed. The Toronto International Film Festival will be held from the 4th to the 14th of September 2014.
About the Toronto International Film Festival:
The Toronto International Film Festival takes place annually in September and is one of the world’s leading public film festivals, screening around 300 films from more than 60 countries. It is considered a key festival for launching North American and European independent productions. New Zealand films which have previously screened at Toronto include The Last Dogs of Winter, The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls, The Vintner's Luck, The World's Fastest Indian, Matariki, Beyond The Edge, White Lies and Giselle.
About General Film Corporation:
General Film Corporation is an Auckland-based production company responsible for such films as Dean Spanley, Love Birds, Giselle and Beyond The Edge. It is headed by the current SPADA independent producer of the year, Matthew Metcalfe.
About XYZ Films:
XYZ FILMS is an LA-based film production and sales company founded in 2008 by Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer and Aram Tertzakian, with partner Todd Brown joining the company in 2009.
About Transmission Films:
Transmission Films is an independent film distributor bringing local and international films to Australian and New Zealand audiences. Joint Managing Directors Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie launched Transmission in 2008. Since then Transmission has released such films as The King’s Speech, Amour, The Railway Man, Shame, An Education, Calvary, Quartet and New Zealand smash Boy.
About the New Zealand Film Commission:
The New Zealand Film Commission invests in the development and production of New Zealand films and supports a wide range of professional development programmes aimed at building skills within the wider screen industry and helping talented filmmakers connect offshore. It administers the Government's incentive schemes and promotes and markets New Zealand films and the screen sector here and overseas.