Issue date: 
Tuesday, 15 August 2023

Kismet, in association with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), Firefly Films, Caravan Carpark Films and Kingston Productions are proud to release the trailer for the highly anticipated local feature film Uproar - which will have its nationwide cinema release on October 5, 2023, hot on the heels of its selection and screening at the revered Toronto International Film Festival this September.

Alongside Julian Dennison (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Godzilla vs Kong, Deadpool 2, Paper Planes), Uproar is brought to life by a superstar cast including local legends Rhys Darby (Jumanji, Our Flag Means Death, Trolls, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows, Flight of the Conchords, The Boat that Rocked and many more), emerging Aotearoa talent Erana James (The Wilds, Changeover), James Rolleston (Boy, The Dark Horse, The Breaker Upperers, Pork Pie), Academy Award Nominee Minnie Driver and newcomer Jada Fa'atui.

Photo credit: Geoff Short. Pictured: Rhys Darby as Brother Madigan, Julian Dennison as Josh Waaka and Minnie Driver and Shirley Waaka. 

From award-winning directors Paul Middleditch (Terra Nova, A Cold Summer) and Hamish Bennett (Bellbird), Uproar is a moving and heartwarming story about connection and finding your place in the world. It is the story of 17-year-old Josh Waaka (Dennison). Set in Dunedin in 1981, a rugby-obsessed country is divided over the arrival of the South African Springboks team, sparking nationwide protests. Under pressure from home and school to conform, Josh, who has never felt like he fits in anywhere, is inspired by the protests and by a newfound passion for performing to find his own voice. A sequence of events sees Josh embrace his community and his whakapapa Māori, taking him and his whānau on a journey towards healing.

Photo credit: Robert Trathen. Pictured: James Rolleston as Jamie Waaka.

Rolleston plays Josh’s big brother Jamie. This was a full circle moment for Rolleston, “It's funny how things kind of come back around. When I saw Julian on Hunt for the Wilderpeople, I always thought it would be awesome to act with this young man. Both working our first jobs with Taika Waititi and now to be acting as siblings together on this film, is pretty cool, I think! Working with him for the first time and seeing another young Māori man doing his thing is awesome.”

Driver plays an integral role as Josh and Jamie’s mother and Darby plays Brother Madigan, an English and Drama teacher who has a profound impact on Josh's life when he encourages his interest in drama. Darby shared “This character Madigan resonates for me because I had a drama teacher that did the same thing for me. That was one of the reasons I took this part on because it felt special to me.”

“Ultimately, Uproar recognises that everyone comes with their own āhua, or shape, and celebrates this fact.” say co-directors Middleditch and Bennett. “Josh has never felt like he fits, and although his set of circumstances are unique to him, that feeling of not fitting in is one that many of us have felt in our lives. Uproar places value on these differences, prioritises understanding people rather than judging them, and advocates strongly for the voices of the younger generation as agents of change and evolution. Uproar is a story of hope.”

“We are proud to be bringing Uproar to screens across Aotearoa New Zealand this October. This film is full of heart, for all communities and ages, and tells an important story that everyone will find a connection to. We certainly made Uproar for the big screen, and we can't wait for you all to come together and check it out.”

Kismet will distribute Uproar theatrically in New Zealand and Australia, with Blue Fox handling international sales. Kismet Managing Director, Jason Hernandez states, “It’s a privilege for Kismet to bring Uproar to New Zealand audiences. It’s a special film, charming and moving. Julian Dennison is an absolute star. We know Uproar will appeal to, and resonate with, a broad audience.”

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Last updated: 
Tuesday, 15 August 2023