The Dark Horse heads to prestigious festival

MICHELLE DUFF
Last updated 09:09 13/08/2014
ALEX LIU/stuff.co.nz

Stuff sat down with Cliff Curtis and James Rolleston, stars of the new Kiwi film The Dark Horse, which is released nationwide on July 31.

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The Dark Horse has been selected for the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival - the same event that propelled Whale Rider to fame in 2002.

The New Zealand movie about chess champion Genesis Potini and his work with youth, will join vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows, and Maori-language film The Dead Lands in being shown at the annual festival, considered a key audience for gaining a market overseas.

The Dark Horse, based on the true story of the troubled Potini, premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival and took more than $750,000 at the box office in the first 10 days of its cinema release.

It stars Cliff Curtis as Genesis, and Boy's James Rolleston as Mana, Genesis's nephew.

Producer Tom Hern said, showing at the festival would be a huge leg-up for the film, with industry players from all over the world expected to attend. premiere.

"Toronto is a really big annual festival, and it presents a great opportunity for us to pick up a North American deal, so we're over the moon," he said.

"There's a real strong history of New Zealand films showing there as well."

It will be the second film Rolleston stars in at the festival, with The Dead Lands, about a Maori chieftain's son who sets out to avenge his father's murder, also selected.

Toronto will be the third international festival screening of What We Do In The Shadows, directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, after it premiered at Sundance and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Eight weeks into its New Zealand release, it has already earned $2.5 million.

New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Dave Gibson said the range of genres captured New Zealand's broad film-making talent.

"This selection of strong features shows how New Zealand film can truly compete on the world stage." he said.

The Dark Horse and The Dead Lands will screen in the festival's opening weekend and What We Do In The Shadows will screen in the closing weekend. 

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