Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople premieres at Sundance Film Festival video

PIKI FILMS/YouTube

Taika Waititi's film Hunt for the Wilderpeople debuted at Sundance Film Festival.

The hunt is over - well, at least it is for Taika Waititi's US-based fans.

The Kiwi filmmaker premiered his latest offering, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, on Saturday night (NZ time) at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah to a full house.

It stars Julian Dennison, who plays Ricky - a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle Hec, played by Sam Neill. And their dog Tupac.

Taika Waititi's on the set of his new film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
KANE SKENNAR

Taika Waititi's on the set of his new film Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

A national manhunt ensues and the two have to get over their differences to survive, or risk being held to account by a woman from Child, Youth and Family.

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"We knew we had something special with Sam and Julian and were happy the audience felt the same way," Waititi said after the film's premiere.

"Everyone stayed till the end which proved the NZ accent is still relevant in today's ever changing world. It was great to see the film with a full house as opposed to just some people in my own house."

Producer Carthew Neal said the screening was "incredible".

"The audience were in the palm of Taika, Sam, Julian and the rest of the casts hands. Laughing riotously and probably the odd tear too," he said.

Sunday News columnist Oscar Kightley, who also stars in the film, said the film was "hilarious".

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"It's one of the most fun shoots I've ever been involved with and was shot in locations ranging from bush north of Auckland, to the rugged part of West Auckland, to the volcanic plateau of Mt Ruapehu to Horopito where Roger Donaldson's classic Smash Palace was shot," he said.

Dennison, Neill and Kightley are joined by a cast that includes Rhys Darby, Oscar Kightley, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Stan Walker, Cohen Holloway, Mike Minogue and, apparently, a host of cameos.

But Kiwi fans still have a bit of a wait ahead of them - the film only opens in cinemas here on March 31.

A teaser trailer for Hunt for the Wilderpeople will be released on Stuff.co.nz on Sunday morning.

Julian Dennison stars alongside Sam Neill in the adventure comedy.
KANE SKENNAR

Julian Dennison stars alongside Sam Neill in the adventure comedy.

 - Sunday Star Times

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