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Award-winning director Lee Tamahori’s new film The Convert will hit our screens after its world debut in Canada.
The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Tamahori is known for directing the 1994 film Once Were Warriors, the 2001 Morgan Freeman-starrer Along Came a Spider and the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.
The Convert is a historical drama set in pre-colonial Aotearoa and tells the story of a generational bloodbath between Maori tribes.
The cast includes Australian actor Guy Pearce, known for his role in Prometheus, and Whina actor Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne.
Pearce’s character, Thomas Munro, arrives on the shores of a colonial town as a young preacher.
Caught between strained family dynamics and communities, he learns how to navigate this new land.
Pearce says the film’s script immediately caught his eye, and with Tamahori directing, he knew he had to be a part of the project.
“I thought the script was immediately moving and realistic and quite deep. And knowing that Lee was going to do that, I just knew there was a tenderness and an intelligence to it that maybe others wouldn’t bring,” Pearce said.
Ngatai-Melbourne says it was the coming together of new British settlers and Maori that drew her to the film.
“What was attractive to me was that this was not a story of Maori versus Pakeha, but a story of how Maori educated Pakeha and how Pakeha educated Maori.”
Tamahori describes the film as an opportunity for us to see Maori as they were before European influence.
“Agriculture, clothing, weapons, transportation and most importantly their relationship to the land, waterways and sea. This is a film where the European community exists in the Maori world in Maori terms.’
The rest of the cast includes Antonio Te Maioha (Waru, The Dead Lands) and Lawrence Makoare (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, The Dead Lands).
The film will hit theaters in 2024.
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