XYZ Films Picks Up Rights on Maori Action Epic THE DEAD LANDS

Related: THE DEAD LANDS, XYZ Films

XYZ Films Picks Up Rights on Maori Action Epic THE DEAD LANDS

XYZ Films has announced today that they have picked up worldwide sales rights, excluding Australia and New Zealand, to the New Zealand-set action-thriller THE DEAD LANDS, which will be directed by Toa Fraser (No. 2, Sundance 2006 World Cinema Audience Award winner, DEAN SPANLEY). The film was written by Glenn Standring (PERFECT CREATURE), and will be produced by Matthew Metcalfe (DEAN SPANLEY, BEYOND THE EDGE), with Tainui Stephens (RIVER QUEEN) and Norman Merry co-producing. Standring is also a producer. Starring in the film will be James Rolleston (BOY), Lawrence Makoare (DIE ANOTHER DAY, LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING), Te Kohe Tuhaka (SIONE'S 2: UNFINISHED BUSINESS), Xavier Horan (No. 2, DEAN SPANLEY), George Henare (ONCE WERE WARRIORS) and Rena Owen (ONCE WERE WARRIORS).

Onboard to finance the production will be General Film Corporation in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Film Production Fund Trust, Te Mangai Paho, Images and Sound, Lip Sync and Day Tripper Films (backed by Ingenious Media). Leon Narbey (WHALE RIDER, DEAN SPANLEY) will join the production as director of photography with Grant Major (LORD OF THE RINGS, KING KONG) working as production designer. The film will go before the cameras later this month on location in Auckland and the central North Island of New Zealand.

In the film, Hongi (Rolleston) -- a Maori chieftain's teenage son -- must avenge his father's murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones after his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery. 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.

Steve McQuillan, stunt coordinator on LORD OF THE RINGS, SPARTACUS and WARRIORS WAY, will also be in charge of the action sequences for the production. XYZ Films has been working closely with Fraser and Metcalfe to develop the screenplay, and to design action sequences featuring a lot of hand to hand Maori combat, very similar to the way THE RAID brought Silat to the screen for The First Time last year.

"This is precisely the kind of elevated, culturally-relevant action film we look to make," says XYZ partner Nick Spicer.

"It's an important film," says XYZ executive Simon de Bruyn, overseeing the project on behalf of XYZ from Melbourne, Australia. "These guys are bringing Maori history and culture to life in an authentic, unsparing, and dramatically spectacular way."


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.


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.


Day Tripper Films is a UK Film Production Company backed by Ingenious Media.

Ingenious is a market-leading financial services group providing investment and advisory expertise and is the UK's largest independent investor in the country's creative industries. Films and television productions supported by Ingenious in the past include: AVATAR, LIFE OF PI, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, DOC MARTIN and FOYLE'S WAR. Most recently, Ingenious backed THE FALL (BBC 2's most watched drama) and THE HEAT (starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy).


LipSync Productions has provided investment and equity services for over 40 independent feature films and TV productions, offering financial, creative and technical support to filmmakers and producers. In its capacity as Executive Producer/Co-producer on numerous productions, LipSync's experienced staff are able to advise on all aspects of production, from concept to completion, ensuring the client can be completely confident that every possible penny makes it into the image onscreen. LipSync's co-productions include STARRED UP, THE LOOK OF LOVE, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, DESERT DANCER, BYZANTIUM, BROKEN, LAY TYHE FAVOURITE, SHAME, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.


The New Zealand Film Commission funds the making of New Zealand films and invests in a wide range of capability programs aimed at building skills within the wider screen industry and helping talented filmmakers connect offshore. It administers the Government's grant schemes and promotes and markets New Zealand films and the screen sector in New Zealand and overseas. Recent productions include THE ORATOR, SHOPPING, BEYOND THE EDGE and MT ZION.

More On: The First Time.

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