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WHALE RIDER TO DEBUT IN TORONTO

MEDIA RELEASE THURSDAY 15 AUGUST, 2002

Whale Rider, the South Pacific Pictures-produced feature film, will make its world debut next month at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival.

Directed by Niki Caro (Memory and Desire), Whale Rider is based on the novel by acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera (The Matriarch, Tangi). It stars newcomer Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, and Cliff Curtis (Collateral Damage, Training Day, Blow, Jubilee, The Insider, Three Kings, and Once Were Warriors).

Whale Rider will be represented internationally by London-based sales agent, The Works, and represented in New Zealand and Australia by Buena Vista International. BVI will release Whale Rider in New Zealand next year.

Whale Rider is produced for South Pacific Pictures, ApolloMedia and Pandora Film by BAFTA winner Tim Sanders (The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring), The Frighteners); John Barnett (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?) of South Pacific Pictures; and Frank Hübner (The Musketeer and FearDotCom) of ApolloMedia. Executive Producers are Bill Gavin (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?) and Linda Goldstein Knowlton (The Shipping News). Author Witi Ihimaera is also Associate Producer.

The film tells the story of a young girl’s fight to prove her love, her leadership and her destiny, and is shot on location in Whangara, on the East Coast.

Whale Rider is the first film to receive funding from the Government’s new Film Production Fund.

Whale Rider has a budget of around NZ$10 million. Investors in the film are the New Zealand Film Production Fund and ApolloMedia in Germany, Filmstiftung NRW, The New Zealand Film Commission and NZ on Air.