XYZ Films Nabs Worldwide Sales Rights to New Zealand-Set Thriller 'The Dead Lands'

Toa Fraser

Director Toa Fraser's film follows a Maori chieftain’s adolescent son.

XYZ Films has acquired worldwide sales rights (excluding Australia and New Zealand) to the New Zealand-set action-thriller The Dead Lands. 

Toa Fraser, whose film No. 2 won Sundance's World Cinema Audience Award in 2006, will direct the film. The pic was written by Glenn Standring (Perfect Creature), and will be produced by Matthew Metcalfe (Dean Spanley) with co-producers Tainui Stephens and Norman Merry.

The film stars James Rolleston (Boy), Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors), George Henare (Once Were Warriors), Xavier Horan (Dean Spanley), Te Kohe Tuhaka (Sione's 2: Unfinished Business) and Lawrence Makoare (Die Another Day and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King).

The Dead Lands follows Hongi (Rolleston), a Maori chieftain’s adolescent son who is outnumbered by a force of villains as he fights to avenge his father’s murder. With this mission, Hongi must fight past the feared and taboo Dead Lands with the help of an unlikely ally, a ruthless fighter named “Warrior.”

“These guys are bringing Maori history and culture to life in an authentic, unsparing and dramatically spectacular way,” says XYZ exec Simon de Bruyn.  

Production of the film is slated for later this month, shooting in Auckland and the central North Island of New Zealand.

Dead Lands will be financed by General Film Corporation in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Film Production Trust, Te Mangai Paho, Images and Sound, Lip Sync and Day Tripper Films.