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Dark Horse to stand in NZIFF spotlight

For the second time in four editions, this year’s NZIFF will open with the world premiere of a local title. James Napier Robertson’s The Dark Horse, with Cliff Curtis in the lead role, will do the honours.

The Dark Horse is based on the life of the late chess champion Genesis Potini, as was Jim Marbrook’s 2005 documentary of the same name, which won Best Feature at the first DOCNZ Festival.

The Dark Horse will take a more speedy route to other screens than most festival-screened titles have in recent years. Two weeks after opening the festival on 17 July, it will open nationwide.
Joining Curtis onscreen will be James Rolleston (Boy), Miriama McDowell (Waitangi: What Really Happened, This Is Not My Life, Stolen, Dean Spanley) and Kirk Torrance (Siege, The Almighty Johnsons, Outrageous Fortune, Stickmen).

The Dark Horse trailer

The Dark Horse was written and directed by James Napier Robertson and produced by Tom Hern. The team worked together previously on I’m Not Harry Jensen. Under the title Genesis, it received support from the NZFC, NZ On Air and SPIF.

Jim Marbrook co-produces The Dark Horse. Marbrook’s latest doco, the New Caledonia-set Cap Bocage, was also among the NZIFF titles announced on Thursday.

The Dark Horse

James Rolleston and Cliff Curtis in The Dark Horse

The NZIFF will commence its full programme reveals in Auckland on 23 June. The festival will screen in Auckland (17 July – 3 August); in Wellington (25 July – 10 August); Christchurch and Nelson (6 – 24 August); Dunedin (31 July – 17 August). It will also visit Timaru, Gore, Hawke’s Bay, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Masterton, and New Plymouth.

All the NZIFF info is here.

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