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Redford's Festival Picks NZ Film

29 November 2005

Robert Redford's Festival Picks New Zealand's No. 2

Toa Fraser's debut feature No.2 has been selected in competition for the USA's most famous film event, the top ranking Sundance Film Festival founded by Hollywood star, Robert Redford. The film is one of only 16 films from around the world selected for Sundance's international dramatic competition.

'Capacity, movie stars', and 'sold out' are the watchwords for Sundance, which is a mecca for the US independent film industry. Sundance was founded by Robert Redford in 1981, and selects films for their originality, creativity and diversity. The Festival has a history of 'discoveries' including Shine; The Blair Witch Project; The Motorcycle Diaries and Wolf Creek. The most recent New Zealand movie to be selected was Whale Rider in 2003 which won the Audience Prize.

No. 2 is written and directed by award-winning New Zealand playwright, Toa Fraser.

"From a backyard in Mt. Roskill to the Sundance Film Festival, it's crazy and very cool, a big honour. I'm very proud of the film and can't wait for audiences to get to see it" says Toa Fraser.

Infused with the heat and vibrancy of the South Pacific, No.2 is a big-hearted, exuberant story about what it takes to bring family together. Inspired by a dream of her childhood back in Fiji, Nanna Maria demands that her grandchildren put on a big feast at which she will name her successor.

The starring role of Nanna Maria is played by Emmy Award-winner Ruby Dee. Ms Dee has appeared in many feature films including Spike Lee's Jungle Fever and Do The Right Thing.
No. 2, with casting by Diana Rowan (The Piano; Whale Rider), features a fine ensemble of both well established and emerging New Zealand actors including Taungaroa Emile and Mia Blake. Joining them is one of Scandinavia's most successful young actresses, Tuva Novotny.

Toa Fraser, Ruby Dee and Mia Blake will attend Sundance as guests of the Festival. They will be joined by producers Tim White, Philippa Campbell and Lydia Livingstone along with Kathleen Drumm of NZ Film, who is handling international sales of the movie.

"Sundance is the premier film festival in America, the leading North American showcase for independent film and particularly famous for discovering talent" says NZ Film's Kathleen Drumm. "Like all A Grade events, selection is an extremely competitive process and we're thrilled that Toa's film has been chosen. We anticipate serious international distributor interest as a result. Many of these distributors will be at Sundance which we expect to be a very busy market for us."

No. 2's cinematographer is Leon Narbey (Whale Rider; Perfect Creature) and the film was edited by Chris Plummer (In My Father's Den).

No. 2 was produced by Tim White (Ned Kelly; Two Hands; Oscar & Lucinda), Lydia Livingstone and Philippa Campbell (Black Sheep; Rain) for Colonial Encounters & Southern Light Films. The film was financed by the New Zealand Film Commission, Working Title Films, Miramax Films, NZ On Air and TVNZ.

The 2006 Sundance Film Festival will take place in Park City, Utah from 19 - 29 January. There were over 3,000 submissions to the festival for its 2006 event.

No. 2 will be released in New Zealand on 16 February 2006 by Buena Vista International.

NO. 2 stars

Ruby Dee, Tuva Novotny, Mia Blake, Taungaroa Emile, Tanea Heke, Xavier Horan, Nathaniel Lees, Miriama McDowell, Rene Naufahu, Antony Starr, Pio Terei

ABOUT THE NZFC

The New Zealand Film Commission's main purpose is to invest in the development, production, marketing and sales of New Zealand films, both domestically and internationally.

It does this through:

. Direct financial support for script development and production of projects that meet funding criteria.

. Sales and marketing activity - particularly through the promotion of New Zealand films at major international markets and festivals.

. Professional development by facilitating and funding relevant opportunities for script writers, directors and producers.

. Support for NZ film industry infrastructure such as guilds, associations and film festivals.

Last year the NZFC invested $19.3 million into the NZ film industry.

The NZFC was established in 1978. It is based in Wellington and has a dedicated staff of 17.

ENDS

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