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Kiwi Film Wows Audiences At Sundance Festival

Kiwi Film Wows Audiences At Sundance Festival

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January 29, 2006, Auckland, New Zealand Toa Fraser's Debut Feature Film No.2 Has Won The World Cinema Audience Award - Dramatic at the 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

PARK CITY, UTAH: The winners of the 2006 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prizes, World Cinema Jury Prizes and Audience Awards were announced tonight at the closing awards ceremony.

The World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic was presented to No. 2 (New Zealand), written and directed by Toa Fraser.

The World Cinema Audience Awards are given to both an international documentary and dramatic film in the World Cinema Competition as voted by Film Festival audiences.

"On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Sundance Institute (founded by actor Robert Redford), we celebrate the winning artists and their films, and have been fortunate to share their stories, diverse voices, and original aesthetics with our Sundance audiences," said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director of the Sundance Film Festival.

"This year we've seen a number of films that deal sensitively with the timely and complex issues of cultural assimilation and community. Clearly, these compelling stories along with the quality of filmmaking have resonated with audiences and jury members alike."

Mia Blake

New Zealanders Writer/Director Toa Fraser, Mia Blake and the film's three producers, Tim White, Philippa Campbell , Lydia Livingstone and New York based actress Ruby Dee attended Sundance . The New Zealanders returned home on Friday, January 27, prior to the award ceremony which took place at Park City Utah where the winners were announced at 5pm, Sunday January 29 New Zealand time.

Toa Fraser was advised at lunch today in Auckland that his film had won the award. Festival organisers asked him to prepare a speech which will be delivered at tonight's closing ceremony.

Toa Fraser's speech:

"One of the things No. 2 is about is the language of hospitality. We're back in New Zealand now - Ms. Dee is back in New York - but I want to thank the Sundance Film Festival and all the many people who came to see our movie for showing us incredible generosity and hospitality - and for giving us the ultimate honour of welcome: this prize. As Ruby Dee said from New York earlier today, ' We are each other. We have to know who we are so we can have a greater stake in who we have become. This prize is more meaningful than you can imagine.'"So, from a humble backyard in Mt. Roskill in the Pacific, on behalf of the hundreds of people that worked on and invested in the movie, we want to thank the audiences of the Sundance Film Festival, for coming and celebrating life with us. God bless Mt. Raskil ." Toa Fraser, January 29, 2006

No. 2 will open in New Zealand cinemas on 16 February 2006 by Distributors - Buena Vista International (NZ) the same company responsible for the highly successful cinema release of Niki Caro's "Whale Rider" in 2003. For further on the release please visit: www.incinemas.co.nz

On Saturday the 4th of February , 2006 , there will be an advance screening when No.2 will be the No.1 feature film at the opening night of the Open-Air Cinema at the Viaduct in Auckland, a unique summer event in keeping with one of the central themes of No.2 - the celebration of life. Tickets are on sale now, for further information please visit: ( www.open-air.co.nz). Toa Fraser and members of the cast will be there to welcome the general public to this very special opening night.

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.

Ruby Dee (Nanna Maria) – (Danish Maria) Tuva Novotny.in background

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.


Soul (Taungaroa Emile) and Erasmus (Rene Naufahu)


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.

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.

******

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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