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Precious at Cannes Film Festival

Precious at Cannes Film Festival

May 13, 2008

The New Zealand father-and-son writing team who penned ‘Precious’, the feature film screenplay based on the extraordinary life story of Olympian Precious McKenzie MBE, have formed their own production company to fast-track their project to the big screen.

Now operating as Morcan Motion Pictures Ltd., Tauranga-based Lance Morcan, 59, and his son James, 29, of Sydney, aim to start shooting 'Precious' on location in South Africa by early November. They are fielding enquiries from film financiers and distributors in the US, UK and South Africa, and their American producer representative will be promoting the project at this month's Cannes Film Festival.

It's hoped Precious McKenzie, who is currently in the UK on business, will make a special appearance at Cannes to talk to interested film financiers.

The Morcans, who as screenwriters have several other feature screenplays in development – all with offshore film production companies – decided to launch Morcan Motion Pictures to ensure 'Precious' made it to the big screen and to retain some artistic control.

“This project has languished in development hell for five years,” says Lance Morcan. “We made the mistake of optioning it to a UK production company which, in hindsight, had no chance of getting this film made.”

Morcan says when the film's option expired late last year, it was a no-brainer for he and James to produce it themselves.

“We've been staggered by the worldwide interest being shown in this film. Right now we are dealing with film industry figures on four continents. 'Precious' is by far the highest concept film script we've been associated with.”

He attributes this to Precious McKenzie's incredible life story and the fact that people love stories about an underdog.

“Precious' story, which is set in South Africa's tumultuous apartheid era, ranks right up there beside history's greatest examples of the human spirit triumphing over immense hardship. It's the ultimate underdog story and a testimony to one man's indomitable spirit. No matter how bad things get, be it extreme poverty, violence, racial hatred, Precious remains unbreakable.

“Our target audience for 'Precious' is a mainstream worldwide audience - young and old, males and females. We envisage it getting a PG13 rating and therefore it could also be something of a family movie.”

The Morcans hope to announce the attachment of an A-list Hollywood director to helm the film soon and South African actor Desmond Dube (HOTEL RWANDA) and African-American Guy Torry (AMERICAN HISTORY X) have both expressed interest in playing the lead role. Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith (ALI, COLLATERAL) and Anthony Hopkins will also be approached regarding supporting roles.

Two of South Africa's most experienced producers have agreed to handle production and line production at the South African end.


See further info on PRECIOUS below and go to:

1974, London: Precious McKenzie (4'10" 120 pounds) lifts Muhammad Ali (6'3" 215 Pounds).

"I am fully committed to helping get this movie financed. I'll also be happy to work with the film's director and lead actor during filming and will go the extra mile to help promote it upon release. I've known the Morcans for over 20 years and have been working with them in recent years helping them to develop a screenplay I believe does justice to my life story. I hope the resulting movie inspires others to achieve against the odds." - Precious McKenzie, MBE

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