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Whale Rider fully deserves all its success

27 January 2003 Media Statement

Whale Rider fully deserves all its success

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark today congratulated the makers of Whale Rider on their success at the Sundance Film Festival, saying that the film was an outstanding movie that fully deserves the critical acclaim it is receiving.

Whale Rider, which premiered in Auckland on Friday night, won an Audience Award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in the United States on the weekend, following on from its People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival last September.

“I saw the film on Friday night and believe it is simply outstanding,” Helen Clark said.

“The awards and accolades it is receiving are richly deserved. This growing recognition of its merits will ensure that the film is more widely distributed in major markets like the United State.

“Whale Rider was the first film to be co-financed from the Film Production Fund, which the government established in 2000. It is immensely gratifying to see it gaining such international success.

“Most of all it is a tribute to the work and talents of everybody involved – the producers and director, the cast, the production staff, the people of Whangara, and author Witi Ihimaera. Their efforts show that a New Zealand production can compete with the best in the world,” Helen Clark said.


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