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Telling our stories – unique NZ dramas headed for screens

A crime that divided the nation, the Tuhoe police raids, and a disabled woman’s struggle to be seen without a label are the subjects of three new dramas heading to local screens, after winning NZ On Air funding.

NZ On Air’s September funding round has supported one new drama series, two new features, and a fresh batch of short films by emerging filmmakers.

The 1994 murder of five members of the Bain family in their suburban Dunedin home will be dramatized over five episodes for a new prime time series on TVNZ 1.

Black Hands, based on a podcast of the same name, will depict the month leading up to the murders through the eyes of the victims and the accused. Directed by David Stubbs (Belief: The Possession of Janet Moses) working with award-winning producer Robin Scholes, the series will leave it up to viewers to make up their own minds as to who was more likely to have been responsible for the murders.

The 2007 Tuhoe Police raids will be the basis for a fictional action-thriller feature film Muru for Three. Muru follows the plight of a local cop trapped between opposing sides, and explores themes of race, identity and individual self-worth.

A second feature film casts a young woman with Down Syndrome as the lead character. Poppy, which will screen on TVNZ 1 introduces audiences to a young woman who assumes she is entitled to live her life like everyone else.

Meanwhile 10 emerging young filmmakers will again be invited to create short films with a sustainability theme for Someday Stories, which continues to provide career-making opportunities in screen content for a new generation.

“It is a huge privilege to be trusted with these stories that reflect back to New Zealand unique parts of our culture, history, and communities. The three new drama projects in this round are as different as you can get from each other, yet each story is important in its own way. We look forward to seeing what the project creators bring to audiences hungry for compelling drama,” said NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson.

Funding details
Black Hands, 5 x 44 mins, Warner Bros. NZ for TVNZ 1, up to $5,187,160
Someday Stories 2020, 6 x 10 mins, Connected Media Trust for Stuff, up to $200,000
Muru, 1 x 90 mins, Jawbone Pictures for Three, up to $200,000
Poppy, 1 x 90 mins, StellaFilm for TVNZ 1, up to $165,000 (with the NZ Film Commission)

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