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Trailer Unveiled For New Heartfelt Drama Cousins Starring Ana Scotney, Rachel House, Tanea Heke And More



The trailer for local drama Cousins has been released today ahead of the film’s nationwide general release on March 4th. Cousins is a dramatic and powerful story of three cousins who spend a lifetime in search of each other, separated by circumstances yet connected by blood.

Based on Patricia Grace’s classic New Zealand novel, Cousinsscreenplay was adapted by Briar Grace-Smith (Waru, The Strength of Water). The film is co-directed by Grace-Smith and Ainsley Gardiner (The Breaker Upperers, Boy). 

Set over six decades, the film’s stellar core cast includes Tanea Heke (Waru), Ana Scotney (The Breaker Upperers), Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne (Hunt for the Wilderpeple) and Rachel House (JOJO RABBIT). Support cast includes Miriama Smith (Filthy Rich), Cohen Holloway (Reunion) and Chelsie Preston Crayford (Savage).

In development for 16 years, Cousins was originally the vision of filmmaker Merata Mita (Mauri), the first Māori woman to write and direct a feature film. Shortly before Cousins went into production in 2019, co-directors Gardiner and Grace-Smith were joint recipients of the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship.

Writer and co-director Briar Grace-Smith hopes that people come away from watching Cousins with a greater understanding of Aotearoa’s history: Cousins is a story about strength and resilience, touching on epic events in the history of Aotearoa such as the deployment of the 28th Maori Battalion to Europe, the 1975 Land March to Parliament and the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi of 2004. However, at its heart it is an intimate story, about the theft of a child and her family's lifelong quest to bring her back home to her people.”

Director Ainsley Gardiner continued: “It has been a privilege to be part of a film that has such a significant whakapapa. From our real stories and experiences, to Patricia's book, to the attempts by our mentors to get it made, Cousins has been a long time in the making. To be able to make it with whānau, hapu and iwi alongside our fantastic crew made it all the more special.”

Author of the novel Cousins, Patricia Grace thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the production process: “What I enjoyed most of all was having the opportunity to be on-set during production where there was a joyful whānau atmosphere, and where the only raised voice was when it was time to: “CUT”.”

Cousins is produced by Georgina Conder (She Shears, The Breaker Upperers), Libby Hakaraia (The Gravedigger of Kapu) and Ainsley Gardiner under Miss Conception Films and Whenua Films. With investment from The New Zealand Film Commission, Cousins is distributed in New Zealand by Vendetta Films. Penguin Random House are set to re-release Patricia Grace’s Cousins novel in March, to time with the film’s release in nationwide cinemas.

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