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Kiwi Writer-Director Adds Film Adaptation Of Another Of His Published Novels To His Ambitious Slate

Papamoa-based indie publisher Sterling Gate Books announced this week that Tauranga-born writer-director James Morcan has added his action-adventure novel High Country Contract to his ambitious directing slate of films.

James Morcan-writes and directs. (Photo/Supplied)

Morcan is currently celebrating the successful red-carpet cinema screenings of his Australian-produced, mystery-drama movie Anno 2020, which represents his directorial debut. As well as directing that award-winning film he adapted it from his solo-authored novel of the same name.

A Sterling Gate Books spokesperson said Morcan usually writes novels in collaboration with his father.

“Lance and James Morcan, the father-and-son writing team, now have 12 published, co-authored novels to their name, including High Country Contract, with more in the pipeline.

“Several of their novels have been regular visitors to Amazon’s bestseller lists. They include the historical adventures White Spirit and Into the Americas, and the international thriller The Ninth Orphan.”

Speaking from Sydney, the younger Morcan said he was excited by the prospect of directing High Country Contract.

“It’s the seventh of our co-authored novels now in development but is the first that is set in New Zealand.”

Morcan said High Country Contract was a thrilling, fast-paced read set in New Zealand’s South Island high country.

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“It’s about a young Kiwi drifter who thinks he has landed the contract of his life when he’s hired to cull deer on a high country property. He quickly changes his mind when he discovers he’s the hunted, not the hunter.

“Caught up in the middle of it all is his new love, a beautiful Maori girl, who will likely be the killer’s next target if her man doesn’t overcome the most daunting of odds.”

Morcan said he’s not necessarily set on filming in the South Island.

“High Country Contract could just as easily be set in the Bay of Plenty’s scenic high country. That possibility appeals to me as we have well established contacts with Film Bay of Plenty and are very impressed by their achievements to date. Plus it's home turf for me.”

The writer-director said it would likely be later this year before his screenplay adaptation of the book was locked off and before actors could be approached. Meanwhile, he said, his immediate focus was helping his fellow producers on Anno 2020 secure streaming deals with major international streaming platforms for that film.

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