Kismet in association with Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Mister Smith Entertainment are proud to release the trailer for THE CONVERT, which will be releasing in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2024. Following Once Were Warriors and Māhana, THE CONVERT is the third collaboration between Lee Tamahori and producer Robin Scholes.
THE CONVERT is an epic historical drama depicting pre-colonial Aotearoa New Zealand and Māori culture, starring Guy Pearce (Memento, Animal Kingdom, L.A Confidential, Prometheus, The King’s Speech, Mildred Pierce) as a lay preacher who arrives at a British settlement in 1830s Aotearoa New Zealand, his violent past is then drawn into question and his mission put to the test as he finds himself caught in the middle of a generational blood feud between Māori tribes. Pearce said of the film, “I thought the script was immediately poignant and realistic and quite profound. And knowing that Lee was going to be making this, I just knew that there was a tenderness and an intelligence to it that perhaps others wouldn't bring.”
Featuring alongside Guy Pearce, THE CONVERT has an incredible cast including Tioreore Ngatai-Melbourne (Whina, Cousins, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, We Are Still Here), local legends Antonio Te Maioha (Waru, The Dead Lands) and Lawrence Makoare (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, The Dead Lands, Crooked Earth, What Becomes of the Broken Hearted), together with Jacqueline McKenzie (Savage River, Pokerface, Ruby’s Choice, Bloom, Palm Beach, The Water Diviner) and Dean O’Gorman (Trumbo, The Hobbit trilogy, Pork Pie, The Almighty Johnsons).
Ngatai-Melbourne was a ‘Rising Star’ at the Toronto International Film Festival and describes her attraction to how the film presents the meeting between the Māori people and the new settlers to Aotearoa. “What was appealing for me was that this wasn't a Māori against Pākehā story, it is a story about how Māori educated Pākehā and how Pākehā educated Māori.”
Award-winning director Lee Tamahori says about THE CONVERT, “The film gives us an opportunity to see Māori as they were before the influence of Europeans changed their lives forever. Agriculture, clothing, weaponry, transport, and most important of all their relationship with the land, waterways, and sea. This is a film where the European community exists in the Māori world on Māori terms.”
Kismet will distribute THE CONVERT theatrically in New Zealand and Australia, with Mister Smith Entertainment handling international sales. Kismet Managing Director, Jason Hernandez states, “We are proud to bring THE CONVERT to Aotearoa audiences and beyond, as this is an incredibly unique film from exceptional filmmakers.”
THE CONVERT is an official New Zealand/Australia co-production made with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government’s Te Puna Kairangi Premium Productions for International Audiences Fund, MBK Productions, and with the support of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Rebate, the Australian Producer Offset program, and the New South Wales Post Digital and Visual Effects rebate, facilitated by Fulcrum Media Finance.
THE CONVERT is a presentation of MBK Productions in association with Mister Smith Entertainment and The New Zealand Film Commission. The film is a production of Jump Film & Television together with Brouhaha Entertainment.
THE CONVERT opens in Aotearoa New Zealand cinemas in 2024.