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The Aotearoa box-office hit Cousins will release in select theatres in the US on July 2, after being picked up by Array Releasing, the distribution arm of Ava DuVernay’s Array collective.

Edited by DEGNZ member Alex Boyd, the film debuted at number one at the box office and quickly became a local hit, earning $1.6 million. The president of Array, Tilane Jones, spoke to Deadline about the acquisition, stating how inspired they were to bring this powerful film to audiences across the globe, a “beautiful story exploring identity, culture and family that goes beyond borders and time”.

Cousins will also stream on Netflix (US) from July 22.

Member Rob Sarkies, director of the 2006 film Out of the Blue, which told the story of the 1990 Aramoana massacre, sat down with RNZ’s The Detail to discuss the delicate nature of filming a real-life tragedy.

The important discussion surrounding portraying a real-life tragedy was brought to the forefront, after news broke that Hollywood producers were planning a film around the March 15 terror attacks in Christchurch.

Films like these wrestle with similar questions, who should make it? Who has the right to make it? What story will actually be told and whether it’s too soon. Rob acknowledges that there is no easy answer. On his own experience making Out of the Blue, Rob said:

“I felt that, if it was to be made, it needed to be made responsibly. It needed to be made by someone who could have empathy, and basically do it right. And I felt, being from Dunedin and having some concerns about how that story might be told in the wrong hands, I trusted myself to tell it. I took on the responsibility.”

Members of the Aramoana community worked closely with the production.

As a storyteller, Rob feels that storytelling can help a nation collectively process a tragic event. There is healing power in storytelling.

Have a listen to or read the discussion here.

Essie Davis and Thomasin McKenzie in The Justice of Bunny King

On July 29, following its world premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, DEGNZ is excited to be hosting a screening of The Justice of Bunny King, in association with Rialto Cinemas. The film follows Bunny King (Essie Davis), a mother of two who’s a rough cut diamond with a sketchy past. While battling the system to reunite with her children, a confrontation leads her to take her niece Tonyah (Thomasin McKenzie) under her wing. With the world against her and Tonyah, Bunny’s battle has just begun.

Following the screening, audiences will be joined by director Gaysorn Thavat for a Q&A session, moderated by Lucy Wigmore.

We look forward to seeing you there!

When: Thursday 29 July, 6pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Film Industry Member tickets only $12

Book now

After debuting at the 2020 NZ International Film Festival Max Currie’s (DEGNZ) latest film, Rūrangi, is now available to rent on NEON and Sky Box Office. The movie follows Caz, an LGBT activist, as he returns home to the dairy community of Rūrangi, which he left before his transition. There he will find a new cause to fight for and an old friend.

Directed by Max Currie and written by queer activist Cole Meyers, Rūrangi is a groundbreaking New Zealand transgender drama, a film that Vogue has named in their top 10 list of New and Upcoming Queer Films to Add to Your Watchlist.

On April 12, Hon. Carmel Sepuloni MP hosted a screening of Cousins at Parliament’s Beehive Theaterette. The feature, edited by Alex Boyd (DEGNZ), has been a kiwi box office hit, and is currently sitting at 1.436 million in Aotearoa.

Co-directors Briar Grace-Smith and Ainsley Gardiner addressed over 100 people at the screening, including MPs, screen industry members, diplomats and media. Our Executive Director Tui Ruwhiu attended the screening with other guild EDs.

In Cousins, orphaned Mata believes she has no whānau and lives out her lonely childhood in fear and bewilderment. Back home on the land, educated Makareta flees an arranged marriage to study law and begin the search for her missing cousin.