James Rolleston's action epic to premiere in Toronto

The Dead Lands - the next film to feature Boy and The Dark Horse star James Rolleston in a leading role - is having its world premiere at the Toronto International Festival in September before its New Zealand release at the end of October.

Toronto is one of the world's biggest film festivals and has been an international launch pad for past NZ films, including Whale Rider.

It's a return for The Dead Lands director Toa Fraser whose Dean Spanley debuted at the festival in 2008.

The Dead Lands is premiering in the festival's "Special Presentation" section.

"It's one of the world's very top film festivals, and represents a major achievement for our Maori-language action film," Fraser told nzherald.co.nz today.

"It's a massive honour to be invited to Toronto as a Special Presentation, alongside some outstanding movies and directors."

"I can't wait for people to get a load of The Dead Lands".

Described as a "Maori action epic", the film stars Rolleston as well as veterans such as Lawrence Makoare, George Henare and Rena Owen.

Rolleston plays Hongi, the son of a slain rangatira who must avenge his father's murder.

But first he must pass through the forbidden "dead lands" to forge an uneasy alliance with a mysterious warrior who rules over the area.

The film, which was shot near Auckland and the central North Island, is due for its New Zealand release on October 30.

Read about the rest of the Toronto International Film Festival line-up here.

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