A golden month of New Zealand movies is about to start with three Kiwi films telling very different stories.
This week will see the release of The Justice of Bunny King starring Aussie actress Essie Davis and our own Thomasin McKenzie.
Davis plays Bunny, who is battling the system to reunite with her children. A confrontation leads her to take her niece Tonyah, played by McKenzie, under her wing. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last month and is due to play at the Melbourne International Film Festival next month.
At Tribeca, it got a special Jury mention for "outstanding achievement" by lead actors Davis and McKenzie.
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The movie was written by Sophie Henderson, who wrote 2020's Baby Done, starring Rose Matefeo.
Next up is Coming Home in the Dark, which will be released on August 12. The thriller stars The Vampire Diaries' Daniel Gillies, 800 Words' Erik Thomson, Head High's Miriama McDowell and Ghost in the Shell's Matthias Luafutu.
The movie was tipped by Variety as one of their 11 hottest. The magazine described it as an "unexpected left turn from its genre course, wading into tricky moral territory and not giving simple satisfaction".
Last but not least is Juniper, which premieres on August 26. It stars British acting legend Charlotte Rampling, Kiwi export success Martin Csokas and star-on-the-rise George Ferrier. The movie was filmed in New Zealand last year and centres on Ferrier's character Sam, who is on a self-destructive path and as a punishment by his father, Csokas, has been sent home from boarding school to help care for his grumpy grandmother Ruth, played by Rampling.
Ruth, a major gin-swiller, is in a wheelchair with a broken leg. She and Sam do not get on at first, but a bond grows as Sam makes her mammoth gins and Ruth eventually shows him her lust for life.
This week Ferrier shared a trailer of the movie on his Instagram.
"Had the privilege of filming this project last year, and got the opportunity to work with some pretty incredible people. So proud of this film, and grateful that I got to be a part of telling it." He then thanked the writer and director Matthew J Saville for sharing his story. Juniper is the first feature by Saville, whose previous work includes short films Hitch Hike and the award-winning Dive.