#1 NZ movie, “Boy” to screen in the USA

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BOY, Taika Waititis sleeper sensation that became one of New Zealands most acclaimed and honored films, as well as its biggest box office success to date, is set to hit US theatres in March 2012.

The film which will be distributed theatrically in the US by Paladin and Unison Films in association with Radius Films. In addition to conquering its homeland, the film has been a hit on the international festival circuit, having played to great acclaim at such high-profile events as Sundance and Berlin, where it won the Grand Prix for Best Feature Film (Generation), and at last years AFI Fest in Los Angeles, where it went on to win the Audience Award for Best International Film. BOY in select major markets early March 2012, including NYC, LA, San Francisco and Berkley.

Inspired by Waititis Oscar-nominated short, Two Cars, One Night, (which the filmmaker developed into a feature at the Sundance Writers Lab), BOY is set in 1984 in the remote Maori community of Waihau Bay, a location whose natural splendor only serves to underscore the hardscrabble life of its inhabitants. At the center of the story is eleven year-old Boy (played by newcomer James Rolleston), a high-spirited adolescent obsessed with American pop cultureespecially Michael Jackson and prone to particularly vivid fantasies about his long-absent father, (played by Waititi), whom he imagines as an adventurous world traveler. When his father returns, Boy discovers, instead, a lovable loser who has been serving a seven-year sentence for robbery, and inveterate schemer whose daydreams are no more grounded in reality than his sons. Confronting the enormous contrast between the father he longed for and the one he has, Boy crosses the threshold into adulthood, having proven himself both strong enough and smart enough to live a better life than his dads.

Drawn from experiences and characters from Waititis childhood, BOY was filmed on the very locations where he grew up. Incorporating dream sequences, fantasies, and animated renderings of childrens drawings come-to-life, the film also boasts three elaborate musical numbers, based on Michaels Jacksons indelible music videos of the era, giving the film a distinctive visual dimension that conveys the unique way in which Boy sees the world. The film is infused with the same fresh comic sensibility that garnered Waititi enormous acclaim with his debut feature, the widely praised Eagle Vs. Shark (which also had its US premiere at Sundance), as well as the cult-favorite television series, The Flight of the Conchords, several episodes of which he wrote, directed, and appeared in. For his work on BOY, Waititi was awarded three New Zealand Film and Television Awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor, with the film winning a total of seven, including Best Feature Film.

About the deal Urman says, I am thrilled to be bringing BOY to American audiences. The film is a perfect blend of the exotic and the universal, the timeless and the new, and there is no question that critics and audiences alike will recognize Taika as an exciting new voice in international cinema. Emanuel Michael of Unison Films, who produced BOY along with Ainsley Gardiner and noted New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Sunshine), adds After personally witnessing BOY win over audiences all around the world, I couldnt be more excited to bring this truly heartwarming and hilarious film back home. BOY is that rare type of film discovery, like Billy Elliott or Whale Rider, that really leaves audiences exhilarated. Michael who also produced Eagle Vs. Shark, will see his next production for Unison, 360, directed by Fernando Mierelles and starring Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, and Jude Law, have its world premiere at the forthcoming Toronto International Film festival in September. It will be followed closely by the upcoming A Late Quartet, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, and Catherine Keener, to be released domestically by the newly revamped RKO Pictures.

BOY rounds out a particularly exciting year for Paladin, who shepherded Tom Shadyacs I AM to a $1.6 million gross, making it one of the surprise indie hits of the season. The company has LOVE ETC. in current release, and opens Marcus Dean Fullers ONE FALL this month. Coming in the fall are the prize-winning documentaries, THE WHALE, (executive produced and narrated by Ryan Reynolds), and Tiffany Shlains Sundance hit, CONNECTED. Paladin will release Margaret Whittons A BIRD OF THE AIR in New York on September 23rd.

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