News - Latest News this yearMuru, NZ contender for the 2023 Academy Awards

News: 20 September 2022

NZ Film Commission media release.

Muru, written and directed by Tearepa Kahi, is New Zealand’s contender for the 2023 Academy Awards Best International Feature Film category.

Starring Cliff Curtis, Jay Ryan, Manu Bennett, Tame Iti, Simone Kessell, Roimata Fox, Ria Te Uira Paki and Poroaki Merritt-McDonald, Muru has commenced its theatrical run in Aotearoa New Zealand, holding the #1 film position at the New Zealand box office for two weeks. The film remains in the top two spot as it enters its fourth week of release in New Zealand and ahead of its Australian release in October.

Muru had its international premiere in the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival and will next screen in competition at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival. Muru was also selected as the Opening Film for the New Zealand International Film Festival in July and will be released in Australia on the 13th of October, to coincide with the date when the New Zealand Government launched the raids which inspired the film, October 15th 2007.

“To see this level of support, recognition and resonance with our film, so early in its release, is incredibly humbling. It encourages faith and pride in our Māori language and story voice and is a testament to the commitment and belief so many people in Tūhoe and Aotearoa put into bringing Muru to screen life" Tearepa Kahi said.

The New Zealand Oscar jury consists of film professionals led by Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission. This year, the jury members were producer Carthew Neal, directors Niki Caro, Sir Peter Jackson and Taika Waititi, writer Dame Fran Walsh, actress Keisha Castle-Hughes, film editor David Coulson, costume designer Ngila Dickson, and art director Grant Major. The Chair of the jury was Mladen Ivancic, CEO (Acting) of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Inspired by actual events, Muru is the story of a local Police Sergeant ‘Taffy’ Tāwharau (Curtis), who must choose between duty to his badge or his people, when the Government invoke anti-terrorism powers to launch an armed raid on Taffy’s remote Urewera community, on a school day. This gripping action drama is not a re-creation, but a response to the raids against Tūhoe in 2007 and 1916. Muru is a Māori concept for 'forgiveness’.

Muru was made with funding from Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government's Screen Production Grant, Arclight Films International, Te Māngai Pāho, NZ On Air/Irirangi Te Motu, Three, Imagezone, Images & Sound and completed with the assistance of the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Recovery Fund. Arclight Films are handling ROW Sales with Rialto Distribution releasing the film in New Zealand and Australia.

Submitted films must have been released theatrically in their respective countries between January 1, 2022 and November 30, 2022. The deadline for submissions to the Academy is October 3, 2022. A shortlist of 15 finalists is set to be announced on December 21 with the final five nominees announced on January 24, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 12, 2023 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles