The latest film by director Tearepa Kahi continues to make waves in the cinema world in Aotearoa and internationally, and has now been revealed as New Zealand’s contender for the Academy Awards Best International Feature Film category next year.
Muru continues its strong run at the box office, staying at the No 1 spot in New Zealand for two weeks during its first month in the country, with its Australian release coming up on October 13. Internationally, it has already premiered on the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival and is due to screen at the Busan International Festival next.
Inspired by actual events, Muru tells the story of protagonist police Sergeant ‘Taffy’ Tāwharau’s (Cliff Curtis) choice to serve his community or his badge when the government uses anti-terrorism measures to launch an armed raid on Taffy’s isolated Urewera community during a school day.
Police Sergeant ‘Taffy’ Tāwharau is played by Cliff Curtis. Photo / Supplied
Also starring Jay Ryan, Manu Bennett, Tame Iti and Simone Kessel among the star-studded cast, the action drama is a response to the Tūhoe raids in 2007.
Kahi (Ngāti Pāoa, Waikato Tainui) says having the support and resonance received from moviegoers so early when it was released is humbling.
It will be put to the New Zealand Oscar jury, where members include directors Niki Caro, Sir Peter Jackson, Taika Waititi and actress Keisha Castle-Hughes.
A shortlist of 15 finalists will be announced on December 21, with the final five nominees announced next year, on January 24. The winner will be revealed at the 95th Academy Awards on March 12, 2023, in Los Angeles.