New Zealand feature film Mr Pip has been selected to première in the prized Special Presentation section of the ‘Oscar-buzz’ Toronto International Film Festival.
The film - shot on location in New Zealand and Bougainville - is an adaptation of the critically-praised New Zealand novel 'Mr. Pip' by Lloyd Jones.
Announcing the film’s selection for the September festival, New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason congratulated "the hugely skilled Kiwi team behind this picture".
"Mr Pip is an outstanding New Zealand film from an outstanding New Zealand film maker," Mason said.
"Mr Pip’s selection again places a spotlight on New Zealand’s wider film making talent in what is set to be a massive year for our industry."
Directed by Oscar-nominated New Zealand writer-director Andrew Adamson, Mr Pip stars Hugh Laurie (two-time Golden Globe-winning star of the House series) playing teacher Mr Watts to a group of Bougainville schoolchildren, including talented newcomer Xzannjah as Matilda, his favourite pupil.
Adamson’s Chronicles of Narnia and Shrek film series have combined for more than $4Billion in worldwide box office sales.
The film was produced by Adamson, New Zealand producer Robin Scholes (Once Were Warriors, Broken English and Rain), and Los Angeles-based Leslie Urdang and Dean Vanech of Olympus Pictures (Rabbit Hole and Beginners).
"Andrew's film is truly epic. The audience is taken on a huge emotional journey through joy and sorrow and emerges feeling both uplifted and inspired," says Robin Scholes.
"It is all the more powerful because it is founded in the real life stories of the Bougainvillean people who helped shape and make both the book and the film."
Adamson and Scholes will attend the première of Mr Pip at the 10-day festival, which begins on 6 September, 2012.
Lloyd Jones' Mr Pip was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize, and is a story about courage and the power of the imagination.
When the eccentric Mr Watts (Laurie), the last white man left on the war-torn island of Bougainville is asked to reopen the school, he begins to read the children his favorite novel, Great Expectations.
Matilda, a gifted 14-year-old student, conjures the novel’s Victorian characters and befriends Pip who helps her to endure the violence and moral uncertainty of her daily life. The friendship inspires Matilda not only to survive, but to love, forgive, and celebrate the power of her own voice.
The film was financed by Olympus Pictures, Daydream Productions, Eyeworks Films, The New Zealand Film Commission, NZ on Air and TV3. Mr Pip will be distributed in New Zealand and Australia by Transmission Films and Paramount Pictures.
Background: Andrew Adamson
Mr Pip is Andrew Adamson’s first independent feature project.
Adamson’ wrote, directed and/or produced the blockbuster Shrek franchise films. He wrote, directed and produced The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian for Disney as well as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
He served as executive producer on Shrek Forever After, and as producer on The Chronicles of Narnia: the Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Adamson most recently wrote, directed and produced Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away, a 3D film co-produced with James Cameron.
Background: Toronto International Film Festival
Founded in 1976, Toronto International Film Festival is regarded as one of the most important and influential media events on the international film and entertainment journalism calendar. Its size and timing makes it the première launch-pad for the Oscar season. The festival presents more than 300 films, and attracts a total audience of 280,000+. The 2012 programme will include premières from industry heavyweights such as Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman and Terrence Malick.