Dana Rotberg’s Maori-language feature is funded by the New Zealand Film Commission in association with NZ On Air. The Film Sales Company holds world rights excluding Australia/New Zealand.

White Lies (Tuakiri Huna) screens in Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema strand on Monday (9) and follows three women in a small town in the early 20th century brought together by a secret.

John Barnett of Whale Rider fame produced the film, based on Rotberg’s adaptation of the novella Medicine Woman by Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera.

White Lies is a beautiful film with powerful themes and strong female characters, set in Maori culture,” said New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Graeme Mason.

“We are incredibly proud that this is the second time that New Zealand has submitted a film for consideration for the Foreign Language Film category of the Academy Awards, the first being The Orator two years ago.”

The New Zealand Oscar selection committee comprises Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Ngila Dickson, Grant Major, Mason and John Toon.