XYZ Films has picked up world rights excluding Australia and New Zealand to the upcoming New Zealand-set action thriller featuring traditional Maori hand-to-hand combat.

Toa Fraser (pictured) will direct from a screenplay by Glenn Standring about a chieftain’s teenage son who must enter a feared region in order to avenge his father’s death.

James Rolleston from Boy, Lawrence Makoare, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan, George Henare and Rena Owen will star.

Production is scheduled for later this month in Auckland and the central North Island of New Zealand. Matthew Metcalfe is the producer. Lord Of The Rings stunt co-ordinator Steve McQuillan will handle the action sequences.

General Film Corporation in association with the New Zealand Film Commission will finance with New Zealand Film Production Fund Trust, Te Mangai Paho, Images and Sound, Lip Sync and UK-based Day Tripper Films, backed by Ingenious Media.

“This is precisely the kind of elevated, culturally relevant action film we look to make,” said XYZ partner Nick Spicer.

“It’s an important film,” said Australia-based XYZ executive Simon de Bruyn, who will oversee the project from Melbourne. “These guys are bringing Maori history and culture to life in an authentic, unsparing, and dramatically spectacular way.”