EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films has licensed French rights to Wild Side on its upcoming Maori combat project heading into the EFM.

Toa Fraser (pictured) is currently in production in New Zealand on The Dead Lands.

XYZ holds world rights excluding Australia and New Zealand and will show early footage to buyers in Berlin as part of a dynamic genre slate that includes Kevin Smith’s Tusk.

The XYZ Films principals told ScreenDaily they expect The Dead Lands to raise the profile of Maori hand-to-hand combat in the way their action franchise The Raid has done for the southeast Asian Silat martial art.

Glenn Standring wrote the screenplay about the vengeful son of a Maori chieftain who must enter the forbidden Dead Lands and forge a pact with the mysterious “Warrior” to avenge his slain tribe.

James Rolleston of Boy fame stars alongside Lawrence Makoare, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan and Once Were Warriors cast members George Henare and Rena Owen.

Matthew Metcalfe produces and The Lord Of The Rings and Spartacus stunt coordinator Steve McQuillan is directing the action sequences.

General Film Corporation finances the project in association with the New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Film Production Fund Trust, Te Mangai Paho, Images and Sound, Lip Sync and Day Tripper Films.