A moving trailer for upcoming Kiwi film Cousins has been released, starring Ana Scotney, Rachel House and Briar Grace-Smith, who adapted the screenplay from the Patricia Grace novel of the same name.
Grace-Smith also co-directed the movie alongside Ainsley Gardiner, bringing to the big screen the story of three cousins who spend a lifetime in search of each other.
“Cousins is a story about strength and resilience, touching on epic events in the history of Aotearoa such as the deployment of the 28th Māori Battalion to Europe, the 1975 Land March to Parliament and the Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi of 2004," Grace-Smith explained.
"However, at its heart, it is an intimate story, about the theft of a child and her family's lifelong quest to bring her back home to her people.”
Cousins is set over six decades, and the concept of the film was in development for 16 years. It was originally the vision of the late filmmaker Merata Mita, who was the first Māori woman to write and direct a feature film.
Gardiner and Grace-Smith were the joint recipients of the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship shortly before Cousins began production in 2019.
Gardiner said it was a privilege to be a part of a film that has "such a significant whakapapa".
"From our real stories and experiences to Patricia's book, to the attempts by our mentors to get it made, Cousins has been a long time in the making.
"To be able to make it with whānau, hapu and iwi alongside our fantastic crew made it all the more special."
Iconic Māori writer Patricia Grace was also involved with the making of the film, where she relished the opportunity to be on set during production.
"There was a joyful whānau atmosphere… the only raised voice was when it was time to: 'CUT'," she said.
Cousins will hit cinemas nationwide in March, when Penguin Random House will also re-release Patricia Grace's novel.