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Entertainment | Taranaki Maunga

‘The Mountain’ to make its world premiere in Taranaki

The movie tells the story of three children on a mission to find healing under the eye of Taranaki Maunga.

The new film ‘The Mountain’, a story of three children on a mission to find healing under the eye of Taranaki Maunga, is being readied for its launch in Taranaki.

It sees the debut of three young actors who lead the film through friendship and adventure, and the directorial debut of Rachel House (Ngāti Mutunga, Kāi Tahu).

House says she believes stories are best told through children and the ‘magic’ they possess.

“I think they’re much less cynical. When kids grow up, they start to really question, as we do, as adults do, question, I guess for a lack of a better word, magic,” she says.

The film focuses on the trials and tribulations faced by Sam (Elizabeth Atkinson) as she finds her way back to her maunga (Taranaki) in hopes it will help heal her cancer .

Along the way she comes across two new friends, Mallory (Reuben Francis) and Bronco (Terence Daniel), who ultimately become her new friends.

Elizabeth Atkinson (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Tama, Kāi Tahu), Reuben Francis and Terence Daniel (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Ngāti Raukawa ki Whakapuhunga, Kuki Airani) play the three main characters in their feature film debut.

For the actors this project was an opportunity of a lifetime.

Atkinson says she enjoyed the process of the film and creating new relationships with new people.

“Making friends and just acting every day, getting to be something else,” she says.

Francis (Mallory) also says the friendships made were a big highlight of filming.

“Making new friendships and going through the journey all together with Rachel and everyone else and ... the view on top of the mountain was beautiful as well,”

House says the work these kids have done on set is nothing short of outstanding.

“I’m so proud of them, truly proud of them. They work so hard. I think what all of them had in common was they were really determined, they were really robust and determined, and they were really playful as well.

“I think they did tremendously well.”

The world premiere will be in Taranaki on March 19 and thinking about memories from the time the movie was shot House fondly remembers the films stars.

“It was really seeing those kids, every morning and they’d come in every morning and they’d just be full of joy and happy to see everyone, it was just my favourite part of the day,” she says