The Dark Horse

Dark Horse, The - 2014

Four Knights Film - 120 min.
DVD UPC/EAN #9324915097384(NZ & AU single disc); 4020628870416(UK); 025192326264(US); 4020628855055(DE)
Blu-ray UPC/EAN # 4020628855048 (DE)

Principal Cast: Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrance, Miriama McDowell, Baz Te Hira, Xavier Horan, Wayne Hapi.
Crew: Screenplay: James Napier Robertson; Cinematographer: Denson Baker; Editor: Peter Roberts; Original Music: Dana Lund; Production Designer: Kim Sinclair; Costume Designer: Kristin Seth; Sound Designer: Nick Buckton; Art Direction: Jill Cormack; Set Decoration: Daniel Birt; Producers: Tom Hern, Jim Marbrook; Director: James Napier Robertson.

This is a true story based upon the life of chess champion Genesis Potini. It is also a film about two lost souls finding the strength to carry on through each other's company and believing in themselves, even if no one else does. The film connects chess, its rules and strategies with elements of Maori mythology and spirituality. Since his childhood Genesis has always known chess as “the warrior game.” In teaching the kids at the local chess club the principles of the game he draws on Maori creation stories. For the at-risk youths, Genesis' chess lessons serve not only as instruction in the game but as important lessons in cultural identity as well as more general life lessons about living in a community. Definately Recommended.

Censor Rating: M - Review Rating: A-

The Dark Horse trailer
Official MP4 Trailer


Starting 10 December 2014, a PAL R4 dvd can be purchased from AU and NZ sources for about $30. It is presented in its original 2.35:1 format, 16x9 enhanced, with a DD Surround 5.1 English language track. There are optional English subtitles. There are two extras: 'Behind the Scenes' (9:49) and 'Gisborne Premiere' (4:44). These extras are presented 1.78:1 with no subtitles.
An R2 DVD version, with optional English subtitles and the same tech specs as the NZ one, is available from the UK for about 16#, and some other European sources, starting 10 August 2015.
Starting 12 July 2016, an NTSC DVD version is available in the US, selling for about $20. It has the same tech specs as the NZ one, but with spoken English and dubbed Spanish language tracks and optional English and Spanish subtitles. There are 11 trailers, four of them are front-loaded. There are no other extras.
Starting 10 November 2016, Blu-ray and DVD versions were released in Germany, titled 'Das Talent des Genesis Potini', with spoken German and English tracks, selling for about 20eur. The Blu-ray is a Region B 1080 50p with DTS-HD MA-5.1 tracks and optional German subtitles. Extras: Original English trailer (2:01), German Trailer (1:57), Pre-roll - short trailer (:37), Behind the Scenes gallery stills(1:21) and three unrelated German trailers.

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"When a film has you holding back tears in the opening minutes, it's clear it's going to be special. Beautifully told, bravely executed, and truly inspiring, The Dark Horse is one of the best pieces of New Zealand cinema you will ever see". - Kate Rodger - 'The Best Films of 2014'

Graham Reid DVD Review

Ryan Izay US DVD Review at Real Movie News

Luke Bonanno US DVD Review at

Jon Clist NZ DVD Review at bigscreennz

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The N to Z of Film on SoundCloud

Official Facebook Page

Genesis - The Dark Horse Early Promo Clip

Andrew Whiteside's Video Interview with Cliff Curtis - His career so far

A clip of the real Genesis Potini

Information at the New Zealand Film Commission Website

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2015 - Slovak Republic Art Film Festival - Blue Angel Award for Best Director

2015 - Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award - James Napier Robertson & Four Knights Films

2014 - New Zealand Writers Guild Awards - SWANZ - Best Feature Film Script

Dec. 2014 - Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Brisbane, Australia) - Best Actor (Cliff Curtis)

Dec. 2014 - New Zealand Film Awards 'The Moas' - Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Cliff Curtis), Best Supporting Actor (James Rolleston), Best Screenplay (James Napier-Robertson), Best Score (Dana Lund).

Jan. 2015 - Rotterdam International Film Festival - Audience Award & Youth Jury Prize

2015 - Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Actor (Cliff Curtis)

2015 - San Francisco International Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature

2015 - Washington DC Film Fest - Signis Award - James Napier Robertson & Tom Hern

June 2015 - Seattle International Film Festival - Best Picture and Best Actor (Cliff Curtis)

October 2015 - St. Tropez Festival des Antipodes - Grand Jury Prize - Best Feature

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