Cliff Curtis

Actor, Producer [Ngāti Hauiti, Te Arawa]

Cliff Curtis alternates a busy diet of acting in the United States (where he's forged a reputation as the actor to call on, for roles of varied ethnicity) with smaller scale New Zealand projects — including co-producing Taika Waititi smash Boy. His CV of Kiwi classics includes playing Pai's father in Whale Rider, Uncle Bully on Once Were Warriors, and bipolar chess champion Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse

Interview

ScreenTalk Short: Cliff Curtis

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

Cliff Curtis has acted in a number of classic Kiwi films. Curtis won acclaim and awards after playing troubled chess champ Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse.

Interview

Cliff Curtis: On his classic NZ movie roles...

Interview, Camera and Editing – Andrew Whiteside

From playing a human mule in The Piano, a dandy in Desperate Remedies and the hated Uncle Bully in Once Were Warriors, actor Cliff Curtis has appeared in a number of classic Kiwi movies. Curtis won acclaim and awards after starring as troubled chess champ Genesis Potini in The Dark Horse. He has also forged a busy international acting career, and moved into work as a producer, out of a desire to make Māori stories.

Frontseat - Series Two, Episode 10

Television, 2006 (Full Length Episode)

This episode of arts show Frontseat visits the inaugural edition of the Māori Film Festival in Wairoa, with Ramai Hayward and Merata Mita making star turns, alongside a tribute to teenage filmmaker Cameron Duncan. Elsewhere, Deborah Smith and Marti Friedlander korero about their She Said exhibition, and about photographing kids and staging reality; and Auckland’s St Matthew in the City showcases spiritual sculpture. A ‘where are they now’ piece catches up with Val Irwin, star of Ramai and Rudall Hayward's interracial romance To Love a Māori (1972). 

NZ On Screen - See Us Go

Web, 2015 (Trailer)

Cut from the thousands of titles available to view on NZ On Screen, this promo clip was put together for the occasion of the site’s 2015 redesign. Get a taste of the Kiwi screen magic made accessible to a million plus visitors a year, with a montage of iconic moments (from infamous pie-eating advice to the Wahine disaster), NZ heroes (Snell, Apiata), clips from classic film, TV and music videos (from Gloss to Once Were Warriors, Billy T to Boy), interviews with the people behind the productions, and screen taonga — from Tangata Whenua to Count Homogenized.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen

Film, 2018 (Trailer)

Merata Mita argued forcefully that the voices of Māori and of women were sorely lacking on-screen. Best known for her Springbok tour documentary Patu!, the straight-talking director and actor later set up an indigenous filmmaking programme in Hawai'i, and spoke about indigenous film around the globe. After Mita passed away in 2010, her youngest son Hepi began making a film about her — discovering new sides to his mother as he trawled through footage, and interviewed his older siblings. The feature-length documentary debuted at the 2018 NZ International Film Festival.

Mananui

Short Film, 1995 (Full Length)

"Maybe if we looked after our living as well as we do the dead, he'd still be here." After returning to his marae from the city, Mana (Cliff Curtis) finds himself caught up in arrangements for a tangi. But when another local commits suicide, Mana finds himself caught between traditional values and his own sense of right. Meanwhile in the forest, it seems that other powers may have the final word. The short film also features George Henare. It was written and directed by former DJ and commercials director Poata Eruera.

NZ Film Commission turns 40 - Past Memories

Web, 2018 (Excerpts)

In these short clips from our ScreenTalk interviews, directors, actors and others share their memories of classic films, as we mark 40 years of the NZ Film Commission.   - Roger Donaldson on odd Sleeping Dogs phone calls - David Blyth on Angel Mine being ahead of its time - Kelly Johnson on acting in Goodbye Pork Pie - Roger Donaldson on Smash Palace - Geoff Murphy on Utu's scale  - Ian Mune on making Came a Hot Friday - Vincent Ward on early film exploits - Tom Scott on writing Footrot Flats with Murray Ball  - Greg Johnson on acting in End of the Golden Weather - Rena Owen on Once Were Warriors  - Melanie Lynskey on auditioning for Heavenly Creatures - Ngila Dickson on The Lord of the Rings - Niki Caro on missing Whale Rider's success - Antony Starr on Anthony Hopkins - Oscar Kightley on Sione's Wedding - Tammy Davis on Black Sheep - Leanne Pooley on the Topp Twins - Taika Waititi on napping at the Oscars - Cliff Curtis on The Dark Horse - Cohen Holloway on his Wilderpeople stars

One Network News - 2004 Cannes Film Festival

Television, 2004 (Full Length)

Reporter Paul Hobbs joins the Kiwis congregating at the Cannes Film Festival for this 2004 One Network News report. Hobbs is on the French Riviera to hear about two of the most expensive New Zealand stories yet to win funding: historical drama River Queen and vampire tale Perfect Creature. Hobbs hints at budgets north of $20 million. Among the Kiwis talking things up are NZ Film Commission Chief Executive Ruth Harley, River Queen investor Eric Watson, and director Roger Donaldson. Cliff Curtis pops by, and Fat Freddy's Drop lay down some party tunes.

Aroha - Irikura

Television, 2002 (Full Length Episode)

Lovers move towards each other through space and time in this episode of te reo series Aroha. Tapu (Cliff Curtis) plays a doctor who is unnerved by the strange behaviour of elderly patient Kahu. Kahu's death affects his niece Irikura (Ngarimu Daniels) deeply, and at the tangi secrets are revealed. Tapu and Irikura are haunted by visions of a shared past; Kahu's ghost has plans for them. This episode played in black and white. Celebrated Māori actor and mentor Don Selwyn plays Kahu. Director Guy Moana created tā moko and carvings for classic 1994 film Once Were Warriors.