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Hulu acquires NZ transgender series

Rūrangi was screened as part of the Berlinale Series Market

Disney-owned streamer Hulu has acquired a groundbreaking drama series about a New Zealand transgender activist’s efforts to reconnect with his father.

Rūrangi follows trans activist Caz Davis, who returns to the rural dairy community he fled 10 years earlier, hoping to reconnect with his father who hasn’t heard from him since before Caz transitioned.

As father and son slowly reconcile, Caz finds himself swept up in the environmental fight that is dividing the town. A second season of the series is currently in development.

The five-part series, which has also been packaged as a feature film and is currently on theatrical release in New Zealand, is directed by Max Currie and was created and written by trans activist Cole Meyers and Oliver Page.

The exclusive US deal with Hulu for the project, which won the Audience Award at Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, was negotiated by Karoliina Dwyer on behalf of Scandinavian sales outfit The Yellow Affair, which picked up international sales rights last year.

The cast includes Elz Carrad, Kirk Torrance, Āwhina Rose Henare Ashby, Arlo Green, Ramon Te Wake, Aroha Rawson, Renee Lyons and Renée Sheridan.

The production sought to increase diversity in front of and behind the camera by placing gender-diverse people in creative roles within the cast and crew, while also offering a paid internship programme. The production was also structured with guidance from a trans consultation panel at each stage, from script drafts to the final edit, and featured training on gender and sexuality awareness.

Rūrangi was produced by Craig Gainsborough for Autonomouse with support from NZ on Air, New Zealand Film Commission, Prospect Films, New Zealand Media & Entertainment and Goethe Institut. It was coproduced by Tweedie Waititi, Meyers, Currie and Melissa Nickerson.

Currie said: “This is proof the sky’s the limit for New Zealand’s burgeoning trans talent, especially newcomer Elz Carrad, who’s going to set your hair on fire. I’m beyond proud to be able to say: you saw him on Hulu first.”

Rūrangi has also been sold to UK-based film producer and distributor Peccadillo Pictures, which is aiming to release the film later in the UK later this year.

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