DEGANZ member Shane Rangi (Ngāti Porou) is set to have his directorial debut with his semi-autobiographical feature film, Taonga. Long-time collaborator and Oscar-winning filmmaker, James Cameron, is one of the production’s executive producers.
While this is Shane’s first excursion into directing, he is one of Aotearoa’s leading motion capture and stunt performers. He is best known for his work on a plethora of blockbuster films including Thor: Ragnarok, The Wolverine, the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and Narnia franchises, and both Avatar films. He met Cameron through his work on Avatar, and the two continued working together through the development of Taonga.
The film is inspired by Shane’s life. It follows an indigenous Polynesian rugby star who becomes homeless and barely survives a violent encounter with law enforcement. While writing the script, Shane aimed to tackle the realities of homelessness and modern-day policing.
Fandomodo Films, a boutique film and television development, production, and financing company, is independently funding the film. The company aims to raise underrepresented voices, telling stories that accurately reflect our society with all the horror, pain, and love that exists in every human being.
The hope is for filming to begin in Aotearoa in 2024 but will depend on the SAG-AFTRA strike.