Kiwi helmer to be feted at confab

HOLLYWOOD — Niki Caro, helmer of Newmarket’s critically acclaimed New Zealand drama “Whale Rider,” will be honored with ShoWest 2004’s award for international achievement in filmmaking.

Caro, whose next film will be sexual harassment drama “Class Action” for Warner Bros./Industry, will be feted at a luncheon on March 22, the first day of ShoWest. The annual convention for exhibs and distribs takes places at the Paris and Bally’s hotels in Las Vegas through March 25.

” ‘Whale Rider’ was one of the true standout films of last year,” said Mitch Neuhauser, confab’s co-managing director. “(ShoWest) could not be more please to honor Niki’s work. We look forward to what we know is going to be an incredible career.”

A New Zealand native, Caro helmed film shorts and TV drama before directing feature drama “Memory and Desire” in 1997.

Previous recipients of the ShoWest award for international filmmaking include Ang Lee (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (“Amelie”) and Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”).

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