‘Fear the Walking Dead’s’ Cliff Curtis on Returning to New Zealand to Produce

Fear the Walking Dead’s” Cliff Curtis says returning to New Zealand to tell local stories “keeps me sane, it sort of grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose.”

Curtis started his career appearing in local hits including “Once Were Warriors” and “Whale Rider” before heading Stateside to work with helmers like Michael Mann and Martin Scorsese. He has produced such films as “Boy” through his company Whenua Films with Ainsley Gardiner, but recently went it alone with shingle Arama Pictures.

The first docu from Arama will be “Merata” about another Kiwi storyteller, writer and director Merata Mita.

“I first met her in Hollywood, she was living there at the time and she became my mentor,” Curtis says. Mita died in 2010 and the pic will be helmed by her son Hepi. Production is scheduled to begin before year’s end.

Curtis says international productions provide skills and opportunities for NZ film talent and also help tell local stories.

“It helps us become better storytellers, because we are challenged with our perceptions of what storytelling actually is, and then we have to work really hard to develop our own storytelling ability.”

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