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James Napier Robertson

Writer/Director - Bio


Initially an actor by trade, James landed leading roles in a number of local and international TV shows, before making a conscious move behind the camera in his early-twenties.

Napier Robertson garnered respect for his discerning direction of performances and mood in his debut feature, the micro-budget, noir-thriller, I'm Not Harry Jenson (Napier Robertson wrote, directed and edited the film).

I'm Not Harry Jenson premiered at the Shanghai International and New Zealand Film Festivals and was released theatrically on 30 screens in it's home territory to strong reviews in 2010, before selling into a number of foreign territories around the world. Despite its micro-budget, the film generated much buzz around the newcomer director and caught the eye of many industry players, including national film-funding body, The New Zealand Film Commission.

His fascination with dysfunctional, outsider characters, social disorientation and personality disorders underpinned the dramatic tension of the film, a theme he continues to explore in his latest work, The Dark Horse, an evocative drama based on the true life story of Genesis Potini.

JNR - "I was drawn to the complexities of Genesis, the polarities and societal misconceptions around him; an outcast who could inspire or intimidate, his mental illness making him a pariah with some… his intelligence, gift with chess and eccentric charisma making him a teacher to others, particularly those who also found themselves on the outskirts of normal society…"

The Dark Horse was produced by Four Knights Film's Tom Hern (I'm Not Harry Jenson, Lambs) and executive produced by Southern Lights Films' Tim White (Sleeping Beauty, Out of the Blue, Mr Pip), is being sold internationally by Celluloid Dreams (Frances Ha, A Prophet, The Raid) and distributed in NZ/Aus by Transmission Films (The Kings's Speech, Boy). The Dark Horse stars Cliff Curtis (Training Day, River Queen, Three Kings) and James Rolleston (Boy).

Napier Robertson has a number of other screenplays in advanced development..