the dark horse


Based on a powerful true story, The Dark Horse is the uplifting portrait of a man searching for the courage to lead, despite his struggles with mental illness. The film features a stunning, award-winning performance by Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Blow, Fear the Walking Dead) as Genesis 'Gen' Potini, a Maori chess champion who finds purpose by teaching disadvataged children about the rules of chess and life. 


Director: james napier robertson

Writer: james napier robertson

Producer: Tom Hern

Cast: cliff curtis, James Rolleston, wayne hapi, kirk torrance, miriama mcdowell, barry te hira, xavier horan

Executive Producers: Tim White, Cliff curits

Co-producers: james napier robertson, jim marbrook

Associate Producers: tim wood, sasha wood

Line-producer: judith tyre

Cinematography: denson baker

Editor: Peter Roberts

music by: dana lund


The Dark Horse won Best Film at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and the 2014 New Zealand Film and TV Awards, and won Audience Awards at variety of festivals including the Rotterdam, Seattle and San Francisco International Film Festivals. The film also won a special SIGNIS Commendation Award (given to film that "illuminate and celebrate what it means to be human in a diverse and challenging world"). 

A stunning yet subtle Cliff Curtis performance, an inspirational true story and a lively directional touch make for a winning combination...”
— Variety
Enlightened and enlightening...”
— The Daily Telegraph