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You had me at that tall drink of water Uli Latukefu!

I saw the trailer for Kiel McNaughton’s debut film The Legend of Baron To’A and was delighted by the humor, fight scenes, and the heart of the film. To put it lightly I fell in love at first glance since it spoke to me as a woman drawn to an origin story (am a geek at heart) with an inclusive viewpoint introducing me to a new world! It’s just the type of movie I want to see to bring some sunshine into these days allowing me to walk in Uli Latukefu‘s very tall and athletic footsteps. <va voom> I can’t wait to see him in the new series playing a young Dwane ‘The Rock’ Johnson! I think we’ll be seeing a lot of this young man!

John Argall (writer) and Kiel McNaughton (director) have made a film that looks like a lot of fun. The trailer gives a glimpse into a film that shows it has a lot of heart, balanced with sight gags, well-choreographed fight scenes, and a cast that breathes life into a genre of film I haven’t seen in a long time. For me, it reminds me of early Jackie Chan comedic action films, a little Karate Kid, pro wrestling, and family all the while family-friendly! What’s not to love about that?

To be getting a North American release is incredibly exciting and we couldn’t be happier to receive this kind of support from Gravitas. To be following in the footsteps of other indigenous filmmakers taking their films to the world is a dream come true.

Kiel McNaughton, Director

The Legend of Baron To’A will be released on December 4th across theatrical, digital, and VOD after its successful festival run.

Kiel McNaughton’s film is a crowd-pleasing action comedy with a star turn by Uli Latukefu. Audiences will be seeing a lot more of these two rising talents, and we’re excited to be presenting the film in North America this fall.

Tony Piantedosi, Vice President of Acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures

It’s wonderful that this entertaining local film showcasing New Zealand’s vibrant Polynesian community will receive a theatrical release in North America. Kiel’s The Legend of Baron To’a is filled with colourful characters, wonderfully choreographed fight and chase scenes and packs a real narrative punch. We’re excited the film with be released theatrically in North America later this year.

Annabelle Sheehan, NZFC CEO

THE LEGEND OF BARON TO’A: When his late father’s priceless championship belt is stolen by a ruthless gang, a displaced Tongan man must reconnect with his father’s legacy to defeat the barbaric gang kingpin and get the title back.

Fritz, a displaced Tongan man, returns to the cul-de-sac of his youth to sell his family home. When a priceless heirloom – a championship wrestling belt belonging to his late father, Baron To’a, – is pillaged from the family home, Fritz’s uncle Otto cancels the sale of the house until the belt is returned. A local street thug reveals the belt is now in the possession of the resident gang, The Pig Hunters. Fritz determines to get the belt back with higher reasoning. After a run-in with a corrupt cop and a vicious attack from the gang, three patched members invite Fritz to a BBQ to ‘break bread’. The family-oriented BBQ becomes dangerous after dark as Fritz comes face-to-face with gang leader Tahu who has the belt draped over his shoulder. Fritz fails to reason with Tahu and is ruthlessly beaten into the streets.

While healing, Fritz realizes he must rekindle a lost connection with his father’s legacy, proclaiming to Otto that he wants a “shot at the title”. After training with Otto, Fritz combines his analytics skills with his father’s wrestling techniques to smash his way through the gang and flush out Tahu. An epic ‘no holds barred’ title fight ensues but does Fritz truly understand what it takes to become the champion?


Directed by: Kiel McNaughton 

Written by: John Argall

Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy

Distributor: Gravitas Ventures

Produced by: Kerry Warkia 

Cast: Uli Latukefu, Nathaniel Lees, Jay Laga’aia, Shavaughn Ruakere, & John Tui 

Run Time: 103m

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