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Exploring Cultural Identity: Julian Dennison and His Role in Uproar

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By: BNN Correspondents
Exploring Cultural Identity: Julian Dennison and His Role in Uproar

Julian Dennison: An Actor’s Personal Connection to Uproar

Acclaimed actor Julian Dennison, popularly known for his portrayal of Josh Waaka in the recently premiered movie Uproar, has shared his personal struggles with cultural identity. Growing up in a school predominantly populated by Pākeha, Dennison revealed that his role in Uproar held a special personal significance for him. The movie, set in Dunedin in 1981, sheds light on the journey of self-identity of 17-year-old Josh Waaka amidst the turbulent Springbok tour protests.

Although Dennison was only 20 years old and had little firsthand knowledge about the Springbok tour events, his parents were present at the Hamilton game during the tour, providing him with a unique personal connection. Dennison, of Māori (Ngāi Takoto) and Pākeha descent, hopes that his portrayal in the film will inspire other young Māori people to embrace their culture and take pride in their identities, quoting Rawiri Waititi, “you don’t know your maunga but your maunga knows you. You don’t know your awa but your awa knows you… I don’t know a lot but I know where I come from.”

Uproar: A Film Grounded in Authenticity

Uproar recently had its Aotearoa New Zealand premiere in Newmarket, and was co-directed and co-written by Hamish Bennett (Te Arawa, Patuharakeke, Ngāi Tahu). Bennett stressed the significance of involving mana whenua at every stage of the film’s production to guarantee its authenticity and integrity. He emphasized that the haka was choreographed and performed by mana whenua, and their involvement was instrumental in every aspect of the film.

The Relevance of Uproar Today

Despite Uproar being set in the 1980s, co-director Paul Middleditch underlines that the film still holds pertinent lessons for today’s society. Middleditch expressed his enthusiasm about the film’s release in 2023, asserting that it’s a film that’s timely and necessary for the present times. He anticipates that viewers will derive optimism and joy from the film, especially when they find their voice. The film is scheduled to be in cinemas from October 5.

Conclusion: A Journey Towards Self-Identity

The film Uproar and Julian Dennison’s portrayal of Josh Waaka present a poignant exploration of self-identity and cultural heritage. Dennison’s personal connection to the film’s events and his hope to inspire young Māori individuals highlight the importance of embracing one’s culture and identity. As Uproar premieres, it holds the potential to spark conversations about cultural identity and authenticity while remaining rooted in historical events. It promises to deliver a heartwarming and inspiring story that resonates with audiences today and into the future.

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