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Oz middle-grade novel ‘The Shark Caller’ optioned for film

Dianne Wolfer’s middle-grade novel The Shark Caller (Random House) has been optioned for film by New Zealand producers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton at Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions

Wolfer’s novel centres on a 14-year-old girl, Izzy, and blends magic inspired by Papua New Guinean legends and traditions with contemporary issues such as environmental conservation in the Pacific.

New Zealand director Veialu Aila-Unsworth is also attached to the adaptation.

Warkia and McNaughton’s previous work has focused on telling Māori and Pasifika stories, and includes the New Zealand web series Auckland Daze, comedy Find Me a Māori Bride and teen drama series This is Piki.

Aila-Unsworth, who was born in Papua New Guinea, said working on The Shark Caller will be ‘a rare and wonderful opportunity to promote our shared heritage, to give a voice to our culture, to promote strong female lead roles both in front of the camera and behind, and to tell a beautiful family story that is deeply unique to our homeland’.

Author Wolfer said she ‘can’t wait to watch Kerry, Kiel, Veialu and the team bring my characters (both human and marine) to life’.

‘It will make the most amazing film, with its visually spectacular ocean world combined with the heartwarming story of a girl learning about her family’s traditions and bravely stepping up to take on a dangerous but important challenge,’ said Penguin Random House publisher Zoe Walton.


Category: Junior Local news Rights and acquisitions