A Tribute to the unsuspecting hero

7/16/2015 – When the streets are closed off for the red carpet to be rolled out for a movie’s premier, what would you guess it is about? You may be surprised and impressed to find out it won twenty awards and was nominated for another eight, but would you even suspect that the main theme of the movie is chess? Yes a chess movie wining twenty awards! Preview with videos.

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The Dark Horse: A Tribute to the unsuspecting hero

By Desmond Rooplal

The Dark Horse (inspired by a true story) is a heart-warming, emotionally intense roller coaster drama about the struggles and failures, the triumphs and successes of the life of New Zealander: Genesis Potini.


When Potini’s (played by award winning Cliff Curtis) love for chess is re-kindled, he seeks out Noble (Kirk Torrance) to fuel his need. His freshly aroused passion for the king of games brings desperately needed stability and sense of purpose into his life, where he is constantly challenged with a mental illness.

Through chess Potini finds a new family to focus his attention on. His emotional comfort here does not last long as he finds himself caught in the middle of his nephew Mana’s (James Rollestone) family battles. Mana being forced into a world of gangsters and thievery, seeks refuge with his uncle.

All the while Genesis tries to keep his promise to lead a bunch of misfit kids to their first tournament.

While some of the events and timeline details in The Dark Horse have been fictionalized for entertainment purposes, director James Napier Robertson has kept the essence of the movie true to the spirit of Genesis Potini and the impact he has had on children through chess. The Dark Horse takes the audience through emotional extremes is in a way a metaphorical glimpse into what a person challenged with bipolar might experience.

The Dark Horse Trailer

The Dark Horse gets the red carpet

Cliff Curtis interview for The Dark Horse

Curtis talks about Genesis

Curtis playing lighting chess against NZ Champion Paul Macdonald – video by Maryam Hasannasab

The Dark Horse gets 8.1/10 from 1700 users in IMDB. It will be released by Amazon on DVD
on August 10 in the UK, but no word yet for the US or other countries.

Genesis Potini (5 September 1963 – 15 August 2011)

Doing a review of the movie wasn’t enough, Genesis Potini had a remarkable impact through chess on those around him, and this legacy was so great that it merited making a movie to tell his story. With this in mind, I had to research more about Potini, as a result I got in touch with Noble Keelan, via the Gisborne Eastern Knights President Colin Albert. Keelan it turns out, was Potini’s right hand man.

– Part two with an in-depth portrait of Genesis Potini will follow soon –

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Paul Macdonald Paul Macdonald 7/19/2015 12:23
ps No disrespect but I don't entirely agree with Pionki - the film has a lot of cultural components that are unique to New Zealand but I believe anybody can understand and appreciate the movie as things such as pride, adversity, hardship, justice and belief are universally understood the world over.
Paul Macdonald Paul Macdonald 7/19/2015 12:18
Hi Chessbase, this is Paul Macdonald from New Zealand. Can you please credit the video of my game with Cliff Curtis to Maryam Hasannasab. The video was taken at a special event held in Aotea Square, Auckland to celebrate the release of the movie. Here is a link to the rematch that followed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zVkYqLW5Pw. After Qc5+, I didn't notice I was in check so played Rxf8. Cliff then took my king and claimed a win - house rules ;-) I have to say I was very happy for Chris to win as I could see how elated he was. The time control for both games was 1'+0".
Pionki Pionki 7/16/2015 12:29
He pikitia nui tēnei, engari, e kōre koe e mārama ki te kōre koe nō Aotearoa nei.
(It's a big movie, but you will not understand it, if you're not from New Zealand.)