Poised, a documentary directed by North East native Toby Robson and filmed in the region, will premiere at the Academy Awards-qualifying Doc Edge International Film Festival in New Zealand later this month.


The film immerses viewers in the captivating realm of a mixed martial arts (MMA) club in North East England, dedicated to empowering youth. At its helm is protagonist Steven, who haunted by his stepfather’s tragic suicide, resolves to effect meaningful change in both his world and the community he calls home.


On being selected for the festival, director Toby Robson said: “We are delighted to be having the world premiere of Poised at Doc Edge International Film Festival in New Zealand. That the film has struck an accord with a judging panel as far from North East England as actually possible, besides the moon, is very grounding indeed. Furthermore, for it to be in competition at such a festival of prestige.


“North East Screen have kindly helped support my trip out to New Zealand through their Open Horizons scheme. We hope this is just the start, that Poised will go from strength to strength and highlight the capacity for storytelling in the factual space within the region.”


The film was produced by ‘Two Yanks and a Brit’, with Newcastle-based producers Jenny Dinwoodie and Katie Elliott. North East based supplier, Focus Canning, provided equipment for the shoot, and the production also received support from North East Screen’s award-winning Film Office.


Lisa Laws, Development Director at North East Screen said: “The North East is briming with exceptional talent capable of making engaging content that relates to global audiences. Toby is one of those exceptional talents and we are delighted to be supporting him with an Open Horizons award to attend the Doc Edge International Festival in New Zealand. We wish him and the film all the best at the festival.”


Doc Edge International Festival is New Zealand’s Academy Awards-qualifying international documentary festival, showcasing the best films and immersive projects from New Zealand and around the world. Last year’s winner of the Best Documentary Academy Award, 20 Days in Mariupol, also premiered at the festival in 2023.


Poised will premiere at the Doc Edge on 24th June, followed by a Q&A with director Toby Robson. The awards night follows on 27th June, of which Poised is competing in.


To learn more about how the North East Screen Talent and Business Development team support both above the line talent (writers, producers and directors), and businesses (production companies and supply chain companies), with bespoke development and growth programmes, visit www.northeastscreen.org/talent-and-business-development

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