Māoriland Film Festival celebrates the return of international filmmakers to Aotearoa to present their films at the largest international Indigenous film festival in the world.
The 9th annual film festival will present 106 films from 132 Indigenous nations over five days during Matariki (June 29 - July 3) with over 60 film screenings, industry and arts events.
The theme for this year’s festival is “He pitomata he pito ora” - the potential of life.
“We have all felt the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic and for filmmakers it has been a hugely disruptive time. Working through lockdowns the creative output from Indigenous filmmakers has resulted in the strongest MFF programme we’ve ever had. The potential has been released,” said Festival director Libby Hakaraia.
“During lockdowns filmmakers across the Indigenous world harnessed technology to continue creating and innovating. At the MFF2022 we celebrate films created during extraordinary circumstances including here in Aotearoa.”
The MFF2022 includes the festival premieres of feature and short films starting with the celebration of the reo Māori version of one of the most successful of all Disney films, The Lion King.
The Lion King Reo Māori is the second Disney feature to be reversioned in te Reo Māori by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Chelsea Winstanley (Merata, Jo Jo Rabbit) and Tweedie Waititi (Moana Reo Māori, Rūrangi) of Matewa Media.
In a world first MFF2022 will feature a second te reo Māori animated feature film with the premiere of hit film ASTRO KID or TAMA KAIĀTEA. This film has been translated and voiced by talent in Ōtaki and produced at Māoriland. It also features the voice of one of the stars of hugely popular podcast Taringa, Te Puaheiri Snowden.
Both reo Māori feature films will be screened on the grounds of the first Māori university in Aotearoa, te Wānanga o Raukawa in Ōtaki. The screenings will enable the four Kōhanga reo, two kura kaupapa and students from TWOR along with the bi-lingual units of two other Ōtaki schools to attend.
“We also expect many of our festival audience to attend these reo Maori feature film screenings and to be able to enjoy them regardless of whether they have much reo Māori understanding. They will be able to follow the films regardless. Māoriland is known as a way for the curious to explore Indigenous cultures and languages and feel safe doing so. Te reo Māori is also becoming increasingly important in the lives of all New Zealanders,” said Libby Hakaraia
The multi-awarded feature film The Drovers Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson written, directed, produced and starring Leah Purcell, a proudly Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman from Queensland Australia will lead out the feature drama films in MFF2022. The directors of many of the films at Māoriland are directed or produced by women including Millie Lies Low (Aotearoa), Nightraiders (Canada/Aotearoa) and Whina (co-directed Aotearoa).
In keeping with this years theme of the MFF2022 He Pitomata He Pito Ora, the next generation of rangatahi Māori filmmakers will be celebrated in a special showcase event on Thursday 30 June - He Waiora - the world premiere of the Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme.
Conceived during the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 with support from the Sundance Institute and New Zealand Film Commission, the Ngā Pakiaka Incubator Programme worked with eight young filmmakers from Te Kao in the far far North to Ōtaki to produce their first professional short films. This event will be one to watch as it is exploding with emerging and established talent including Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne (Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Cousins, Whina), Richard Te Are (The Luminaries, Beyond the Veil), Max Crean (Mystic), music by Marlon Williams and Nikau Wi Neera.
Whina is the highly anticipated biopic of the celebrated and controversial Dame Whina Cooper directed by Paula Whetu Jones (Waru) and James Napier Roberston (The Dark Horse). Miriama McDowell (Coming Home In The Dark) and Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors) turn in riveting performances as the woman who would become known as Te Whaea o Te Motu / The Mother Of The Nation. Described as an astonishingly strong film of an amazing life.
Producer Tainui Stephens will host a NATIVE Minds panel on the making of the film on Sunday 3 July.
Other films screening at the festival include Tote Abuelo (Grandfather), a stunning and profound picture of Mexican life across generations, Portraits From a Fire - the best emerging film at Vancouver International Film Festival 2021, Canadian Screen Award Winner for Best Feature Film, Beans and multi-award-winning Hawaiian feature films, WAIKIKI and Every Day In Kaimuki (Sundance 2022). These screen alongside ten short film programmes.
New Zealand films represent over a third of the programme with Millie Lies Low starring Ana Scotney (Cousins), psychological thriller Coming Home In The Dark (with Miriama McDowell, Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson and Matthias Luafutu), Canada - New Zealand co-production Night Raiders and Closing Night Film, Whetū Marama: Bright Star.
Whetū Marama: Bright Star celebrates the life and work of Sir Hekenukumai Busby in reclaiming the lost art of traditional Māori voyaging, sailing the vast Pacific and navigating by the stars.
The Māoriland Keynote at the historic Rangiātea Church will be given on Sunday afternoon by Te Waihoroi Shortland, film actor, writer, broadcaster, reo Māori expert and master orator. Māori producer and broadcaster Tainui Stephens has spent over 40 years working with Waihoroi describes him as a man who has used his expertise in te reo Māori to "make a profound mark in Māori broadcasting" — "He dispenses forthright opinion, wisdom and gut-bustingly funny humour in equal measure."
Past keynote speakers are Tainui Stephens, Lawrence Makoare, Larry Parr, Julian and Mabelle Dennison, Rawiri Paratene, Heperi and Awatea Mita, Temuera Morrison and Rena Owen.
The Māoriland Film Festival runs from 29 June - July 3 as part of Matariki Ramaroa - Kāpiti Light Arts Festival. Tickets will be available from 18 May on iTicket.