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Māori Filmmakers Dominate this Year At NZIFF

C/- Te Karere

The New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) has kicked off with an array of Māori filmmakers showcasing their new work.

Emerging filmmaker Jessica Sandersen who has landed a spot in the festival says the festival showcases the various talents of te iwi Māori.

“This is the first short film I have made. A lot of music videos and documentaries but this is my first short.”

Sanderson explains it was her grandfather Martyn Sanderson who inspired her in her craft.

“Ways To See is about a little girl named Amaia who lives in an inner-city Auckland apartment with her mother who is unwell and she's desperate to seek out her absent father and she does that through a very mysterious beautiful woman who she brings into the house.”

Sanderson says representation is vital.

“I think it’s really important that we see ourselves in cinema, in stories. We are the stories that we tell ourselves so if we don't see ourselves in the cinema or in the media that surrounds us then we have a problem.”

Ngā Aho Whakaari executive director Erina Tamepo says the appetite for indigenous content is big.

“The appetite is massive for indigenous content and this is where Māori need to step into their own and Māori need to tell their own stories they can't have other people telling their interpretation of their story.”

She also says this has been a long time coming.

“It’s been a very long time since Merata Mita made her film and now I believe the time is right for wahine Māori to actually step into that zone. It’s taken a long time to build capacity to open doorways and to create opportunities for our women to come through.”

The New Zealand International Film Festival takes place all around the country until August 11.


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