Before the festival awards proper get under way later in the week, Sundance has announced the first recipient of the Merata Mita Fellowship, set up to honour the late filmmaker who had a long and strong association with the festival.
Mita was an advisor to and artistic director of the Sundance Institute NativeLab from 2000 to 2009. The Fellowship in her name is supported by international partners including: the Embassy of Australia; Taika Waititi, Indigenous Media Initiatives, and Pacific Islanders in Communications.
Ciara Leina’ala Lacy (pictured, top) from O’ahu, Hawai’i was named the inaugural recipient of the award. She’ll receive cash, support, mentoring and access to strategic and creative services offered by Sundance Institute’s artists programmes. Mita had strong links with Hawaii, teaching at the city’s university for several years.
Lacy is a documentary filmmaker and alumna of the Sundance Institute’s NativeLab and the Sundance Institute.
She’s currently working on Out of State, the story of Hawaiian prisoners sent to a private prison in Arizona.