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Wairoa 2011 announces programme

The Board Of The Wairoa Maori Film Festival INC today has released the programme for its 2011 festival. The festival will be taking place from June 2 to 6 at Taihoa Marae (Wairoa) and Kahungunu Marae (Nuhaka), Wairoa District.

“The festival will once again be taking place over the Queen’s Birthday weekend holiday,” says Festival Director Leo Koziol. “This time has also traditionally been seen to mark the beginning of Matariki and the Maori New Year celebration.”

“Our festival is unique as all of our screenings are on Marae. We expect once again for people to travel from near and far for a weekend of film, kai and korero, as well as the opportunity for bush walks and hot pools at Morere and sand and surf at Mahia, food for the soul as well as the body.”

This year’s festival will celebrate the best in New Zealand film making, with a half dozen feature films as well as new short films and documentaries.

There will be six new New Zealand feature films playing at this year’s festival, a first for the festival. Opening night will be new feature film TRACKER starring Temuera Morrison, followed by multi cultural drama MATARIKI directed by Michael Bennett on Friday night.

Saturday will be RUSSIAN SNARK by Stephen Sinclair and new feature film KAWA directed by Katie Wolfe (formerly titled NIGHTS IN THE GARDEN OF SPAIN), and on Sunday we are screening HOOK LINE AND SINKER starring Rangimoana Taylor and HUGH AND HEKE starring Pete Smith.

“This is an exceptional year for features,” says Festival Director Leo Koziol. “Two of these films, Kawa and Matariki, were made by Maori Directors, though the two films are certainly not limited to what are viewed as traditional Maori storytelling. Matariki is a multi-cultural love story set in Otara as the stars of Matariki traverse the sky and set in motion events in people’s lives down here on Earth. Kawa, based on Witi Ihimaera’s book, is at heart a spiritual film exploring the challenge and meaning of Aroha – Unconditional Love – in this modern age.”

Tracker, starring Temuera Morrison, is the story set in the 1800s of an ex-Boer war guerrilla sent out to bring back a Maori accused of killing a British soldier. Script advisors Brad Haami and Ngamaru Raerino were involved in making amendments to the script and working with Temuera Morrison in his role in the film to imbue the story with tikanga and Maoritanga.

Hook, Line and Sinker is an independently funder feature film out of Wellington, co-directed by Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader. “The lead dramatic role is veteran actor Rangimoana Taylor whose story and life challenges are at the heart of this new engrossing film.” says Festival Director Leo Koziol. “The film makers are to be applauded for persisting in their vision in what is a truly ‘No. 8’ wire 21st Century film making philosophy.”

Hugh and Heke, starring Geoffrey Dolan (Hugh) and Pete Smith (Heke) in the lead roles, is a light hearted family movie looking at the more serious issue of cross cultural relations in this country. “The setting for Reston Griffith’s independent film is perhaps fittingly the beach, and as two families spar the audience can take the time to reflect on our differences – and our similarities – as we share our lives and common destiny here on the sands and shores of Aotearoa.”

A range of short films will be presented at this year’s festival. A highlight will be the presentation of the first locally made short film produced at Lake Waikaremoana. Taku Rakau E is an independently funded short film by local Tuhoe film maker Kararaina Rangihau.

The song Taku Rakau E is said to have been written by the revered Tuhoe composer Mihikitekapua in 1873 when she was over 100 years old. In this beautiful depiction of the song, warring nations fight over the breathtaking and treasured region around Lake Waikaremoana. This inspiring film captures the strength of Mihikitekapua’s spirit, the ancient art of storytelling and the significance of this sacred melody which has survived through generations. This inspiring film captures the strength of Mihikitekapua’s spirit.

Taku Rakau E was produced by film maker and industry leader Merata Mita, who sadly and tragically passed away a year ago. This screening is therefore a more than fitting commemoration to Merata’s vision and leadership in the world of Maori film making.”

The full festival programme is now online.

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