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Wairoa curates for NZIFF

The NZIFF’s Nga Whanaunga Maori Pasifika Shorts programme, curated by Wairoa festival’s Leo Koziel, has been announced. The seven films, all of which screen at Wairoa over the Queens Birthday weekend event, will join the NZIFF when it opens in July.

None of the films selected are also included in the NZ Shorts competition line-up announced earlier, although some of those in-competition films also screen at Wairoa (Sam Kelly’s Lambs and Marina Alofagia McCartney’s Milk & Honey).

The Wairoa collection, five completed this year and two last, will be titled Nga Whanaunga, which means “relatedness and connectedness between peoples” according to Koziel.

The seven films are:
Snow in Paradise
Directors:  Justine Simei-Barton, Nikki Si’ulepa
Producer:  Paul Simei-Barton 
Screenplay:  Nikki Si’ulepa 
Festivals:  Berlin 2012.  8 mins
It’s warm and the sun is shining. Nature provides us with the things we need: crystal clear seawater for the fish, coconut for the land. The islanders live a happy healthy life – until, far away, a fire rises.

Baby Steps
Director/Screenplay:  Mark Ruka (Ngapuhi) 
Producers:Sheri O’Neill, Fred Renata. 
9 mins
A man, a baby, a new path; one little step at a time. When Joe is left in sole charge of his baby son for the very first time, he must leave his past behind and prove he’s ready for fatherhood.

Tatau
Director/Screenplay:  Chantelle Burgoyne 
Producers:  Zanna Gillespie, Graeme Bibby, Chantelle Burgoyne. 
15 mins
As Siaki’s vision deteriorates with old age, memories of the painful tattooing ceremony he underwent in his youth haunt him as he yearns to see his tattoo completed before it’s too late.

Whakatiki
Director:  Louise Letch 
Producer:  Melissa Dodds
Screenplay:  Bernadette Murphy (Te Āti Awa) 
Festivals:  Tribeca 2012.  13 mins
Kiri, a Maori woman painfully aware of her weight, takes a trip with family and friends to the Whakatiki River where she spent many summers as a girl. The place awakens powerful memories.

Nine of Hearts
Director:  Briar Grace-Smith (Ngapuhi, Ngati Wai) 
Producer:  Alexandra Keeble 
Screenplay:  Briar Grace-Smith, Kelly Joseph. 
15 mins
Trembling with energy and a kind of hybrid Maori-Pakeha spiritual magic, this film is about the cards Gen, a Pakeha mother, has already been dealt, and the cards she is choosing to play now. Drawn forward by her two high-pitched fairy children, Gen must ultimately confront Nola, her teenage Maori daughter, who has wisdom beyond her years – and fury at her mother to match.

The Dump
Director/Screenplay:  Hamish Bennett (Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Kai Tahu) 
Producer:  Orlando Stewart. 
10 mins
Told through the eyes of 11-year-old Utah,  The Dump  is a story about a boy discovering there’s more to his dad than just rubbish. Filmed in Tauraroa in Northland.

The Lawnmower Men of Kapu
Director/Screenplay:  Libby Hakaraia (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Kapumanawawhiti) 
Producer:  Tainui Stephens. 
14 mins
Atawhai is a boy on the verge of manhood, and he is counting on his three uncles to help the aunties. But the uncles have a major falling out with each other. Atawhai learns a valuable lesson about family and tradition; and his place in both.

The NZIFF opens in Auckland (19 July – 5 August); screens simultaneously in Wellington and Dunedin (27 July – August 12); then Christchurch (9 – 26 August). Further regional dates will be advised as confirmed.

The Festival has already announced nine films including the Peter Jackson-produced documentary West of Memphis and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods featuring Anna Hutchison. Festival programmes will be available from 26 June in Auckland, and 29 June in Wellington.

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