Māoriland Film Festival — planning under way for Easter 2016

Mohawk  lmmaker Zoe Hopkins her son Julian and Sami Filmmaker Per Josef both attendees at MFF 2015 are reunited with Libby and Tainui at imagineNATIVE
Mohawk lmmaker Zoe Hopkins her son Julian and Sami Filmmaker Per Josef both attendees at MFF 2015 are reunited with Libby and Tainui at imagineNATIVE

In the nine months since the last Māoriland Film Festival the team have been working away on plans for next year’s event which will be held during Easter 2016.

In June Festival Director Libby Hakaraia, was flown to Canada as part of a global circle of indigenous film festivals to participate in discussions on the advancement of indigenous films.

According to the United Nations there are more than 370 million people worldwide who identify as indigenous.

“This indigenous film festival network is about creating exhibition and distribution opportunities for films and filmmakers” said Libby. “It’s about sharing cultures, knowledge and understanding through film. I’ve seen the positive effect indigenous films have had on our own community over the past two Māoriland Film Festivals and so strengthening our indigenous ties will enable more films to be shown and more films being made. It’s a win win for Māoriland film audiences.”

F_R_MR15_MaoriFilmFestival_2015Further meetings were held during the ImagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto in October where Māoriland co-presented the Maori language action film “The Dead Lands” alongside Libby’s husband Tainui Stephens who was one of the producers. They also took the opportunity to launch MFF’s submission process for the first time at this festival.

“We’ve had filmmakers from around the world asking us whether we would screen their films, so it was great this time be to able to ask them to submit online. Some of these films are multi award winning, so it was humbling to be asked by the filmmakers to consider them. Basically people have heard about what a great time other filmmakers have had at Māoriland and they all want to come!”

Feature and short films from Sami nations of Finland, Sweden and Denmark, the South American and Central American countries as well as Canada, the United States, Australia and the Pacific will be screened at Māoriland 2016. “We saw some incredible films in Toronto and we also know of some exciting Maori films that will be finished in time for MFF 2016.” said Libby.

Filmmakers from around Aotearoa and the world will be in Ōtaki for a week to show their films and meet audiences.

“It’s also a time for them to unwind and replenish in this stunning environment that we call home” said Tainui Stephens. “We know we have a great deal to offer people at our festival and one of the most important elements is our manaakitanga – our ability to host people. That’s the buzz we heard in Canada when people talked about Māoriland.”

Māoriland is also helping to create films and will have two different screenings of films made especially for next year’s festival. These will be the E Tu Whanau Nationwide Rangatahi Filmmaking Challenge for those under 25 and the MāorilandFilm Slam, an event that for the first time will challenge selected experienced filmmakers from around the world to collaborate and make a film in 72 hours.

With so much going on Ōtaki will be THE place to be during Easter 2016. MFF will run from 23rd-27th March with tickets going on sale in early January through the iTicket website www.iticket.co.nz

In the meantime you can keep up with whats happening through the website www.maorilandfilm.co.nz and via the Māoriland facebook page.