Ōtaki Kids success at MFF

Some of Ōtaki’s top school filmmakers, Maizy Kingsford- Brown, Philly Kingsford-Brown and Oriwa Hakaraia after this year’s Maoriland Film Festival schools short film competition

With the third Maoriland Film Festival event in March also came the third schools’ film competition, with ten films submitted this year.

Whether they came individually or in groups the film makers all had a lot of fun. They were all very different with a variety of themes from fictional to health messages. One of the award winning films was produced by Avalon Intermediate Lower Hutt. They used interesting camera and setting techniques as they told their Heart Food: Be Healthy message of what’s good or not to eat all set to rap (music) sound and words.

Several entries were from local students, with 15 year old Philly Kingsford-Brown and Oriwa Hakaraia (12) submitting films again this year and Maizy Kingsford-Brown (13) with a first time entry.

Other entries came from a kura in Manawatu and two from kura in Auckland.

Maizy’s film What’s the Difference used several different ideas and techniques. The story line was based around a pink wooden triangular block different from the other blocks, but eventually finding more pink triangles among another group. Unable to find the blocks she envisaged on the internet, she set to and made all the wooden blocks she needed and painted them in different colours. The film was shot using stop motion photography – set the pieces as she wanted, take several photographs then rearrange for each scene. The storyline was narrated, and set to music. She wanted to use beats which didn’t work and orchestral – not right, so family friend and musician David Long created “just what I wanted”. The judges commented on the film being very diverse with techniques not seen before from this young level. Maizy won Best Innovation award and the original music award.

Philly set out to speak to people in and around Ōtaki; family, friends and people in the street, asking them What makes you happy,  Harikoa. 

“It was quite interesting, not many people said technology or money. Just shows us Ōtaki is very much organic, natural and friendly”, she said. “It was fun.” She won the short film documentary for her efforts.

Oriwa used the E Tu Whanau theme Your Ancestors Sit on Your Shoulders to keep Your Feet on the Ground, for her drama about a young boy who came home to find his grandfather dying. Before grandfather dies he gives the boy a family taonga, pounamu. Soon after the family moves to a new home where strange things happened – doors banging, strange noises. The boy asks the spirit of his grandfather, through the pounamu, to help. Oriwa won Best Drama award for her film.

The three girls are all keen to carry on with the film making. Philly makes lots of short films but she doesn’t share them publically.  “I make mostly documentaries, I’m not a good director,” she said of her film making skills. And while her interest leans towards midwifery, she “will probably be in film.”

But the most important message they all take on board: Don’t forget to have fun – or you’ll get too stressed out!”