Regional | Indigenous

Sharing indigenous stories through film

Wairoa Film Festival celebrates its 14th year running and despite dramatic changes in the media landscape and demand for content, the festival's supreme "Mana Wahine" award winner Whetu Fala says now is as good a time as ever for indigenous filmmakers to tell their stories.

One of those stories is home-grown short film "Ani", which has come from the Berlin Film Festival to the Wairoa Film Festival. Director of the film, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu (Waru) says, “I really wanted to tell a story of what a good Māori man looks like, because I feel like Māori men are portrayed, particularly in our storytelling and cinema, as really violent and stereotyped negatively, and I wanted to flip the script."

With it's NZ premier taking place in Nuhaka tomorrow, the drama "Ani" offers a different narrative in response to the stereotypical portrayal of Māori males. “I've kind of had enough because when I think about my dad, I don't think about that. So, I think it's time that we start re-framing the way that Māori people are portrayed on screen,” says Stewart-Te Whiu.

A veteran in film and media production, Whetu Fala says despite changing media platforms, the opportunity for indigenous film making is more possible than ever.  “With the mobile technology changes, we now have a way for us to reach the places where we want to go, so it is now possible for you to make kōrero here in Nūhaka, and have it broadcast to the world,” she says.

The festival brings stories together from around the world to Nuhaka. "Our Atoll Speaks" is about the atoll of Pukapuka, located near Samoa, and the effect of climate change.

Director and producer Gemma Cubero del Barrio says, “It's about the strength of the people and their conservation methods that they've been practising for thousands of years.”

Tomorrow is the final day of the festival.