Posted Monday 03 Jul 2017

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This is something a bit special: director/writers Ainsley Gardiner and Katie Wolfe and producer Kerry Warkia are part of a collaborative narrative feature film, directed by eight M?ori women, that tackles a tough subject.

2017, 88 minutes, World Premiere
Directors: Awanui Simich-Pene, Ainsley Gardiner, Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen
Screenplay: Briar Grace-Smith, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Casey Kaa, Paula Jones, Renae Maihi, Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu
Producers: Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton

A sisterhood of M?ori female directors bravely share their insights into the complexity of child abuse, in a sequence of eight short films that seamlessly become one. At the centre of their stories is Waru, a boy killed at the hands of a caregiver. His tangi, set on a small rural marae, is the centrepiece of the film, but there is an underlying disturbance of heavy themes touching on culture, custom and shame.

We see a single death through the differing lenses of the extended family, community, and in one sharp sequence, national media too. Waru weaves multiple reactions and offers a glimpse into the events that ensue upon the killing of a child and the conflict created among loved ones.

As Waru's grandmothers, Kararaina Rangihau and Merehake Maaka deliver electrifying performances, demonstrating their skill in the art of karanga. As their wailing and laments call on their ancestors to safely take their mokopuna, a challenge for his body unfolds.

M?ori humour isn't absent, and neither are the subtexts within the banter, leaving me to wonder if our ability to laugh in times of sorrow is a cloak to mask our pain. Antonio Te Maioha and Miriama McDowell are powerful in challenging roles, which left me questioning if I would have the same courage to intervene.

The subject could hardly be heavier, but this is a hugely important film. Unless we are willing to be tested, we have no chance of reducing our shameful child abuse rate here in Aotearoa. It's a film everyone in the family should see and talk about. - Mihingarangi Forbes, M?ori Issues Correspondent, RNZ/The Hui

Next Up...

Not Just Another Mountain

Posted Monday 03 Jul 2017

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Annie Goldson played a supervisory role during the making of this short documentary exploring the significance One Tree Hill/Maungakiekie holds to Aucklanders - and the nation as a whole.

Not Just Another Mountain
2017, 31 mins, World Premiere
In English and M?ori, with English subtitles
Director: Chris Davis
Supervisor: Annie Goldson

Now 20 years after its lone pine was attacked and eventually cut down, the ownership of One Tree Hill/Maungakiekie has been returned to M?ori and the summit has been replanted with native trees, one of which will hopefully become its new namesake. Exploring the significance that the mountain holds to Aucklanders - and the nation as a whole - Not Just Another Mountain looks back over this period through the eyes of park-goers and those who work in the park. Director Chris Davis surveys the differing views of the importance of the park, be it as an area of recreation, a place of civic pride or as a contested site of great historical and spiritual importance to local iwi, making his film an astute and charming portrait of this most iconic Auckland landmark.

Preceded by Cartography of the Unknown (NZ 2017. Director: Orlando Stewart. 12 mins), which introduces us to Andrew Blythe, a self-taught artist who lives and works in Grey Lynn. A turbulent youth saw Blythe in and out of hospital and living rough on the Auckland streets, where he would create dense artworks, which are paradoxically controlled yet chaotic. Now his life is more settled but his art remains dynamic and alive.