Posted Monday 22 Nov 2021
A big shout out to Matasila Freshwater for winning the Sun Jury Prize at this year’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. Mata won for her work as director and writer on Hiama, a story from the Solomon Islands.
The film tells the story of a teenage girl and her Hiama (shamanic guardian spirit), who teaches her to invoke her inner power when faced with racism and microaggressions at her high school.
The shoot took three days, and Mata told WIFT that directing live action as opposed to animation allowed for some "beautiful surprises" to happen, and that despite her strong creative vision for the film, she learned to be adaptable.
"Things couldn't always happen the way I wanted them to and in the end you just have to trust your team.”
For example, Mata set the final 'showdown' scene between teenage Vani (played by Elsie Polosovai) and her classmates and teacher in an amphitheatre, but an amphitheatre wasn't feasible so instead the electrifying finale is set in a school hall.
The episode is part of the wider series Teina Sā: The Ancient Ones, which centres around stories of modern day issues that impact Pasifika women.
Hiama is Mata’s second time working with ‘live’ material, and her fourth film in total, as she has already written and directed two animated shorts.
Matasila’s award-winning episode is available to watch for free on The CoconetTV’s Youtube channel.
WIFTers Karin Williams, Lisa Taouma and Maria Tanner produced Hiama.
See the full list of the 2021 imagineNATIVE award winners here.