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Maoriland Film Festival to visit Canada


August 27th 2014

A group of Otaki residents will wing their way to Toronto Canada in October after being invited to the world’s largest indigenous film festival, ImagineNATIVE.

Libby Hakaraia Director of Maoriland Film Festival has been invited to be on the Prize Jury at this years ImagineNATIVE and select the prize-winning films. “It's a great honor for Maoriland Film Festival to be asked to participate in this way. It gives me a chance to look at some 200 films both short and feature length from around the world some of which I aim to screen at Maoriland Film Festival next year.

Maoriland Film Festival is New Zealand’s first indigenous film festival and aims to grow into the biggest film festival of it type in the Southern Hemisphere. In this way Festival director Libby sees the relationship with the ImagineNATIVE film festival in Canada as a natural partnership. “I was speaking to ImagineNATIVE’s festival director by skype earlier this week and we both got excited by the idea that we were rediscovering the trade routes between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, and that with technology we are doing this in a digital realm. Our film festivals give people, both filmmakers and the audience, a chance to meet each other and forge relationships”.

Included in the group are a local business couple Pat & Tania Hakaraia who were part of the organizing team for this year's highly successful Maoriland Film Festival in Otaki.

They will be looking closely at the behind the scenes workings of the week long ImagineNATIVE Film Festival and plan to incorporate much of what they discover into next years Maoriland Film Festival

Tania worked as the Maoriland Film Festival co-ordinator and will be learning the operational systems at ImagineNATIVE including their ticketing, social events and the volunteer programme. ImagineNATIVE has a large workforce made up of volunteers that is part of the culture of Canada and the USA known as "volunteerism". "Many large scale events in these countries rely on volunteerism" said Maoriland Festival Director Libby Hakaraia. "It's seen as both an admirable and respected thing to volunteer and the volunteers are applauded at every film screening."

Tania says she has had a lot of people approach her wanting to help with next years Maoriland Film Festival, which will be held in Otaki from the 22nd - 29th March (2015). "Based on the success of our inaugural festival we expect even bigger audiences next year and more visiting filmmakers so a team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers will help enhance the whole Festival experience. Looking at how ImagineNATIVE train and organize their workforce will be really beneficial."

Her husband Pat is also heading to Toronto with a job to do. He is tasked with watching as many short films as possible with the aim of making selections for one the children's short film programmes at next years Maoriland Film Festival. As a grandfather or "koko" Pat says he will be looking for films suitable for 5 -14 year olds.

"I want to choose films that show our audiences here in Otaki the whole world! Koko G's is the name of the programme that I'll be creating and I want all of the kids that see these films to be taken on a really exciting journey as they see other peoples lives and the places they live". said Pat.

Also in the Maoriland Film Festival delegation is Tainui Stephens who is one of the producers of the soon to be released action feature film The Dead Lands. Tainui leaves Otaki next week for the world premiere of The Dead Lands at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“It’s the first time a Maori language film has premiered at an International film festival. It is hugely exciting both for Maori film makers and for indigenous cinema. In fact Maori filmmakers are having a huge year with the success of PA Boys, What We Do in the Shadows, The Dark Horse and now the Dead Lands. Maoriland Film Festival will be able to showcase more films and inspire more filmmakers both from Aotearoa and from the world.”

© Scoop Media

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