2018 Festival Programme

It’s been a phenomenal trajectory over five short years to see Māoriland Film Festival (MFF) become part of the international festival circuit.

With festival directors and filmmakers attending from around the world, the  fifth annual Māoriland Film Festival will be the biggest yet. There are 58 events to be held over five days, the programme includes 15 feature-length and 86 short films from 11 countries and 65 Indigenous nations.   

Making a New Zealand premiere is the astonishing Birkebeinerne – The Last King from Oscar nominated Sámi filmmaker Nils Gaup’s. A historical epic set in a civil war-ravaged Norway, it’s rip-roaringly entertaining fight scenes on skis whipping through snow clad mountains are like nothing seen before. We will also screen Gaup’s 1987 breakthrough feature Ofelas – Pathfinder. This was the very first Sámi language film and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1988 Academy Awards.

Māoriland Film Festival is privileged to bring Gaup’s films to New Zealand shores for the first time ever. But this isn’t the only premiere the festival has to offer.

Eight international documentaries will have their New Zealand premiere, including Larissa Behrendt’s landmark documentary After The Apology.

Behrendt’s film exposes the shocking number of Aboriginal children being removed from their families in Australia. The rate is currently higher than it was during the time of theStolen Generations (1910-1970’s) when Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families. There will be an extended Q&A with the filmmaker afterwards.

Other feature-length documentaries to have their New Zealand premiere at Māoriland Film Festival in 2018 include:

  • Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest – directed by Katja Gauriloff. The multi award-winning Finnish Sámi filmmaker presents us with the stories of Skolt Sámi experience as seen through the eyes of her great-grandmother Kaisa Gauriloff.
  • Maj Doris – directed by Jon Blahed. This profile of the legendary Sámi artist Maj Doris shows the story and passion behind her most influential works.
  • Mankiller – directed by Valerie Red-Horse Mohl. The uplifting tale of Wilma Mankiller – the Cherokee Nation’s first female Principal Chief.
  • Defending The Fire – directed by David Aubrey. Through this film, we see an exploration of the Native American warrior.
  • Out of State – directed by Ciara Lacy. An unflinching documentary that examines Hawaiian prisoners sent to do time in Arizona prisons.

The Māoriland Film Festival features 14 shorts programmes of Indigenous films from around the globe.

Special events within this section include Bingo Shorts,a selection of short films interspersed with games of bingo and the NATIVE Slam III – Māoriland’s 72-hour filmmaking challenge.

Involving teams of Māori and Indigenous filmmakers, the Native Slam takes place around New Zealand over the 3 days before the Māoriland Film Festival begins. These films are then screened at the festival, with shorts from the first two Native Slam events screening at festivals worldwide.   

Finally, in 2017 Māoriland began an initiative to encourage collaboration between young Māori filmmakers and their peers in the Pacific titled Through Our Lens. Over five weeks, nine films were made by rangatahi in Samoa, Hawai’i, Rarotonga and Tahiti under the mentorship of 14 rangatahi Māori Filmmakers. These films will receive their international premiere at the Māoriland Film Festival.

A new feature at this years’ Māoriland Film Festival is NATIVE Minds, a series of panel discussions with local and international filmmakers hosted by Tainui Stephens.

Topics include, ‘I love that Scene!’ – where filmmakers share their favourite scenes and influences, ‘My Film, My Language’ – on the use of native languages in cinema, ‘It’s Our Lens Now’ – on amplifying the women’s voice in Indigenous film, “Disruptor or Collaborator” – on making Indigenous stories with non-Indigenous creatives and “The Active Political Frame” – on the power to change our society through compelling storytelling.

The Māoriland Film Festival is run by the Māoriland Charitable Trust out of the Māoriland Hub in Ōtaki on New Zealand’s Kāpiti Coast. The full MFF2018  programme is available online now and in hard-copy from the Māoriland Hub.

MFF2018 runs from March 21 – 25 in 2018.


        • 58 Events to be held over five days.
        • 15 feature films and 86 short films with filmmakers from 11 countries and 65 Indigenous nations – 102 films in total.
        • 40 New Zealand films
        • 10 New Zealand premieres of international films
        • 60% of programmed filmmakers are women

Programme available online from February 6 at www.maorilandfilm.co.nz
Tickets on sale via iTicket from February 13