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MFF19 | Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen
March 22, 2019 @ 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm NZDT$6
Director: Hepi Mita
Duration: 1 hour 35 minutes
Nation: Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāi Te Rangi
“The revolution isn’t just running out with a gun, if a film I make causes Indigenous people to feel stronger about themselves then I’m achieving something worthwhile for the revolution.”
An intimate story of the birth of Indigenous cinema told from the perspective of Merata’s son Hepi Mita.
The sudden death of pioneering Māori filmmaker Merata Mita in 2010 led her son on a journey to uncover a story of a mother’s love that had forever changed the landscape of Indigenous participation in film.
As a film archivist Hepi uncovers never before seen footage and shares deep personal accounts of a life that led her to blaze the trail for many Indigenous film voices we celebrate today; Warwick Thornton, Taika Waititi, Sterlin Harjo and Zoe Hopkins, to name a few.
This film is an important historical account of a movement to which we owe our Indigenous film voice. Merata was the first Māori woman to write and direct a narrative feature Mauri (1988). Merata’s political films highlighted the injustices forced upon Māori, and divided the country as a result. She became a hero internationally for her work, but was considered a nuisance at home in NZ.
Merata worked across the globe for many respected organisations including the BBC and National Geographic. She interviewed Robert Mugabe and followed Louis Farrakhan. She directed on Hollywood movie sets. She was fearless, especially if it meant offering a voice for the voiceless.
But the suffering of her family during these times was all too real. Her drive for social justice would have to be weighed against the dangers to which her work exposed them.
Merata Mita is widely considered to be our own grandmother of Indigenous Cinema. This film is a dedication to her life’s work towards achieving that goal.
- Māoriland Film Festival
- The Civic Theatre
Ōtaki, 6015 New Zealand + Google Map