Indigenous Women at MFF 2016

According to ‘The Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity‘, only 3% of directors in film are women. In New Zealand, there has only ever been on Māori woman to direct a feature film – Merata Mita in 1988 with Mauri.

‘What is the reason for that, what are the barriers, why is that? Is it because we don’t have the skill, the talent, well that’s bullshit because we do and there’s a lot of us out there.’
– Chelsea Winstanley, Hautoa Ma!

It doesn’t have to be like that. While that statistic of 3% is true for Hollywood, statistics that drive down by ethnicity or indigeneity are not currently available. Anecdotally some suggest that the gap in indigenous film is far smaller.

This Māoriland Film Festival we are proud to have 24 films directed by indigenous women on our programme. 2 of this 24 are feature films. This number can and should increase. Support indigenous women in film.


Nikki Si’ulepa – Ma (Samoa)

Rachel Morris – Netta Jones (Te Aupōuri)

Libby Hakaraia – Hautoa Ma! (Ngāti Kapumanawawhiti, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Āti Awa)

Suzanne Chutaro – Jilel (Marshall Islands)

Dot West – Maap Mordak (Western Australia)

Mai Lis Eira- Jahki Li Leat Jagi Viellja – This Year Is Not Last Year’s Brother (Sámi)

Erin Lau – Little Girl’s War Cry (Hawaii)

Sonia Boileau – Le Dep (Mohawk)

“It was a struggle, even when I was writing, because my screenplay consultant and my producer, Jason (Brennan), they’re both men, and without realizing it, when we were talking about story and plot and characters, they get twisting it into the guy’s point of view…I had to fight to make sure it stayed her story. They weren’t doing it on purpose.”
– Sonia Boileau

Anna Biak Tha Mawi – Solomon (Myanmar)

Jennifer Dysart – Kewekapawetan (After The Flood) (Cree)

Janine Windolph And Trudy Stewart – RIIS From Amnesia (Cree)

Alanis Obomsawin – Trick Or Treaty (Abenaki)

“Before I started on this, I had so much trouble because I was Indian, so I thought all my problems were for that reason. I didn’t realize it was also a problem to be a woman, I didn’t realize it also a problem to be a single woman; I didn’t realize it was another problem because I had adopted a child, so I fitted all the things. Eventually I realized that the problems became even more noticeable…But you know the main thing is that I was so sure about what I was doing. And you are constantly involved with laws that exist that are oppressive – with anything that you do. So you have to know that it is a dangerous place and that it is very much heart breaking many times. But if the feeling of what you want to do is real, it’s so strong that all the rest cannot match this, so you continue on working no matter what.”
– Alanis Obomsawin

Jessica Sherry – Waiting For John

Sinead Donnelly – A Parish Apart (Ireland & New Zealand)

Kim Webby – The Price Of Peace (New Zealand)

Sofia Jannok – Snölejoninna | Snow Lioness (Sámi)

Sara Margrethe Oskal – Guovssahas Oaidná Du | Aurora Keeps An Eye On You (Sámi)

Ima Aikio – Amoc – Vuosmuš (Sámi)

Vea Mafile’o – Aho’eitu (Tonga)

Jenna J Neepin – The League (Cree)

Lisa Reihana – Tai Whetuki (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngati Tu)

Banchi Hanuse – Uulx – The Scratcher (Nuxalk)

Rachel Deutsch – Cloud Makers

Erika Cohn – In Football We Trust

View the full 2016 programme here.