Māoriland Film Festival Pitch Competition 2020

Māoriland Film Festival’s 2020 Pitch competition went online this year with 18 projects pitching for $7000 worth of prizes. 17 short film and animation projects were pitched to a panel of the Māoriland Film festival team via Zoom earlier this week.

“All of the stories pitched were of a very high standard from a range of emerging and experienced Māori filmmakers. We are really excited by hearing the range of stories and creative ideas especially as we set up a production house of Māoriland in 2020,” says Māoriland festival director Libby Hakaraia.

By supporting the filmmakers to develop their film stories we hope to one day bring them to the Māoriland Film Festival and other screens around the world says Libby.

There are four rangatahi filmmakers among the pitch winners including two sisters from Te Araroa on the East Coast who are developing Māori language films.

Winners of the open pitch competition include an ambitious pre-European project written by a masters screenwriting graduate as well as a drama based on the Dawn Raids in Auckland in the 1980’s.

Māoriland also awarded a Waikato based Māori game, a 3D mobile A/R /V/R video game the M.A.T.C.H (Māoriland Tech Creative Hub) pitch prize.

Pitch winners 2020

M.AT.C.H Prize

M.A.T.C.H Prize to Utut Animations Limited, a Tainui based Maori I.T company, specializing in developing, fun, modern interactive content. Utut was awarded $1500 for the development of their project iWhenua.

“Great to hear of how this Waikato based team took their love of gaming from their garage to create this exciting Māori mythical game. Now two years into development with a prototype testing Ed Berryman and his team are proactive and self-motivated.”

MFF Pitch Prize

MFF Pitch Prize $2000 for short film to Ricardo Giraldo for his epic fantasy film project  Pouakai.

“Ric is a talented scriptwriter that we wish to support to get his films production-ready. We look forward to being involved in the ongoing development of Pouakai and to see your creative vision brought to fruition!

The MFF Pitch prize was for projects that speak to the theme of tohu; Aotearoa supernatural.

A second MFF Pitch Prize $1500 was awarded to Bailey Poching for his excellent pitch about the Auckland Dawn Raids through the eyes of children. Bailey who is of Samoan Māori decent combines a strong fantasy element in his filmmaking which is really exciting.

“At 21 years of age Bailey has already had his work shown at international film festivals. We are really excited about awarding Bailey a prize that will support his latest project The Voyagers Legacy. We look forward to screening this film at Māoriland Film Festival.” said the MFF Pitch panel.

23-year-old Aydriannah Tuiali’i was also the recipient of an MFF Pitch prize of $500 to develop her pitched project from concept to script. Aydriannah is an award-winning experimental filmmaker who has teamed up with a close friend to tell a story in the realm of the supernatural.

“A terrific talent. Aydriannah wants to use this film project to advance her producing skills. She will be working with her friend, Tutanekai Cliffe. The film tells the story of siblings who embark on a journey to get rid of an evil spirit. It is a narrative that underscores the challenges young people go through as they cope with heavy burdens of life: the evil spirit being a metaphor of those burdens. “ said the MFF Pitch panel.

Rangatahi Pitch

Four rangatahi were awarded grants in the MFF 2020 Pitch competition. These included two sisters who pitched individual film projects from lockdown in Te Araroa on the East Cape.

Tioreore Ngatai Melbourne (21) was awarded a Rangatahi pitch prize of $500.00 to help her develop her te reo Māori film that considers colonisation and intergenerational trauma through the eyes of two children.”

“Currently in her third year at NZ Drama School Toi Whakaari Tioreore is very smart and committed to telling a valuable story that will give a “voice to the voiceless”. A clearly presented concept pitch we look forward to seeing the script of this unique story. “ said the pitch panel.

Her younger sister Kararaina Ngatai Melbourne (19) also won a Rangatahi Pitch prize for her contemporary film that focuses on the relationship between a young man and his older uncle. Kararaina is a member of Māoriland Rangatahi film leadership group Ngā Pakiaka.

“Kararaina’s pitch was utterly professional and at a standard that many older filmmakers would take inspiration from. She laid out her film idea clearly and we were gripped. To be shot on the East Coast this project has the makings of a fantastic film.”

From the East Cape to the far North of Kaitaia where 17-year-old Te Mahara Tamehana also won a $500 Rangatahi Pitch for his contemporary script Street Lights.

Also a member of Māoriland Rangatahi film leadership group Ngā Pakiaka Te Mahara was the co-director of the short film Bub that had its international premiere at ImagineNATIVE in Toronto last October.

In lockdown, Te Mahara has written a number of short film scripts and been up-skilling himself in his dream to be a cinematographer.  With his skills as a writer, Te Mahara has a very bright future ahead of him.

“A very impressive pitch from a demonstrably talented young man. He has serious intent to tell a story that considers difficult issues like suicide, abuse etc. Te Mahara has thought it all through – from the research to the scripting to the production schedule. Young people telling these stories is so very important”.  said the pitch panel.

Another clear talent is Te Waiarangi Ratana who was awarded a $500 Rangatahi Pitch prize for his short film “Manu Masters”,  a coming of age comedy about 16-year-old who wants to be recognised by his peers for his “diving” skills. We don’t want to give too much away.

Te Waiarangi Ratana is a 21-year-old filmmaker living in Wellington. He has worked on a number of local and international productions and has a passion for telling his own stories that are closer to home.

“Te Waiarangi wants to entertain – and that’s fantastic. He knows what will entertain, and has clearly thought about it. He is perceptive about where humour can be found in miscommunication in intimate relationships. He’s a talented young man, making his way in film doing the hard yards on sets, when he can, to make a living. “ said the pitch panel.

Māoriland congratulates all the MFF2020 Pitch winners and looks forward to being involved in the ongoing development of the projects so that one day we can all celebrate them on the big screen.

MATCH and Rangatahi Te Reo Māori pitch supported by Te Mangai Pahō
MFF2020 Pitch supported by Te Tumu Taonga Whakaata Taonga NZFC
MATCH Vertical Orange
Māoriland Film Festival Pitch Competition 2020