In March 2018 just one week out from the Māoriland Film Festival four teams of filmmakers from all over the world took part in the Native Slam III.

They had just 72 hours and a budget of $800 NZD per team.

The NATIVE Slam filmmakers had to abide by 10 rules that enhanced the importance of a native perspective in the work, respect for craft, and economy of production.

The themes of each film had to reflect the diversity of the native experiences of the filmmakers and the theme “For the love of Our Mother”

They have created four stunning short films and lifelong friendships.



Two strangers strike up an unusual conversation in a cemetery as they cope with the loss of their mothers.

Running Time: 6 minutes 20 seconds

A Samoan man grapples to come to terms with his mother’s death and her burial wishes. A visit to the cemetery leads him to a blunt and eye-opening conversation with a Māori woman also grieving the loss of her mother. Moa Ma Le Pinko (Chicken and Bingo) takes a comedic look at death, grief and moving forward.


Amberley Jo Aumua

Amberley Jo Aumua is of Samoan and Maori descent from Manurewa, New Zealand. She is a writer and director who holds a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts. Her shorts include I Am Enough (15), Kopurapura (16), and Waiting (17).

Courtney Montour

Courtney Montour is a Mohawk filmmaker from Kahnawake whose work focuses on exploring issues of Indigenous identity. Her recent films include short doc Flat Rocks (2017) and feature documentary Sex Spirit Strength (2015) which won Best of Festival and the Emerging Filmmaker award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival in Canada.

Jesse Littlebird

Jesse Littlebird was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico in a household of two artists.

Jesse is a 2017 Full Circle Fellowship through Sundance’s Native and Indigenous Program. He is also a collaborator within DRY MTN, a large format print publication funded by the Fulcrum Fund through the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He has directed various music videos and two shorts. He is from Laguna and Kewa Pueblos.



A young girl makes a choice that decides her most treasured audience of all.

Running Time: 7 minutes 10 seconds

Awa (13) is a young Māori girl who loves performing poi.

Poi is her expression of freedom living in the sleepy seaside town of Piha, NZ.

An only child, Awa helps take care of her debilitated mother. Today, she prepares herself and her taonga (treasured adornments) for her first cultural performance at school.

However, a tough decision comes, for the love of her mother.


Lanita Ririnui

Lanita Ririnui is a Māori, Cook Island filmmaker and creative native from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Co-founder & director of Through The Fire Ltd, she is an independent producer, director, writer, presenter/MC. Inspired by stories of identity and cultural connection, Lanita co-produced the very

first interactive documentary site showcasing stories of Poi in Aotearoa (www. and award-winning featurette film & webseries ’Poi – Hopes and Dreams.’

Shaandiin Tome

Shaandiin Tome is a filmmaker from Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a recent graduate from the University of New Mexico with a BFA in Film and Digital Media Production, she graduated cum laude and through her filmmaking passion hopes to continue her career creating art.

She is a 2016 Sundance Full Circle Fellowship alumna, 2016 Sundance Programming Intern, and in May 2017, she was selected for the Sundance Native Filmmaker’s Lab Fellowship. She currently lives in Albuquerque, aiming to bring resonating imagery in convergence with story, illustrating her perspective as a Diné woman.

Trevor Solway

Trevor Solway, Sinakson, is a Blackfoot filmmaker and journalist from Siksika Nation. Trevor is eager to find and make connections between traditional oral story-telling and new age digital media. He sees this digital age has an important opportunity for Indigenous people to own their stories and collaborate to make new contemporary stories.



Two men from different worldviews form an unlikely relationship to find a stronger sense of understanding.

Running Time: 11 minutes 49 seconds

Huna is an arrogant and egocentric business man who finds himself in need of help when his car suddenly gets impounded. With the realisation that his wallet was inside his car, and with his mother refusing to send a driver to pick him up, he wanders through a seemingly deserted town in search of someone who can help him. He comes across the carefree, idealistic and earth-conscious Ben, who is in the midst of his daily routine and collecting his earnings at the local trash depot. In need of directions and money to catch the bus home, Huna asks Ben for some cash. An amused Ben agrees to give Huna the money, but in return, he must earn it by filling a bag full of rubbish. Seeing no other option, Huna reluctantly agrees. The two men set off on a small journey where they discover more about each other than they bargained for.


Asia Youngman

Asia Youngman is an award-winning filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. Asia started out as a self-taught videographer, photographer and video editor. Following her dream of studying film, she enrolled into Vancouver Film School where she determined her passion for visual storytelling, cinematography and visual effects compositing. In 2017 Asia presented her first short film “Lelum’” which won Best Documentary Short at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival in Toronto. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Asia also works as a visual effects artist in Vancouver and has worked on titles such as Deadpool 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Isaac Te Reina

Isaac Te Reina is a filmmaker, specialising in directing, writing and producing and has also spread his wings becoming a professionally trained actor. He travelled with his first ever directed short film, ‘Entropy’ to L.A being accepted into the Pasadena International Film Festival.

Since then, Isaac has written, self-produced and directed a number of short films and documentaries alongside a tight network of Wellington-based artists & film professionals. Isaac recently won the 2018 Creative New Zealand Nga Manu Pirere award for best emerging Maori artist and his first theatrical play ‘All good’ is in nomination for the 2018 NZ Play market b425 award.

Razelle Benally

Razelle Benally is an independent filmmaker dedicated to creating stories with strong Indigenous female leads. She has helped facilitate several film workshops with Native youth in Oregon, South Dakota and New Mexico. Her film work has shown across the United States and internationally. She was the 2010 Santa Fe Indian Market jury-awarded winner for Best Documentary in SWAIA’s Classification X and is an alumna of the 2012 Sundance Institute Native Filmmakers Lab as well as an awardee of the 2015 Sundance Institute Native Short film Production Grant for her most recent completed work I Am Thy Weapon.



The shadowed pathway.

Running Time: 7 minutes 25 seconds

At her lowest point a mother walks away from her baby only to realise her mistake. Now she must face the spirit world to claim her back.


Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs

Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs (Mohawk) is an award-winning film and television actress and director. Her roles include the lead in Rhymes for Young Ghouls (2013) and The Sun at Midnight (2016). She made her directorial debut with STOLEN (2016) which screened at imagineNATIVE. She was honoured as part of 2017’s Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film at TIFF.

Ken Are Bongo

Ken Are Bongo is a producer and director working in Lakselv, Norway, where he owns a production company, Davás Film. His filmmaking focuses primarily on Sámi storytelling and the Arctic region of his homeland.

Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis (Ngāti Rongomai, Ngāti Pīkiao) is a Rotorua based filmmaker and member of the Steambox Collective. His film, Ahi Kā (2014) has screened at festival internationally, winning Best Short Film at HIFF. Steambox Films is an informal collective of Maori screen professionals based in Rotorua who are passionate about making narrative films.

For video screener access, please contact Madeleine de Young at maddy [at] maorilandfilm [dot] co [nz]