native slam






  1. The film’s title must be in a Native language

  2. The story must be part of a wider story – in that it has context with another time, people, or place.

  3. Only one camera can be used at any one time.

  4. Available light only can be used. Neither added lights nor filters. All FX are in- camera.

  5. Every film must have some spoken and un-translated native language.

  6. Music can only express on screen emotion, it cannot illustrate action.

  7. No expenditure is permitted for the creation of costume, sets and props. – but you may want to bring some props from your national regalia that you may want to utilize.

  8. Every day of production begins and ends with prayer and ritual.

  9. Creative and managerial control of the film will be Indigenous. A portion of the intellectual property will lie with any tribal owners of the story. A portion of the profits of the film will be held in trust for Indigenous film education.

  10. Every film must heal.


The dream for the NATIVE Slam was born 14 years ago, on a Canadian road trip, snow falling; a Maori and an Aboriginal woman driving in a convertible – lid down, heater on 10, music blaring. True story! I was there. We even imagined themselves as Thelma and Louise of the Southern Hemisphere. We got plenty of stunned reactions from passing truck drivers and others on our long trip from Toronto to Ottawa. Pauline and I have been wanting to do an international collaboration ever since.

In March of 2016, just days before Māoriland film festival 15 Indigenous filmmakers gathered around Aotearoa NZ. to make a film. They had just 72 hours, with a budget of $800 NZD and yet five short films were produced. These films are The NATIVE Slam.

All the five NATIVE Slam Films 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. Each filmmaker had to appear on camera in their own film.

What a thrill it was to see the 15 filmmakers arrive at Māoriland with their finished films. Even more gratifying was to see the close bonds they’d formed with their teammates. They were all of a huge creative high and it was infectious. We now launch the NATIVE Slam to the world!

Executive Producer


When Libby and I dreamed up working together all those years ago, we knew that there was a synergy of like minds in the Indigenous filmmaking fraternity around the world that would work together well.

After a lot of talking and trying to get something going as a co- production the time had come to put our forces together and make something happen. It was a simple idea that expanded into an overwhelming experience for all involved.

For years we have admired and watched the films of Indigenous filmmakers at various festivals around the world.

Last year we decided it was me for action.

Libby had Māoriland up and running strong and if some of the filmmakers were willing to come to New Zealand a few days before, what could we achieve in 72 hours?

The NATIVE Slam was a simple idea. Bring filmmakers together to make five films that heal. What we got was a lot of heart from all involved.

The importance of laying down the ten principles for the filmmakers to work from and the strong support of the Maori host filmmakers was a key to the event.

The films saw a new way of seeing how each other works and how to collaborate with different nations to the one goal.

I have been so proud to work on these films that were done in such an intense amount of time but brought together some bonding relationships that will last for years to come.

Producer of The NATIVE Slam


native slam


“Māori artist Tracey Tawhiao digs beneath the daily news to find a vision for a new nation.”

Running Time: 7 minutes 43 seconds

From the West Coast community of Piha, artist Tracey Tawhiao invites Sámi and Cherokee filmmakers into her world via a unique pathway.

This film features the artistic collaboration of Cherokee filmmaker Echota Killsnight, Sámi writer, actor and director, Sara Margrethe Oskal, the music talents of her daughter Emma Elliane Oskal Valkeapää and Māori filmmaker Kath Akuhata-Brown.

Ara is a visual poem with music and painting that seeks a pathway of discovery about the world and ourselves.


native slam


native slam


native slam


Echota is an award winning filmmaker of the northern Cheyenne-Cherokee people from Talhtequah Oklahoma in the United States. Echota’s short film Devil’s Throne is a dark beautifully executed story about a land owner and local police officer who discover a suspicious trespasser who claims to have just buried his dead dog on the land owners property. But is it really what it seems

Kath hails from the East Coast Māori tribe of Ngāti  Porou. She’s been writing, directing and producing film and television since the mid-90s. Kath led the research on the feature documentary Poi E which was released in 2016.

Sara was born in Kautokeino, Norway into a reindeer herding family. She has a MA in acting at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki, Finland and holds a PhD degree in performing arts, at Oslo National Academy of Arts doing research on humour in Sami stories and yoiks (traditional chanting). “Guovssahas oaidná du” is her debut film. This brutal and beautiful film succeeds to take us into the world of the tangled up and hurt mind of a big sister and to show what consequences parental ignorance in a hectic everyday life can have for little brothers.

native slam


“In childbirth, strength can sometimes come from the most unexpected places.”

Running Time: 10 minutes 1 second

Awatea, a Maori woman is readying herself for a homebirth accompanied by her loving Samoan husband Fala, her daughter Aroha and her annoying brother Te Hau. As her midwife, Linty runs through routine breathing exercises Awatea sweeps through moments of strength, weakness and all the in betweens. What is supposed to be the most inspiring moment in her life soon becomes the most terrifying as complications to the delivery occur. When the comforting words of her husband and midwife do not seem to be enough, Awatea draws strength from another presence in the room, one that no one else other than Aroha can see. Ra’satste (which means “all of his being is strong” in Kanien’keha) is a film about the power that resides in three Indigenous cultures, coming together to bring new life to the world.




native slam


native slam


Jeremiah is a New Zealand born, Samoan Writer/Director. He has directed a number of shows particularly with a strong focus on Pacific stories. During the last three years, Jeremiah has focused mainly on film projects towards a goal of writing and directing his first feature. He has just finished post-production on a short film he directed called “Maria”. Jeremiah also directed three short films in the Pacific Island of Tonga which saw him pick up Best Director prize at the Sydney Pasifika Film Festival. Jeremiah is currently working with Script to Screen NZ. He was recently in Samoa and bestowed with the High Chief Title of Nanai from his home village of Falelatai.

Mike is a freelance producer/director and DOP based in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Mike is heavily involved in making TV shows, films & documentaries for the past 25 years. His latest short film “Ow What!” is dedicated to the Tuhoe (Māori) people of New Zealand and is currently doing the world festival circuit where it has already won a number of awards and accolades. Mike is currently working on 2 feature film projects.

Sonia is a bilingual award-winning Québécois-Mohawk filmmaker and graduate from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Sonia’s first feature film Le Dep premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. It has won numerous awards around the world. She was also nominated for a Rockie Award at the 2016 Banff World Media Festival for her documentary on the 1990 Oka crisis. Sonia is currently in development of her second feature film. as also nominated for a Rockie Award at the 2016 Banff World Media Festival for her documentary on the 1990 Oka crisis. Sonia is currently in development of her second feature film. also nominated for a Rockie Award at the 2016 Banff World Media Festival for her documentary on the 1990 Oka crisis. Sonia is currently in development of her second feature film.

Sech'el - A film about friendship, bravery and loss. Created for the NATIVE Slam


“Sometimes loneliness makes the loudest noise.”
A friendship is altered forever when the courage of one is not reciprocated by the other.

Running Time: 10 minutes 18 seconds

Sech’el is a story of brotherhood, honesty, love and loss. Two mates spend their last day together before one leaves town for good. During the day we see the fondness and the deep bond they share but by evening the reality of one of them leaving is too much for the other to bare. Sech’el attempts to tackle issues that are often not spoken about in our indigenous communities, many of which are ripping us apart. Cornel, Chelsea and Trevor wanted to collaborate to bring light to these unspoken tragedies.




native slam


native slam


Chelsea began producing television and short  films in 2008. Since then Chelsea has gone on to make some of the most successful NZ short  films including having 2  films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival; Nightshift  by Zia Mandviwalla (2012), and Meathead by Sam Holst (2011).

In 2014 Chelsea produced the award winning feature  film What We Do In The Shadows written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi.

Future projects include Taika’s upcoming WW2 drama, Jojo Rabbit and feature documentary MERATA – the lifestory of Merata Mita as told by her son.

Cornel is an Aboriginal man from the Kimberley region of Western Australia who started his career as a video editor at his local TV station in Broome. After editing many other people’s stories he felt he needed to tell his own. In 2011 Cornel enrolled at Australian Film Television Radio School to do his Graduate Diploma in Cinematography. Since completing his Diploma Cornel has now gone Freelance and has worked on a variety of television and feature film projects.

Trevor is an award-winning Tsilhqot’in nation  filmmaker from the interior of British Columbia, Canada.

In 2013, he debuted his  first short  film, The Blanketing. It screened at festivals worldwide.

Trevor’s second short  film, Clouds of Autumn, debuted at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and has won many awards.   

Sech'el - A film about friendship, bravery and loss. Created for the NATIVE Slam


“A cry for the ones we miss.”

Running Time: 9 minutes 13 seconds

Anzac is a Māori guy living by himself in a small town. He is at home to look for a birthday present for his girlfriend’s daughter when he gets a phone call from his “unwell” son who shares his excitement at being allowed out to go to a concert. The conversation soon turns as the son accuses Anzac of not loving him as much as his new family. Anzac refuses to feel guilty. He manages to calm his boy down.

Anzac heads to the party.

Martha is a Mohawk woman living in the same town. She prepares a dessert to take to the birthday party. Her phone rings and it is a relation back in her Six Nations reservation home near Toronto. Martha helps to fill in the ‘Missing’ poster template that is used every time yet another indigenous woman goes missing in Canada. Sad at this news, Martha puts on her symbolic red dress (a symbol of missing and murdered indigenous women).

Martha goes to the party.

Anzac and Martha arrive at the same birthday celebration. Before he can go inside, Anzac gets a call and learns that his son has disappeared. Fearing the worst he rushes off to find his boy. At the same moment, Martha receives the good news that her relation has been found. She performs a traditional ceremony saying thanks.

The story of SKOHA is about the gift of active love.




native slam


native slam


Rima was born in Australia. His mother was a Bulgunwarra woman and his father is an Ngā Ruahine man.

Rima studied at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) under Indigenous Filmmaker and mentor Lester Bostock.

Rima has written, produced and directed a large body of work in television, focussed on social issues that impact Indigenous people. He has also won awards for his short films, that he has both written and directed.

Tainui is an independent film and television producer, director, writer and presenter. He is a fluent Te Reo Māori speaker of the Te Rarawa tribe and lives in Ōtaki Beach, New Zealand.

Tainui is committed to the role of the Māori storyteller in all modern media. He works in a wide range of genre and content and is personally attracted to compelling stories that critique and celebrate the human condition. His most recent feature film credit is as a producer on the Māori martial arts film, The Dead Lands.

Zoe is an independent writer/director. She was born in Bella Bella, a small remote fishing village on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. She is Heiltsuk through her mother’s side and now lives with her father’s people in the Six Nations community, Ontario. She is a fluent Mohawk speaker, a teacher, and a Mum who is passionate about family. The themes of home, family, loss and love run through her entire body of work

At present Zoe is in development with her feature film debut Kayaking For Beginners.

Tawhaowhao- A man attempts to resolve his relationship with his daughter. Created for the NATIVE Slam


“A man must face a harsh reality in his attempt to fix an estranged relationship between himself and his 16-year-old daughter.”

Running Time: 5 minutes 50 seconds

A man has set up camp on a stony, rugged beach. It is a place special to him and his family but now he is alone, dishevelled, broken.

He builds a fire and collects seafood but before cooking he starts to chant, tapping stones, burning seaweed. Breathing in the smoke.

Along the uninhabited coastline, a young woman approaches. She is his daughter. They sit down to share a reunion meal of freshly caught mussels. But the veil between the living and the dead can only be lifted for a short time.




native slam


native slam


Blackhorse (Navajo) has written, directed, edited and produced many features and short films including Chasing The Light (2014), 5Th World (2005) and Shush (2004). Based in Albuquerque he has continuous work within the industry, either on his projects or helping friends and colleagues.

Himiona (Māori) is a writer, director of Ngāti Toa, Ngāti  Porou descent. His debut feature film The Pa Boys was released in 2014 and was screened at film festivals around the world.

Sunna (Sapmi) is a festival producer who organises the Skábmagovat — Reflections of the Endless Night Indigenous film festival in her hometown of Inari, Finland. This is Sunna’s  first film production.








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