Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen will have its international premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
The film had its world premiere at the 2018 New Zealand International Film Festival, and last month, director Heperi Mita was awarded the 2018 Pacific Islanders in Communication Trailblazer Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Produced by Chelsea Winstanley with executive producers Tearepa Kahi and Cliff Curtis, Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen is an intimate portrayal of pioneering filmmaker Merata Mita told through the eyes of her children. Merata was the first Māori woman to write and direct a narrative feature with her 1988 film, Mauri while her political films highlighted the injustices for Māori people during the 1980’s. Merata passed away suddenly in 2010.
Making his feature film debut, director Heperi Mita, a film archivist, has drawn on the extensive film and television footage of his mother, as well as on her own films to uncover the stories she never had the chance to share. His older siblings play a key role in the film, filling their younger brother on their lives before he was born.
“Hepi has created a beautiful, intimate and very personal film that, despite her passing, is incredibly timely and relevant today. Merata continues to inspire indigenous voices around the world to tell their own stories, her courage and determination paved the way for so many and we will always be forever indebted to her,” says producer, Chelsea Winstanley.
"Heperi’s film is a compelling insight into one of New Zealand’s most important Māori filmmakers,” says NZFC CEO Annabelle Sheehan. “It is fitting that it have its North American premiere at Sundance which has had a long tradition of championing the stories and voices of indigenous filmmakers. Merata was passionate about changing the way we see and think about film in New Zealand, and with this film, her son is continuing the work she began. I also congratulate the project’s inspiring producers Chelsea Winstanley, Tearepa Kahi and Cliff Curtis.”