Waru has been selected to open the 2017 imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest presenter of indigenous screen content.
Waru, produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, is an anthology feature film made up of eight 10-minute short films around the tangi (funeral) of a small boy named Waru who died at the hands of his caregiver. Each vignette is written and directed by Māori women filmmakers, writer/ directors Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen and Paula Jones, director Awanui Simich-Pene and writer Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu.
The film had its world premiere at the recent New Zealand International Film Festival and is preparing for its international premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival in September.
"We are incredibly proud to be opening this important film festival and are excited to see how our film will resonate with indigenous audiences worldwide,” says Kerry Warkia.
Each of the eight vignettes was shot in a single day and tell their stories in a single, continuous shot in real time. All the stories feature a Māori woman as the lead character, with actresses Miriama McDowell, Tanea Heke, Kararaina Rangihau, Roimata Fox, Ngapaki Moetara, Acacia Hapi, Maria Walker, Awhina-Rose Ashby and Amber Curreen taking key roles.
Waru was made with investment from Te Māngai Pāho, NZ On Air, Māori Television and the New Zealand Film Commission, and will be released in New Zealand by Vendetta Films.
The imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival is the world's largest presenter of Indigenous screen content. Based in Toronto, it is a registered charity committed to creating a greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and cultures through the presentation of contemporary Indigenous-made media art.
ImagineNATIVE 2017 runs 18-22 October