A film about Merata Mita, the pioneering Māori filmmaker and international champion of women in indigenous film, will launch the inaugural Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival next month.

Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen was created by her youngest son, archivist Heperi Mita, in collaboration with his siblings, and delivers a richly personal portrait of a significant filmmaker in New Zealand as well as a key figure in the growth of the Maori screen industry.

Bay of Plenty Film is proudly supporting RIFF, which is the brainchild of Piripi Curtis, Mike Jonathan and Lara Northcroft of Steambox Collective, a group of Rotorua-based film makers.

Audiences will also be treated to a special screening of Maui's Hook, produced by Karen Waaka-Tibble and an opportunity to view The Breaker Upperers, starring Madeline Sami, James Rolleston and Jackie Van Beek.

Advertisement
Steambox collective (from left) Mike Jonathan, Richard Curtis, Hohepa Tuahine, Kristin Ross, Lara Northcroft, Tim Worrall, Cian White, Piripi Curtis. Abesnt are Cliff Curtis, Nicola Smith, and Chey Milne. Photo / Supplied
Steambox collective (from left) Mike Jonathan, Richard Curtis, Hohepa Tuahine, Kristin Ross, Lara Northcroft, Tim Worrall, Cian White, Piripi Curtis. Abesnt are Cliff Curtis, Nicola Smith, and Chey Milne. Photo / Supplied

In addition to these feature movies, more than 18 Māori-led short films will screen alongside films from other indigenous peoples from Canada, Australia, Scandinavia and the Pacific Islands.

There will be opportunities for filmmakers to network and attend workshops and social events.

The festival will open with a pōhiri at Tamatekapua Marae, and will conclude with a gala function at Mitai Māori Village. Films will be screened at the old Odeon Theatre, and local hotels will be hosting national and international guests.

Jonathan said, as well as honouring Merata Mita, the Steambox Collective organised the festival out of a desire to develop indigenous cultural and arts projects throughout New Zealand.

They wish to support opportunities for people to participate, to learn and to experience film, arts, media and cultural projects within New Zealand.

Some of the proceeds from the festival will be used to buy emergency response kits for use during catastrophic weather and environmental events throughout the South Pacific Islands.

The Rotorua Indigenous Film Festival runs November 1 to 3.