The Archive and First People's Cinema in Toronto
Thirteen New Zealand Films to Screen in First People's Cinema Programme, Toronto
Spanning Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand, a programme of films from First Peoples filmmakers will open this month at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Canada. First People’s Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition, which will run from June 21st to August 19th, has been curated by TIFF Bell Lightbox Head of Film Programmes, Jesse Wente, and is a collaboration between TIFF Bell Lightbox, the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Film Archive, Screen Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive Australia, Australian Centre for Moving Images, the Sundance Film Festival, George Eastman House and the Robert Flaherty Foundation.
Releasing the programme, Wente said the series of films was “the largest and most wide-ranging of its kind ever seen in North America.”
“First People cinema strives not only to have more or better representation of Indigenous people on screen, but to challenge and change the conventional terms of film interpretation and understanding. To see these films is not only to discover a heretofore neglected wing of film industry, but to reconsider what film is and can be.” Wente said.
New Zealand Samoan-language feature film, The Orator, will open the programme. Written and directed by New Zealand based Samoan filmmaker, Tusi Tamasese, The Orator was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission, with assistance from the Samoan government. The film is a unique entry in the canon of First Peoples cinema because of Samoa’s long status as an independent nation. Writer/Director Tusi Tamasese is travelling to Toronto as a programme guest.
Other New Zealand films screening in the programme are Lee Tamahori’s Once Were Warriors, Taika Waititi’s Eagle vs Shark, Barry Barclay’s Ngati and Merata Mita’s fiction feature Mauri and documentaries Mana Waka, Bastion Point Day 507, and Patu!. Heperi Mita will be in Toronto to introduce his mother’s filmwork to the programme audience. Geoff Murphy’s Utu will screen in a sidebar to the First Peoples Cinema series, First Peoples: Reclaimed Visions. The sidebar offers a critical perspective on some of the most famous cinematic depictions of First Peoples by non-Native directors. Short films Taua (Tearepa Kahi), Sacred Spaces (Tusi Tamasese), Tama Tu (Taika Waititi) and Coffee and Allah (Sima Urale) will also screen in the programme.
For the full programme of films, please go to http://tiff.net/1500nations.