NZ Film WARU to Screen at Toronto International Film Festival

Posted on 9/5/2017 by Laura Collada

Waru, written and directed by nine Māori women, will premiere in the Discovery section of the festival.

“With Waru, there has not been a narrative feature film helmed by a Māori woman since Merata Mita’s Mauri in 1988. Having a film made by nine wahine Māori screening in Toronto feels like a positive step toward addressing this with the opportunities the festival can provide for these filmmakers.” says NZFC CEO Dave Gibson.

Waru, produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, is a 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. All the filmmakers, except for Ainsley Gardiner who is in production, will be attending TiFF.

Each of the eight vignettes was shot in a single day and tell their stories in a single, continuous shot in real time.
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 Toronto International Film Festival takes place annually in September and is one of the world’s leading public film festivals. It is universally regarded as an ideal platform for filmmakers to launch their careers and to premiere their new work.  In 2017, TiFF runs 7-17 September.