Acclaimed Oscar nominated director thanks Māori TV

By Aroha Awarau
  • Auckland

Critically acclaimed US director Ava DuVernay who is a nominee at tomorrow’s Academy Awards and has been shooting a Disney film in Aotearoa with Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, has taken to social media to acknowledge Māori Television.

In a recent Facebook and Instagram post, the African American film maker who has been filming A Wrinkle in Time under the backdrop of Mt Aoraki, said Aotearoa was sacred and acknowledged tangata whenua and her Kiwi film crew.

She also said “Big thanks to #MaoriTV for the love”.

Māori Television has been supportive of DuVernay's work since the indigenous channel screened her film Selma, which is about US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr’s historical march from Selma to Montgomery.

DuVernay is the first African-American woman to win best director at the Sundance Film Festival and is the first woman of colour to be directing a film with a budget of more than $100 million. That film is Disney’s adaptation of the book A Wrinkle in Time. Some scenes were shot in New Zealand and in the past two weeks DuVernay and her cast and crew have been shooting in the South Island.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has a starring role in the film and joined her good mate DuVernay in Aotearoa. The pair have worked together in the past on the film Selma and the television series Queen Sugar.

DuVernay’s latest film 13TH, a documentary about the incarceration of African Americans, is nominated this year for best documentary at the Academy Awards.