Topic: Entertainment

Ruatoki-based short film to show in NZ International Film Festival

By Aroha Treacher
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Ow What, is a short film about a young Māori boy from Ruatoki who wants to follow in his father's All Black footsteps.  

But in one night, his whole world changes forever.  The film has been selected for Best Shorts category at the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Set in the Ruatoki Valley, the idea came about after director Mike Jonathan was inspired by life in the Urewera, then four years on, "Ow What" was created.

It's only fitting that Tame Iti makes his film debut as a school teacher.

Timoti Tiakiwai who plays Te Mauri, was only 11 years old at the time the film was shot and has picked up the award for best actor at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival.

Director Mike Jonathan says, "We found him the day before we started filming and he was into it.  We also had other kids Hineteariki McCorkindale and Te Kaikino Hampton were found the day before we started."

Made on a small budget of $6000, the film has been put forward in the Best Shorts section for the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Jonathan says, "Yeah absolutely stoked for Ow What to be in the NZIFF.  It's awesome and it's a small budget film and it will be together with 30k films and 90k films, and it proves that with persistence we can do it with our Māori stories."

The NZIFF will begin on July 16 in Auckland and will run until the August 2.