Aotearoa – known to some as New Zealand – will be represented this coming week at the Doris Duke Theatre, with a film festival that features four diverse and daring films—from a documentary depicting an up-and-coming world leader to narrative fictions with provocative social commentaries.
The festival opens on June 15 with Māori Boy Genius, an inspiring film about a charismatic Yale-bound youth who champions his people and is revered by his community. The screening is preceded by a 6 p.m. opening reception featuring live performances by the Māori dance troupe Rātapu and food for purchase from Da Spot.
“New Zealand is known for its unique film culture, strong documentary tradition and wicked sense of humor— as viewers will see in Fresh Meat—and I don’t think this year’s line-up will disappoint,” says film curator Abbie Algar. “The films we’ve selected continue to touch on themes that emerged in last year’s festival, exploring the meaning of community and spiritual identity within Māori culture, and offering great starting points for a continued dialogue in our own community.”
Louisa Te’i, co-organizer of the festival, describes her excitement for the festival and confirms that Hawai’i audiences have a lot to look forward to: “I am proud that each of the feature films has a Māori element that makes it unique to Aotearoa. Because of our common Polynesian ancestry and Pacific proximity, Hawaii audiences will be able to easily relate and connect with these movies.”
WHAT: Second Annual Aotearoa New Zealand Film Festival
WHERE: Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre, 901 Kinau St., at rear of museum
WHEN: June 15-21
HOW MUCH: Regular festival screenings: $10, $8 museum members; opening night: $15, $12 museum members