Skip to main content

Pietra Brettkelly & 'Maori Boy Genius' (podcast)

Pietra Brettkelly
Pietra Brettkelly's feature documentary Maori Boy Genius will premiere today, in the Berlinale's Generation programme. Many congratulations to her! It's always exciting when a New Zealand film is accepted to a major film festival and in competition and this year there are two: the feature Two Little Boys opens in the same section tomorrow.  I invited Pietra to talk and was thrilled when she agreed.

Download podcast

I asked Pietra about her filmmaking start; being a producer as well as a director; the Binger Filmlab; working with Lars von Trier's editor Molly Stensgaard; Danish filmmakers who see themselves as 'storytellers', tend not to categorise films into 'documentaries' and 'features' and use whatever they need to tell a story; the challenges of working from New Zealand and of funding docos; her Indiegogo campaign and advice from Jennifer Fox of the legendary My Reincarnation; her distribution plans for Maori Boy Genius; philanthropy in New Zealand; and her experience of the screen industry as a completely equal opportunity sector.

The sound's better this time. Hope to have it (almost!) completely sussed for the next podcast in a fortnight. Thanks again to Wellington Access Radio and to Development Project supporters.

LINKS

Pietra's last film, the multi-award-winning The Art Star and The Sudanese Twins
Interview at Toronto, with some additional links
The Big Idea interview

Maori Boy Genius synopsis from the Berlinale catalogue:
Ngaa Rauuira is a chosen one. At an early age he was able to impress the elders with his intelligence and his affinity for his ancestors’ culture. Having been taken in and raised by his grandparents, who never learned the language of the Maori, no sooner does Ngaa Rauuira become a teenager than he decides to fight for the rights of New Zealand’s indigenous population. Single-mindedly yet instinctively, he sets about acquiring the necessary tools for his quest.This documentary follows its youthful protagonist to Yale where he is preparing to study politics, philosophy and law. Although he is still too young to become a parliamentarian, Ngaa Rauuira is already treated as a beacon of hope by his people who have every confidence that he will one day become New Zealand’s prime minister. Director Pietra Brettkelly demonstrates how closely her protagonist is embedded in his people’s ancient culture – a culture that is in turn informed by a deep-seated spiritual connection to nature. The viewer gains a sense of the power of this spirituality when Ngaa Rauuria performs the ritualistic Maori war dance known as ‘haka’.
Pietra's website
Molly Stensgaard, a little video interview
Molly Stensgaard, a statement at the Binger Filmlab
Binger Filmlab

Jennifer Fox talking about Kickstarter funding: terrific clip!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#Cannes2017 Excludes #WomeninFilm Who Bring Their Children

Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir’s track record is pretty impressive.

She has written, directed and produced over sixteen films. One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Cinema and Variety’s Arab New Wave, two of her films have premiered as Official Selections in Cannes, one in Venice and one in Berlin.

Annemarie’s short film like twenty impossibles (2003) was the first Arab short film in history to be an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival and continued to break ground when it went on to be a finalist for the Academy Awards.

Her second work to debut in Cannes, the critically acclaimed Salt of this Sea (2008), went on to win the FIPRESCI Critics Award, and garnered fourteen other international awards including Best Film in Milan. It was the first feature film directed by a Palestinian woman and Palestine’s 2008 Oscar Entry for Foreign Language Film.

Her latest film When I Saw You won Best Asian Film at the Berlinale , Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and Best Film in…

'Water Protectors', by Leana Hosea

Leana Hosea's Water Protectors isabout ordinary women in Flint, at Standing Rock and on the Navajo reservation who have had their water poisoned and are at the forefront in the movement for clean water.

Water is a big issue in Aotearoa New Zealand, too– the degradation of our waterways; drinking water contamination; the offshore sale of our pure water; the debate about Maori sovereignty over water, under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/ the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840.  Partly because this has raised my awareness about the significance of access to water, my heart is absolutely with the women in Leana's work. And with Leana, editing through the night as I write this.

Leana is a reporter/producer for BBC's World Service Radio and has held many other roles within the BBC. As a highly experienced multimedia journalist she's originated ideas, fixed stories, written scripts, filmed and edited them.

She was a shoot/edit/reporter/producer for the BBC in Egypt during the revoluti…

Safety in Paradise?

Children play in safety on the beach beyond my window. Some aren't safe at home, but they do not die in rocket attacks. Along our promenade, this year’s most sustained sirens wailed from motorbike cavalcades, as they escorted royalty to and from the airport. At school, our children may arrive hungry. But they're safe from abduction. The closest I’ve ever been to a war is my parents' silence about 'their' war, refuge women's stories about men returned from wars and Bruce Cunningham’s stories, after I met him selling Anzac poppies. (He was a Lancaster pilot in World War II and then a prisoner-of-war and I’m making a short doco about him.)

Yes, in many ways Wellington, New Zealand is paradise and I’m blessed to live here and to benefit from love and generosity from women and men, my beautiful sons now among those men. But in an interview with Matthew Hammett Knott earlier this year, I found myself saying–
We have to deal with serial violation, direct and subtle, on…