Celebrating our Pasifika Female Directors
Celebrating our Pasifika Female Directors on #FemaleFilmMakerFriday!
Sima Urale has worked in the creative industry from theatre to film and television for more than 30 years, initially as a professional actor in theatre, and then in the last 25 years as a freelance filmmaker. She is a highly regarded filmmaker with extensive experience in drama and acting, writing and developing screenplays, to directing numerous films from drama to documentary, TV commercials, music videos, and corporate videos. She has also been a mentor for emerging filmmakers, and a part time Senior Lecturer at Unitec’s Film & TV School. From 2012 to 2015, she was Head Tutor at the New Zealand Film & Television School in Wellington.
Sima has been the recipient of several international awards, as artist in residence at Hawaii University, McMillian Brown Center at Canterbury University, and the COCA arts residency at Massey University. Sima is currently developing various feature length projects with producers and hopes to embark on another feature film in the near future whilst taking care of her elderly mother.
Matasila Freshwater is a writer/director with a background in anthropology, film, and animation. She is passionate about exploring cultural complexities through storytelling. Of Nusa Hope, Roviana Lagoon (Western Province) / Matakota, Dugaha and Baguri / Vuregare heritage, Matasila was responsible for the Solomon Islands section of portmanteau feature, Vai. Matasila’s short animated film, Shmeat, was an NZIFF Official Selection for New Zealand’s Best Short Film and appeared in a number of festivals including the 2016 Sitges International Fantasy Film Festival and was awarded Best Animation in A Night of Horror Film Festival in Sydney.
Alongside reporting, filming and directing for Pacific show Tagata Pasifika, she wrote Pacific fallout tale Snow in Paradise, co-directing it with Justine Simei-Barton. The short film was invited to 11 festivals, including Tribeca and Berlin. She also helmed shorts Ma and Aroha, and hosted a 2017 episode of Neighbourhood. Last year Nikki was invited to join 250 other delegates at the Berlinale Talents - a summit for up & coming film makers. She was the only Pacific Islander & Kiwi chosen from 71 countries around the world and 7,000 applicants
Lisa Taouma has been a screen writer and director for 20 years with a variety of short film and documentary credits including 'Tatau Rites of Passage', 'The Otara Markets' for Documentary NZ, ' Nothing to Declare' and 'Clothing the Pacific' for Tagata Pasifika and 'Adorn- stories of our Nesian Hair' for the Coconet TV. Her 'Marks of Mana' documentary is due for release this year.
Vea Mafile'o has exhibited at the prestigous Venice Biennale in 2015. She is a freelance television director, and has filmed extensively throughout the Pacific, and also Europe. As an Art Graduate she started off in the Art Dept world of television and went on to work in feature films and short films as an Art Director and camera operator.
Vea produced & directed three short films shot in Tonga as part of her art work Digital Fananga, of which one of the films won 'Break Through Award', at the Sydney Pasfika Film Festival 2015. Her CV includes directing TV episodes for Fresh & The CoconetTV.
Her feature length documentary 'For My Fathers Kingdom' debuted this year at the Berlin Film Festival and will have its New Zealand Premiere at the NZ International Film Festival this July.
Karin Williams directed and produced TV in the U.S for a number of years before returning to Aoteroa to produce short films and direct the Kuki Airani love story - 'Mou Piri'
OFA KI LEVUKA GUTTENBEIL LIKILIKI
'Ofa Gettenbeil-Likiliki is a women's rights activist in Tonga and the Pacific and a filmmaker. She has twice been nominated for the US Secretary of State International Women of Courage Award (2012 & 2013) recognising her work in advocating for women and childrens rights in Tonga.
Ofa and her husband Nasili are the owners and operators of Coconut Productions which has produced videos for the Women and Development Centre to explain official government policy in a family-friendly format. In 2014 her film Dear Tita won the Best Project from the Masterclass Pan-Pacific Media Project. Most recently she directed the Tongan story for the feature film VAI
Abi is a New Zealand born and raised Palagi with Samoan ancestry. She has made a run of NZ film festival-selected documentaries in partnership with Errol Wright about homelessness, land sales, terror raids and surveillance respectively. She also co-directed the award-nominated 'Hot Air' and was recently announced as the 2019 Write Room Wellington Screenwriter’s Residency recipient.
Fuemana both wrote and directed Sunday Fun Day which is a heartfelt and sometimes provocative exploration of what it means to be a mother; the story of a solo mother’s love and sacrifice for her transgender teenager.
“This story came from the feeling of ‘vulnerability,’ as a mother raising teens,” says Fuemana. “From my experience, teens don’t really understand vulnerability from a mother’s perspective. We have a load of films in New Zealand that focus on the child’s perspective but not from the strength and humor of a mother’s.
URSULA GRACE WILLIAMS
Ursula Grace was immersed in the art of filmmaking from childhood, growing up on set with her mother and sister working as wardrobe designers and her father working intermittently in art departments.
Ursula went on to direct, write and produce The King a short documentary film made as a part of her Master's thesis (first class honours). The King won her the audience award at the NZIFF for best short as well as showcasing at the Sydney Film Festival 2016. She was also winner of the Inaugural Bright Sunday Emerging Pasifika Director Award at the 2016 Wāiroa Maori Film Festival for this film.
Her most recent documentary Deportees of Tonga: Gangster’s in Paradise, has so far been viewed by over four million people worldwide in the first two weeks of release.
Check out her portfolio here
Marina McCartney holds a Master of Arts in Screen Production with First Class Honours. She is an award-winning filmmaker and her academic areas of interest focus on the representation of Pacific peoples through the mediascape and how this affects identity formation in the diaspora. Her most recent work was directing the Samoan story in 'VAI'
Currently the Head of Social Media at Radio New Zealand, Leilani has a background in Radio Journalism. She recently made her Directorial Debut with her documentary 'Seven Weeks - Journey to Polyfest' which followed the St Pauls Samoan Group on their quest for Polyfest glory.
She directed a short film written by Samuel Kamu called “Waiting.” It was chosen as one of six finalists for Best Shorts NZIFF 2017 and took away the jury prize for Best Short Film in New Zealand at NZIFF 2017. It was also selected to screen at Toronto International Film Festival 2017 next month. More recently she directed the NZ Samoan story in 'Vai'
Aruna graduated from South Seas Film and Television School in 2017 with a Diploma in Documenatry Directing and Research. She has worked in the arts industry since 1990. Her directorial debut was on 'Salamasina's Daughters' which follows two Samoan female tulafale (Oratory chiefs) a role traditionally for men only.
She is currently directing a short film documentary about the NZ Hip Hop Summit and also continues to work as an actor, dancer & teacher.
A poet and writer for theatre, radio and television, Miria was the first Cook Islands artist to recieve the Full-bright Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency in Hawai'i. She is a co-director of Wellington's Tawata Productions and most recently directed the Cook Islands story in the feature film VAI
Chantelle is a New Zealand-born filmmaker of mixed European and Samoan descent. Her passion for film began as a teenager but it has only been in the last few years that she has actively pursued a career in film production. She has written, directed, edited and produced three short films: Sunday's Child (2010), Sanctuary (2011) and Tatau (2012). Chantelle is currently working as a freelance editor and director + developing several film projects including her first feature film.
An original member of Pacific Underground, she has directed a number of short films including ‘Talula Talula’ and TV series - most recently for Sticky TV and the CoconetTV's Poly Pks series on the Amosa Family.
Miliama's short film 'When we Speak' was selected as one of six as part of the Outlook for Someday, Someday Stories.