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WARU

Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene
New Zealand | 2017 | 86 min | English, Māori

WARU
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SYNOPSIS

In a unique take on the portmanteau genre, nine female Māori filmmakers present eight interconnected ten-minute vignettes based around the death of a small boy, Waru, at the hands of his caregiver. Each chapter of the film, consisting of one continuous shot, takes place at 10am on the same day and follows one of eight central female characters in scenarios including a kindergarten, Waru’s tangi (funeral) and a TV studio. No-one will say how Waru died, though what is unsaid suggests the involvement of alcohol, abuse and neglect, in an economically depressed community. As the women confront the death and try to find a way forward, the chapters all boil down to the same basic question—what were the social circumstances behind the tragedy? This is a poignant, brutal look at grief and survival in a society that is often overlooked and over-generalised. In the Māori language, the word waru itself means ‘eight’.

 

DIRECTOR

  • Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene

    Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Chelsea Cohen, Renae Maihi, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene

    Waru is the first feature film to be made by Māori women in more than 30 years. Its writer-directors are Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Cohen, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene and Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu. The scripts were developed on a five-day retreat on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, and filming took place over eight days—with one day allocated to each chapter. The film’s producers, Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, say, “Our goal was to communicate the shared feelings we have towards child abuse in Aotearoa (New Zealand).” Kerry adds, “All the children who have been abused or died from abuse—whatever make-up they are—in New Zealand, they’re all our kids and they still sit with us wherever we go, whatever we do and we have to do better.”

     

Credits

Directors/Screenwriters - Briar Grace-Smith, Casey Kaa, Ainsley Gardiner, Katie Wolfe, Renae Maihi, Chelsea Winstanley, Paula Jones, Awanui Simich-Pene
Producer - Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton
Cinematographer - Drew Sturge
Editor - Craig Parkes
Music - Lauren King
Production Company - Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions