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MERATA: How Mum Decolonised The Screen


In the 1970s, Merata Mita broke through barriers of race, class, and gender to become the first Māori woman to write and direct a feature film. Tackling controversial issues of indigenous social justice in both documentaries and fiction, the pioneering activist-filmmaker faced harassment and violence. Persevering, she emerged as one of New Zealand’s best-known filmmakers and a powerful voice for indigenous peoples around the world. Merata was also a longtime advisor to Sundance Institute, and the indigenous artist fellowship bears her name.

In MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, Merata’s youngest son, Hepi, crafts a deeply intimate portrait of his late mother. Drawing on footage from Merata’s own work, as well as from interviews with her from before she picked up a camera, Hepi captures Merata as a filmmaker, mother, wife, and mentor. Reflections from his siblings and those she influenced, such as Taika Waititi, underscore the overriding importance Merata placed on family and reveal the personal sacrifices she made to actively create a better future for her children and her people.

YEAR 2018

CATEGORY Documentary Premieres

COUNTRY New Zealand

RUN TIME 95 min

COMPANY Arama Pictures

WEBSITE http://www.meratathefilm.com

EMAIL chelseawinstanley@me.com

PHONE (323) 536-7024


Executive Producer
Creative Producer
Consulting Editor

Artist Bio

Hepi Mita

Hepi Mita (of the Māori Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāi Te Rangi) is from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Since 2011, Mita has worked as the Māori collections developer at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision—New Zealand's archive of film, television, and sound. He has curated film-archive screenings both nationally and internationally. He is the son of award-winning filmmakers Geoff Murphy and Merata Mita. MERATA: How Mum Decolonised The Screen is Mita's first feature film.