Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe me maunga teitei – Pursue that which is precious, and do not be deterred by anything less than a lofty mountain.
The whakatauki that the Aotearoa Maori Film Festival is grounded upon encourages one to strive, to set goals and to persevere. The words continue encouraging us and we hope they will inspire you too!
Aotearoa Maori Film Festival (AMFF) began in 2013 with 5 short films. Curated by Leo Koziol of The Wairoa Film Festival, it was the very first Maori Film Festival outside of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The Wairoa Maori Film Festival is based in Aotearoa and partnered with the Sydney Maori Business Network to create the AMFF as an annual event.
In 2014, AMFF was presented in Sydney and Brisbane. Another great collection of Maori short films were showcased August 22-23 at the Hurstville Civic Centre, SYDNEY and September 5-6 at the Kingston Butter Factory. In 2014 the AMFF Sydney had an exciting addition to the festival: The Tamariki Filmmaking Workshop. It was an absolute success. 16 tamariki took part in the five hour long intensive filmmaking workshop in which they all created a short movie trailer based on whakatauki Maori (Maori proverbial sayings).
The Tamariki Filmmaking Workshop was back for 2015, and it was a huge success. We recently met an alumnus now working in film and it was our proudest moment ever! We were located in the amazing Australian Museum in Sydney. Our festival coincided with a very cool Pasifika exhibition, where some of our filmmaking workshop whānau found artefacts that inspired their stories.
In 2016 we found our spiritual home in Te Wairua Tapu Church in Redfern as our new venue. The building is in itself magnificent, but we were truly embraced by the wairua of the fellowship and the community for many of whom Te Wairua Tapu means in Sydney the nearest thing to tūrangawaewae. Still, the logistics were interesting: for example the many and large stained glass windows of the church create such beautiful light inside the building. Heoi anō, we learned the difference between twilight and nautical twilight and set the start time of our festival very carefully to make sure it was dark outside!
We celebrated our fifth year in 2017, woohoo!! Amazing!