As Dan Taipua once stated for the The Spinoff, Māori Television is the best free-to-air movie channel in the country. The current lineup on their On Demand platform adds further weight to this statement with a rich variety of local features, film festival favourites, and Oscar contenders.
Here are some highlights:
Constantly filling seats in cinemas and marae last year, Paora Joseph’s film follows a hikoi (journey) five New Zealand families take to Cape Reinga. Grieving over a loved one who took their life, each whānau bravely and openly discuss the tragedy of suicide.
“Māui’s Hook is an essential Aotearoa film and it should be seen by every New Zealander.” -Liam Maguren, FLICKS
From iconic Once Were Warriors director Lee Tamahori, this adaptation of Whale Rider author Witi Ihimaera’s novel follows a rivalry between two sheep-shearing families set on Aotearoa’s East Coast in the 1960s. Stars Temuera Morrison.
“Tamahori’s ability to view Aotearoa through the Hollywood lens is unequaled. With Mahana he’s made another, if somewhat gentler, classic.” -Paul Casserly, FLICKS
An exploration of the life and work of eccentric British impressionist great J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851), with Timothy Spall delivering an award-winning performance at Cannes 2014. Nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Cinematography and Best Production Design.
“The evocation of the man and his time is sublime. Dick Pope’s cinematography emulates Turner’s greatest works, and the 1850s period setting is captured in sumptuous detail.” -Adam Fresco, FLICKS
Ballet documentary following six young dancers (aged nine to nineteen) over the course of a year as they face injury and personal sacrifice on their way to compete in the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix.
“The joy of watching lies in the purity of their passion.” -Rebecca Barry Hall, FLICKS
Before NZIFF Opening Night film Poi E: The Story of our Song, filmmaker Tearepa Kahi directed this 2013 muso-drama with Stan Walker playing an aspiring singer hoping to open for Bob Marley’s 1979 concert in Auckland.
“Filters its by-the-numbers themes through the values of traditional Māori communities, producing something fresh and wholesome.” -Liam Maguren, FLICKS
There’s a bunch to look forward to in the near future too. This includes extravagant Wim Wenders dance feature Pina, Oscar-winning underdog tale The Fighter, indie Auckland cafe doco Monterey, Sally Potter’s sisterhood story Ginger & Rosa, and quartet drama Performance led by Philip Seymour Hoffman (which also went by the name A Late Quartet).