In a relatively short time, New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi has received great acclaim as an actor-writer-director. This past season’s Jojo Rabbit, which he directed and co-starred in, won him the Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay (making history as the first Indigenous person to receive an Oscar® in either screenwriting category), and previous to that he directed one of the most acclaimed and successful films in the Marvel franchise, Thor: Ragnarok. It has recently been announced that he will direct and co-write the next chapter in the Star Wars saga.
Join us for a Taika-thon and explore the “indie” beginnings of this Maori artist and his highly entertaining early films.
SMITH RAFAEL FILM CENTER DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMING
RICHARD PETERSON SELECTS
Director: Taika Waititi (New Zealand, 2010) 87 min.
“Set in 1984, this warm, spirited, and irreverent coming-of-age comedy centers around an 11-year-old Maori named Boy (James Rolleston), who lives with his grandma, his brother, and their cousins on the rural East Coast of New Zealand. He idolizes two men: Michael Jackson and Boy’s absentee father (played by writer-director Taika Waititi), who turns out not to be a hero, but a ne’er-do-well and petty thief. In advance of its theatrical run at the Rafael in 2012, Taika Waititi visited for a special CFI members’ screening and delighted the audience with his quirky and infectious sense of humor.” – Richard Peterson
MVFF SENIOR PROGRAMMER KAREN DAVIS SELECTS
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
Directors: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi (New Zealand, 2014) 86 min.
“This timeless “occult classic” comedy is lovingly crafted in the style of the best of Christopher Guest, and will leave you thirsty for more. In a much lighter ‘vein’ then any run of the mill fly-by-night zom-com bromance, What We Do in the Shadows liberally and literally raises (and lowers) the “stakes” of the “vamp camp” genre, featuring an irresistibly toothsome cast including co-directors/co-stars Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Boy) as a coupla wild and crazy (dead) guys who join dark forces to fight for the right to, well, party vampire-style in the tony clubs of Wellington. A film I could (and do) watch again and again…bloody good fun!” – Karen Davis
MVFF PROGRAMMING ASSOCIATE CELESTE WONG SELECTS
HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Director: Taika Waititi (New Zealand, 2016) 102 min.
“The perfect film to cure your isolation blues, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, based on the book Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump, is the story of Ricky (Julian Dennison), a 13-year old foster kid without an ounce of outdoorsmanship, and Uncle Hec (Sam Neill), a gruff wilderness man, who embark on a journey through the New Zealand countryside. Equal parts hilarious, heart-warming, and heart-racing this odd-couple adventure-comedy is an absolute delight from beginning to end!” – Celeste Wong
CHECK OUT PREVIOUS CFI STAFF SELECTIONS HERE