In a world where hundreds of indigenous languages are dead or facing extinction there is a bright, shining hope: Kohanga Reo, Maori “language nests”.
Veteran filmmaker Tainui Stephens documents the ground-breaking indigenous educational movement, and the woman behind it, in a feature documentary screening at ImageNative, the Toronto native arts festival.
Kohanga Reo is based on the simple but powerful principle of totally immersing pre-school children in native language and values. After 25 years, the program is recognized worldwide as a turning point for revival of Maori language and culture and an inspiration for language survival programs worldwide.
The model has been replicated successfully in other native communities, including Hawaiian Punana Leo.
Let My Whakapapa Speak
16 Oct 08, 1:00PM
Al Green Theatre
They are the two magic words in the story of how a struggling Maori language was pulled back from the brink of extinction: ‘kohanga reo’.
Tuhoe Country Docu-drama
Kiwi director Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come) revisits his 1978 documentary, about a Maori kuia, in his latest feature.
In Spring One Plants Alone was Ward’s second film – a verite portrait of Te Puhi, an 80 year-old woman caring for her schizophrenic adult son in rural Urewera.
30 years later Ward returns to the scene to re-envision her story as a cursed Tuhoe princess.
The 2008 version is a personal docu-drama, narrated by Ward, melding dramatic re-enactments with original footage.
Rain of the Children trailer
A Tale of the Tuhoe
could give Maori on both sides of the Tasman a new insight in to their past
Vincent Ward unveils latest long-term labour of love
New Zealand Herald
Australian-based Maori performed a passionate powhiri on the red carpet
Vincent Ward’s ghost story
Sunday Star Times
epic act of “director’s cut” reworking
Kane Hula Doc
Independent filmmaker and hula dancer Lisette Marie Flanary follows kumu hula Robert Cazimero and Na Kamalei, his unique all-kane halau.
The award-winning documentary is the second in her trilogy of hula films. American Aloha, about hula halau outside Hawaii, screened on PBS. The next film will profile hula in Japan.
PBS: Independent Lens
06 May 08 at 10:30 pm
Ho’oilina at LA Skins Fest
Pacific canoes launch onscreen at the first Los Angeles Skins Festival, a grassroots film and video festival hosted by LA’s Native American community Nov 9-11.
Filmmaker Maui Tauotaha (Hawaiian-Tahitian) premiers Ho’oilina: Continuing the Legacy on Sat 10 Nov 1pm at LA City College in Hollywood. Maui shot the short doc at Lahaina Festival of Canoes on Maui where his father and other kahuna kalai wa’a (canoe masters) from around the Pacific built and paddled traditional wooden canoes.
LA Skins Fest is organized by filmmaker Ian “Crazy Ind’n” Skorodin (Choctaw) with community screenings and events at Fox and Paramount studios, House of Blues and Autry Museum.
PI Filmmakers at AIFF
Pacific Islanders screened films in the 31st annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco Nov 2-10. Both are award nominees.
Sarah del Seronde (Dine) and Paul Stoll (Tongan) debuted Making the River, a documentary tracing the protracted legal battles of American Indian prisoner Jimi Simmons. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature.
Karin Williams (Aotearoa/Cook Is) screened Yukon Circles, documenting tribal environmental protection on the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada over the past decade. Nominated for Best Documentary Short.