|Directed by||Michael Bennett|
|Produced by||Fiona Copland|
|Story by||Iaheto Ah Hi|
|Music by||Don McGlashan|
|Editing by||John Gilbert|
|Release date(s)||September 11, 2010(TIFF World Premiere) |
November 18, 2010 (New Zealand)
|Running time||92 minutes|
Matariki is a 2010 New Zealand drama film set in Otara, South Auckland. The film is told through five interweaving stories all set in the days leading to the rising of Matariki. The film features a variety of languages including, English, Maori, Tokelauan, Samoan, and Cantonese. It is the feature debut for actors Susana Tang and Jason Wu. The film was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission
Just as the stars of the Pleiades constellation come together to mark the Matariki – the Maori New Year and a time of new beginnings – so too do the five intersecting stories of Michael Bennett’s first feature film merge into a fascinating portrait of a community.
It is New Year’s Eve and Gunge (Edwin Wright) finds that his debt to a ruthless drug dealer sets off a chain of events that rip through his South Auckland neighbourhood. After bravely intervening in a beating, star rugby player Tama (Mark Ruka) finds his own life in jeopardy. His wife, Megan (Sara Wiseman), comes into conflict with Tama’s Maori family over decisions concerning his care. Tama’s brother Rick (Jarod Rawiri) is so rocked by the tragedy that he is forced to confront his own secrets and his allegiance to Maori values.
Meanwhile, teenaged Aleki (Jason Wu) struggles to find his identity in a new home. Transplanted from a small island in the South Pacific to the vibrant, multicultural community of South Auckland, Aleki feels caught between his father’s traditional values and the temptations of his new culture. Nearby, Lisa (Alix Bushnell), who is nine months pregnant and devoted to her drug addicted boyfriend, begins to suspect that he may not make the best father for her baby.
The problems and fears of this remarkably disparate group intertwine to form a compelling sphere of hope and transcendence. Renowned cinematographer Alun Bollinger (a favourite of director Peter Jackson) masterfully captures the gritty shadows of a crime in-progress, the harsh neon of a hospital room and the soft intimate lamplight of a lover’s bed. Building on the success of his notable short films Cow and Kerosense Creek, Bennett focuses on the triumphs and crises of these unknowingly connected individuals to reveal the evolving mosaic of a culture and a city on the cusp of transformation
Ideas for the script began in the mid 1990's. Filming began in April 2009 with it almost entirely shot in Otara, South Auckland. Post production was partially done in Peter Jacksons, Park Road Post.
The film will hold its World Premiere on September 11 2010 at the Toronto International Film Festival. It will show in the Contemporary World Cinema section. It has also been accepted in to the Hof International Film Festival. The film is set to be released in New Zealand on November 18th.