Auckland film-maker a world-beater
A poem about rain has helped an Auckland animator achieve worldwide recognition.
"You're always a hard judge of yourself but it's nice to get aknowledgement and to know people have taken notice of it," the Grey Lynn resident says.
"I like to make films that communicate, and affect people in a positive way."
Maria Elena grew up in Ireland and has lived in New Zealand for the past three years.
The 33-year-old worked on her award-winning Rain while studying for a graduate diploma in animation at Unitec last year.
She also has a degree in visual communication.
She works at Afterglow films in Grey Lynn, producing TV commercials and short films, and has had her work shown at film festivals around the world.
Maria Elena made Rain after reading Hone Tuwhare's poem of the same name.
It was inspired by words such as: "If I should not hear, smell, or feel or see you, you would still define me, disperse me, wash over me."
"I was blown away the poem's simplicity, and its connection with nature," she says.
"It was just beautiful."
Maria Elena says she strives to make films with an impact, 'to make a difference and be a voice people listen to'.
"It's very encouraging that people want to watch my films."
Unitec graduate diploma in animation programme leader Miriam Hayes is not surprised by Maria Elena's success at last month's festival: "She's very committed and pulled out all the stops to make the most of the facilities around her."
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