A feature film on Parihaka will screen at a prestigious film festival in St Tropez, France.
The film Tatarakihi: the Children of Parihaka has been invited to screen next month at Rencontres Internationales Due Cinema Des Antipodes, the film's delighted producer and director Paora Joseph said.
The cultural and spiritual message appeared to have hit a nerve with the French, Joseph said.
"The French appear to have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for films that portray a sense of Maori culture and spirituality."
Joseph will be accompanied to France by Parihaka kuia Maata Wharehoka and a small number of the children who appeared in the film. The film had also received an invitation to screen in the Balinale film Festival in Bali.
"These will be the first international screenings for the film and it will be the first time an international audience will have collectively witnessed one of New Zealand's most poignant parts of history in terms of passive resistance to colonisation."
The film first screened at the 2012 New Zealand International Film Festival.
It is about a group of Taranaki children [the Tatarakihi or cicadas] who in 2009 were taken on a bus trip to visit the places their ancestors, passive resistance followers from Parihaka in the 1880s, were imprisoned and forced to work. Some of that work was in building Addington jail in Christchurch and several buildings and roads in Dunedin.
Along the way, the children were welcomed at local marae by descendants of local Maori who supported the prisoners at the time.
The narration is by the children, from their writing, poetry, song and art, expressed in a workshop after the journey. Since its launch, it has screened in more than 35 cinemas, marae and community centres.
Its popularity at Wellington's Penthouse Cinema saw it run for five weeks, Joseph said.
The Parihaka community are now working on a distribution plan in order for the film to be seen throughout all New Zealand schools.
The award-winning film-maker Joseph, a clinical psychologist who formerly lived in Taranaki where he worked for Waves, now lives on Auckland's Waiheke Island.
His plan is now to make a feature film focusing on suicide with the support of a Taranaki trust, Te Hurihanga.
"This is not only a New Zealand issue but an international one.
"Most of our youth in particular do not have an understanding of death and in many cases have not been given the opportunities in society to contribute to life.
"It is an important kaupapa to tackle."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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