Their new knowledge and skills were gained at the “Through Our Lens” workshop, brought to Rarotonga last week by New Zealand Maori film maker and director Libby Hakaraia and the team at Maoriland CharitableTrust and Film Festival.
The workshop ran from Friday September 29 to Monday October 2, and was attended by 14 aspiring young filmmakers.
Hakaria said the “Through Our Lens” workshop began in New Zealand through Maoriland Film Festival. It was developed with the aim of growing and developing the next generation of film makers in the South Pacific.
Organised through locally-based Motone Productions, the workshop provided an excellent opportunity for young Cook Islanders to learn film-making skills and develop their own creative concepts.
Motone directors Mo Newport and his wife Glenda Tuaine said the project had been “a wonderful experience” for everybody involved.
“We are especially grateful to the Maoriland Charitable Trust for bringing over a project like this and working with Motone to pull it together,” Tuaine said.
She added that it’s not common for such skilled individuals to share their abilities freely with others and thought it was a wonderful experience to see film makers wanting to share their knowledge with young people.
“Sometimes film-making skills can be ‘locked in’ and some people prefer not to give of their time, but this workshop was an example of how we can help build into the next generation by providing a path for potential film makers.
The workshop allowed young Cook Islanders to connect creatively and Tuaine said as it progressed, a positive environment was quickly established.
“Over a very short period of time, the participants were able to share ideas and concepts and broke out of their shyness and timidity.”
The workshop also reinforced the fact that there is plenty of creative and artistic talent among Cook Islanders. Tuiane said local talent simply needed to be fostered and further developed, and workshops were a good way to make it happen.
Emerging out of New Zealand is a community of creative people who know each other through festivals, films, theatre and music, and that’s how Tuaine and Hakaraia have become long-time friends.
“There is a cluster of likeminded people spread out throughout the Pacific who really want to see projects developed and that have commitment sustainable creativity,” Tuaine said.
“It’s about sharing and letting other people enjoy learning and assisting young people to get on their desired career path in creativity.”
Hakaraia said she was particularly impressed with the strength of the story-telling skills among the young people she worked with.
“I thought they had very clear ideas and were able to articulate them.
“It isn’t an easy thing to do, to come in and be creative and follow through all the way, but they all did.”
On the last day of the workshop - Libby called it the “grunt day”, she was surprised to see all 14 students stick around until the very end.
“Usually we get a few drop-offs on the third day normally. But when I looked around on Monday morning, all the participants were well involved.”
Maoriland Film Festival began five years ago and every year in March films are played to over 10,000 people in Otaki, New Zealand.
The three films created during the workshop will be played at the film festival in March 2018, which previewed on Monday night at Club Raro resort.
Motone Productions and the 14 aspiring film makers are thankful to the Maoriland team -Libby Hakaraia, Tutamure Nikora, Te Awarangi Puna, Madeline De Young, Patch and Tania Hakaraia and Kaia Hakaraia.
They also thank Island Car and Bike Hire, Vaima Water, Captain Tama’s, New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall, and Titikaveka College for their support.