Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Ngai Tahu movie? an idea so crazy it might actually work

Sometimes the dreams seem too big, too unachievable, but then I think naaaah it totally do-able.
Wouldn't be great if we were able to produce a movie based around one of our histories. It's not so unachievable. Many Ngai Tahu are involved in all aspects of the film and movie industry in this country and overseas. We have the talent to do the technical aspects of film-making.

The storyline is an area where we would have to tread carefully but we could ask Ngai Tahu whanui to nominate an idea. They would provide a outline of the story. A group of kaumatua and the director and producers would decide on the most appropriate. The call would then go out for scriptwriters to submit their storyboard for the idea. Once again the best is selected. I know that this may prove to be the stickiest area of the whole process but I'm assuming it can be achieved.

The call for actors who are Ngai Tahu would go out and screentests and selection would occur. Other activities like scouting sites, organising gear and logistics could be worked through, liasing with paptipu runaka near locations.

Quite a bit of thought would need to go into the likely auidence for the movie, while it would amazing to see a Ngai Tahu “Apocalypto” or perhaps a Ngai Tahu “Last Samurai”, the better way to go may be for an movie for Cannes and other film festivals, if success is achieved there, it can often lead to wider international success.

Okay, I know, what about the money Marty? I suppose a budget of 20 million could do it. It would need good project management, but if launched as an Iwi wide initiative it could capture the imagination of Ngai Tahu whanui. If that happened there could be all sorts of ways to keep costs low. For instance, with high quality negotiation skills agreements could be reached with organisations and individuals in the business, whether that be Weta or actors or technical crew. And those agreements could be designed to provide win-win scenarios for all parties. This could all keep the costs down. Distribution deals can be made through normal channels, there are bound to be Ngai Tahu there or others who agree with the vision.

There would be excellent opportunities for Ngai Tahu to increase their skills in a number of areas, under the watchful eyes of their cousins already in the industry, plus earn an income. We could provide employment for our people involved in the film and movie industry and those people could also provide a type of mentorship for others. We could employ Ngai Tahu rangatahi and train them at the same time!

Spin off benefits for iwi members would be all the accomodation, food, location logistics, payroll, merchandise, costuming... just think about it – there could be hundreds of employment opportunites and they could all be coordinated through the project manager.

That person would liase with the director and producers and also TRONT, Papatipu Runaka and Ngai Tahu Whanui. They would need a team to support them but we have the people that could do that too.

It's too hard! Sorry it's not actually. It could be done but of course it would take some imagination and leadership.

There will be big issues to overcome. The main one may not be related to the logistics or technical aspects or even the crew and team to produce and distribute the film. I suspect if anything could prove challenging it will be the choice of story. In most of our history there have winner and losers. Trying to find a story that doesn't offend anyone could prove difficult but within that difficulty may also be the development of greater understanding, more aroha and a closer iwi. Closer to each other, closer to our histories, and closer to our culture. It just seems so do-able to me. 20 million could be found, or whatever the likely costings are. The positives outweigh the negatives.

Of course we could start small, test the waters with a documentary or series on maori TV but we didn't get to where we are by thinking small.

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