Click HERE to listen to Todd's interview on Radio Waatea.
We talked to young Māori film maker Todd Karehana on Radio Waatea and online. Listen below to his interview, and read his story below!
What is your Iwi/Whanau Background?
My mother was raised in Te Mahoe and my father in Tauranga Moana. They whakapapa to Te Arawa, Ngati Ruapani, Ngati Awa, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Ranginui.
Where are you from?
I was born in Whakatane and raised in Kawerau. My turangawaewae is entwined with my mother, Alma Te Ua.
What are your qualifications and interests/experiences in filmmaking?
I graduated with First Class Honours in Screen Production from The University of Auckland and currently pursue a Master of Arts in Drama Directing. I have been blessed enough to have learnt filmmaking from industry professionals such as Brendan Donovan, Shuchi Kothari, Jake Mahaffy, Dan Salmon, Annie Goldson and the other fantastic support staff in the FTVMS department. I made my first film called The Kweenz of Kelston in 2014 and have since made two other shorts, E Oho (2015) and The Spectacular Imagination of The Pohara Brothers (2015).
What are your recent successes in film?
Leo Koziol at The Wairoa Maori Film festival has been gracious enough to programme two of my films. The Kweenz of Kelston in 2015 and The Spectacular Imagination of The Pohara Brothers will feature this year.
I think finishing a film is always a success in itself. To follow through from an initial idea, to a fully realised film, takes time and determination.
This year I’m writing and directing an experimental short film which will be around fifteen minutes at fine cut. I call it experimental because I aim to fuse elements of documentary and drama together to create a sort of hybrid drama/documentary.
I’m really interested in conducting real interviews and using that as the beginning point of a dramatic short film. I was recommended a play by playwright Miranda Harcourt called Verbatim, which uses real life interviews with prisoners, and the families of their victims, to create a sanguine work which touches you on so many levels. It’s extremely sad, but incredibly deep. I like digging deep to find what I want to say in my films. I also firmly believe that it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of our responsibilities as filmmakers.
I believe critical film, television and media theory is an integral part of being a progressive filmmaker- especially as an indigenous storyteller- and we need to be aware of the types of stories we are telling and how they affect our sense of identity and communities. Oh and I also believe that both making films and watching films, can be a sort of therapy or “narrative medicine”. I could write a novel on the things I think about film. But I’ll leave it at that for now.
Below, an interview with Todd on Mike King's "The Nutters Club" and two of his short film works, "The Kweenz of Kelston" and "E Oho" (Wake Up)