February 04, 2016
Merata Mita in Sundance tribute
The first winner of a fellowship named for the late Merata Mita says the Maori filmmaker has a continuing influence on indigenous filmmakers.
Ciara Leina’ala Lacy from O’ahu, Hawaii gets a cash grant as well as mentoring and other services from the Sundance Institute, which supports independent filmmakers.
Her latest documentary project Out of State is about native Hawaiian prisoners shipped to a private prison in the Arizona desert of Arizona who practice their indigenous chants and dances behind bars as a way to retain a connection to their families.
She says Merata Mita, who died in 2010, is still remembered fondly in Hawaii.
"The impact she had on our community here was very real and she is very much missed and loved so to know that there is so much work being done in her honour now is incredible, not just what the Sundance Institute has done with the fellowship which is a testimony to her. I think it's a beautiful moment right now," Ms Lacy says.
The Merata Mita Fellowship will be open to Native or Indigenous filmmakers around the world who are in any stage of career or production, with an emphasis on those who have a feature-length project-documentary or dramatic-in development.
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