Directed by: Chelsea Cohen, Ainsley Gardiner, Briar Grace-Smith, Paula Jones, Casey Kaa, Renae Maihi, Awanui Simich-Pene, Katie Wolfe 2017 | 86 min.
Section: Pacific Showcase
Premiere: United States Premiere
A sisterhood of Māori female directors bravely share their insights into the complexity of child abuse, in a sequence of eight short films that seamlessly become one. At the center of their stories is Waru, a boy killed at the hands of a caregiver. His tangi (funeral), set on a small rural marae, is the centerpiece of the film, but there is an underlying disturbance of heavy themes touching on culture, custom and shame.
We see a single death through the differing lenses of the extended family, community, and in one sharp sequence, national media too. WARU weaves multiple reactions and offers a glimpse into the events that ensue upon the killing of a child and the conflict created among loved ones.
The subject could hardly be heavier, but this is a hugely important film, putting a spotlight on the high rates of child abuse in Aotearoa. It’s a film everyone in the family should see and talk about.
— New Zealand Film Festival
Synopsis written by: New Zealand Film Festival