Maori Boy Genius
ScreeningOct 19 2013 - 9:00 PM
at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3
Directed by: Pietra Brettkelly | 90 minutes | New Zealand, The Netherlands | PG | Documentary | 2011 | Canadian Premiere
What if some shrewd filmmaker had recognized Barack Obama’s boyhood promise and documented the birth of his political consciousness as a teen? In “Maori Boy Genius,” Brettkelly may well be profiling New Zealand’s future prime minister. —Alissa Simon, Variety Review
From the moment of his birth, Pumanawawhiti Ngaa Rauuira has carried on his shoulders the heavy weight of his responsibility as a future leader of the Maori community. Still only 16, Pumanawawhiti wants to be the first in his community to go to university to gain the tools and means to fight for the indigenous rights of his people.
Pietra Brettkelly, best known for her Sundance Film Festival award-winning film The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, follows Pumanawawhiti as he goes to Yale for the summer to further his academic ambitions, spends time with his large, close-knit family, attends events in his community, hangs out with his friends and becomes involved with his people’s fight to save their sacred land and ocean.