Members Kath Akuhata-Brown and Bala Murali Shingade will soon head off to the MIFF Accelerator Lab at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Kath and Bala will be attending the Lab’s programmes this August with the financial support of the NZFC.
The Accelerator is an acclaimed lab for promising short filmmakers to assist in their transition into feature filmmaking. Each year, MIFF selects by invitation up to 25 directors from the festival’s short film programme.
The programme provides four days of seminars, workshops, screenings and networking opportunities on the screen industry’s business and creative aspects. These events occur in August alongside the films’ public screenings in the specifically tagged Accelerator Screenings selection. This concludes with the MIFF Shorts Awards. The award winners of the Best Short Film, Best Australian Short Film, Best Documentary and Best Animation will be eligible to enter the Oscars.
Kath will be attending the MIFF Accelerator Lab for directing Washday, a short film inspired by an ancient Māori story of the wind and the power of a child’s love for a parent. Eight-year-old Hine devises a plan to wash away her father’s grief for her passed mother. The film highlights simple rituals of daily life and the constant spiritual presence of gods and ancestors in a small Māori family.
This touching story has screened at multiple other festivals and crowned NZIFF’s Best Short Film in 2021. Additionally, Washday will be screening at the Smithsonian’s Native Cinema Showcase in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this August.
Bala Murali Shingade
Bala was invited to the programme with his film Perianayaki, edited by fellow DEGANZ member Shailesh Prajapati. Titular character Perianayaki, a recent Sri Lankan immigrant, is forced to reconcile with the bittersweet realities of her life on the day of her wedding anniversary. The film encourages empathy and provokes audiences to reconsider their assumptions of often ignored immigrants and service industry workers. The slice-of-life film will premiere at NZIFF this year as part of the Whānau Mārama: New Zealand’s Best selection.
We wish Kath and Bala a great time at the Accelerator Lab!