Congratulations to Matasila Freshwater (DEGANZ) for winning the Sun Jury Prize at this year’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. The prize was won for her work as director and writer on Hiama, an “amazing reclamation of the horror genre through a Solomon Islands lens.”

Hiama tells the story of a teenage girl and her Hiama (shamanic guardian spirit), who teaches her to invoke her inner power when she encounters racism and microaggressions at her high school.

Matasila spoke of her motives for telling this story, which included the desire to subvert the traditionally Euro-centric horror genre. Matasila observed how in the horror genre “blackness and darkness was something to be fearful of.” By subverting this narrative, she instead makes blackness “empowering”.

The episode is part of the wider series Teina Sā: The Ancient Ones, which centers around stories of modern day issues that impact Pasifika women. Matasila’s award-winning episode is available to watch for free on The CoconetTV’s Youtube channel.

See the full list of the 2021 imagineNATIVE award winners here.

We’re thrilled to be hosting a screening of Coming Home in the Dark, in association with Rialto Cinemas, on August 12. Premiering at Sundance Film Festival earlier in the year, the film follows Alan ‘Hoaggie’ Hoaganraad (Erik Thompson), a high school teacher who is forced to confront a secret from his past when a pair of ruthless drifters, Mandrake (Daniel Gillies) and Tubs (Matthias Luafutu), take his family on a nightmare road-trip.

Director James Ashcroft joins us after the screening for a Q&A session, moderated by Hweiling Ow.

Come along to watch and hear more about the making of the film.

When: Thursday 12 August, 7:30pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Film Industry Member tickets only $12

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A teacher is forced to confront a secret from his past when a pair of ruthless drifters take his family on a nightmare road-trip in Coming Home in the Dark. Directed by James Ashcroft and edited by DEGNZ board member Annie Collins, the film is set to open in Aotearoa on August 12 after travelling the festival circuit.

This local thriller, starring Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries), Erik Thomson (The Luminaries), Miriama McDowell (Head High) and Matthias Luafutu (Ghost in the Shell), garnered rave reviews after premiering at Sundance earlier in the year.

With one review from horror website Bloody Disgusting saying the film “succeeds in sheer intensity and extremism”.

Speaking with Sundance, James Ashcroft and writer Eli Kent described it as a “high energy nightmare road-trip”, based on an award winning short story by Owen Marshall.

Watch their Meet the Artist spotlight here:


Now available, the chilling series Teine Sā: The Ancient Ones tells stories of modern day issues impacting Pacific women, who will either be blessed or cursed when they look to ancient goddesses of the past for guidance.

The Pasefika horror series was written, directed and crewed by people of the Moana. Acclaimed directors Sima Urale and Toa Fraser (DEGNZ) mentored the young writers and directors of Teine Sā.

Recently selected for DEGNZ’s Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator, Matasila Freshwater wrote and directed episode 4, titled Hiama, a story from the Solomon Islands.

In this video, she speaks about the themes and reasons behind the story.

DEGNZ member Jack Woon was series editor. “It was a joy to see the kaleidoscope of visions from the five writer/director teams, to cut together the silken images shot by DOP Andrew McGeorge and to be given free rein to mould rhythm and soundscape as the series editor.”

Watch it on Prime TV with episodes airing every Thursday at 9:30pm. The five episode series – each episode roughly ten minutes – is also available to watch on Sky Go and The COCONET, and will be available on NEON from May 20.

Baby Done and Reunion

We have two more great Film Talks happening in the month of October in association with Rialto Cinemas.

Baby Done

First up, Kiwi comedy Baby Done hits cinemas on 22 October. Director Curtis Vowell and writer Sophie Henderson will be in attendance at this screening for a 30-minute Q&A to discuss their experiences making the movie.

Baby Done stars Rose Matafeo and Matthew Lewis (Neville from Harry Potter!). Wannabe-adventurer Zoe freaks out when she falls pregnant to her long-term boyfriend Tim. As Tim embraces the prospect of fatherhood, Zoe attempts to rush through her dreams.

When: Thursday 22 October 2020, 6pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Film Industry Member tickets $12.

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The week after, watch New Zealand horror Reunion and hear from director Jake Mahaffy (Free in Deed). When Ellie returns to her childhood home, heavily pregnant, she’s reunited with her estranged mother. She becomes consumed by dark memories that haunt the house and ends up unearthing the hidden, horrifying reality of her family.

When: Saturday 31 October 2020, 7:45pm
Where: Rialto Cinemas Newmarket, 167-169 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland

Book now