SIMA URALE

 

B.1969, SAVAI’I, SAMOA
LIVES AND WORKS IN WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND

urale-otamiti-mod

Production still from O Tamaiti 1996 / Director: Sima Urale / Purchased 2004. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Sima Urale migrated from Samoa to New Zealand with her family in 1974. After training in drama, Urale was drawn to filmmaking as a more immediate form of expression that could reach wider audiences. At the forefront of younger filmmakers telling Pacific stories, Urale is not only influenced by her Samoan heritage but also by the urban cultural mix. Frustrated with stereotypical media representations of Polynesian culture, Urale looks beyond superficial characterisation and delves into complex social issues and family relationships in both Polynesian and pakeha culture. A distinctly visual storyteller, she uses meticulously composed production design, dialogue-sparse character interaction and expressive sound design to create a richly cinematic world.

O Tamaiti (1996) / All ages
Velvet Dreams (1997) / Ages 12+
Still Life (2001) / All ages
Hip Hop New Zealand (2003) / Ages 15+

Film Screening Notes

O Tamaiti (1996) / All ages

2.00pm Monday 4 December (with Velvet Dreams + Still Life), introduced by Sima Urale / Cinema A
Screening weekly 12.15pm Fridays (with Still Life) / Cinema B

35MM, B. & W., 15 MINS, NEW ZEALAND, SAMOAN (ENGLISH SUBTITLES) / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: SIMA URALE / PRODUCER: CAROL J PAEWAI / CINEMATOGRAPHY: REWA HARRE / EDITOR: ANNIE COLLINS / ART DIRECTION: BRIDEY FARRELL / SOUND: RAY BEENTJES / MUSIC: GEORGE NEPIA / CAST: HARRY WENDT, THERESE LOUISE FATU, CHARLES FAAMAUSILI, TOM ANDREWS, JULIO JOSEPH MEL / PRODUCTION CO: PAEWAI PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE: QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY COLLECTION / RIGHTS: NEW ZEALAND FILM COMMISSION

O Tamaiti offers a rare insight into Samoan family life and questions the ‘happy-haven’ image of the Pacific. Eleven-year-old Tino looks after his younger siblings while his parents fight out of frame. Urale uses a rich visual language and sumptuous black-and-white 35mm film to convey to the viewer the children’s world and point of view. O Tamaiti, which translates from Samoan as ‘the children’, won the Silver Lion (Best Short Film) at the Venice Film Festival in 1996.

Velvet Dreams (1997) / Ages 12+

2.00pm Monday 4 December (WithStill Life + O Tamaiti), introduced by Sima Urale / Cinema A
Screening weekly from 10 December 12.30pm Sundays / Cinema B

DIGITAL BETACAM, COLOUR, 47 MINS, NEW ZEALAND, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: SIMA URALE / PRODUCERS: VINCENT BURKE, CLIFTON MAY / CINEMATOGRAPHY: LEON NARBEY / CAST: JOY VAELE, LISA TAOUMA, NINA-KAYE TANE TINORAU, RUTH AWINA FORSYTH, JOHN PULE / PRODUCTION CO: TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: ALLIANCE ATLANTIS

Sima Urale playfully exposes society’s fascination with South Sea maidens and the high art of velvet painting in her wry documentary Velvet Dreams. Through interviews with art critics, collectors and others enamoured of this kitsch genre, Urale explores its exoticising representations of the Pacific. Sam Spade–style narration drives the film’s quest to uncover the identity of a mystery beauty in a velvet painting. Velvet Dreams won Best Documentary at the 1997 Yorkton Film Festival, Canada.

Still Life (2001) / All ages

2.00pm Monday 4 December (with Velvet Dreams + O Tamaiti), introduced by Sima Urale / Cinema A
Screening weekly 12.15pm Fridays (with O Tamaiti) / Cinema B

35MM, COLOUR, 11 MINS, NEW ZEALAND, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR/SCRIPT: SIMA URALE / PRODUCER: ANNA RASMUSSEN / CINEMATOGRAPHY: REWA HARRE / EDITOR: ERIC DE BEUS / ART DIRECTION: KIRSTY CAMERON / SOUND: DICK READE / CAST: JOHN HANCOX, JUNE BISHOP /  PRODUCTION CO: NIU MOVIES LIMITED / PRINT SOURCE: QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY COLLECTION / RIGHTS: NEW ZEALAND FILM COMMISSION

Still Life is a beautifully filmed portrait of lasting love that offers a Polynesian view of pakeha (white) culture. Urale’s meticulous use of sound and production design creates a distinctly cinematic statement that comments on the invisibility of the elderly and asks the viewer to rethink attitudes to aging, love and death. Still Life was Best Short Film at the 2001 Montreal Film Festival, Canada.

Hip Hop New Zealand (2003) / Ages 15+

2.30pm Saturday 2 December, introduced by Sima Urale / Cinema A

DIGITAL BETACAM, SOUND, 45 MINS, NEW ZEALAND, ENGLISH / DIRECTOR: SIMA URALE / PRODUCER: SONALI AMARASINGHAM-CHRISTIE / CINEMATOGRAPHY: REWA HARRE / EDITOR: ERIC DE BEUS / SOUND: PHIL DONOVAN, PETE BREBNER / MUSIC: DLT, DEF SQUAD, THA FEELSTYLE, BROTHA D & CRU, P-MONEY FEATURING SCRIBE / CAST: TIME BANDITS, KING KAPISI, CAPTAIN IMON STAR, KOS 163, MC OJ & RYTHM SLAVE, DJ RAW, AND THA FEELSTYLE / PRODUCTION CO: SCREENTIME COMMUNICADO / PRINT SOURCE/RIGHTS: SCREENTIME COMMUNICADO

Originally screened on New Zealand television, Hip Hop New Zealand showcases four elements of hip-hop culture — break-dancing, graffiti, DJing and rap. The documentary features an eclectic collection of interviews with key members of the New Zealand hip-hop scene. Hip Hop New Zealand will screen with three of Sima Urale’s award-winning music videos — Dallas’s Better than Change, and King Kapisi’s Subcranium Feeling and Reverse Resistance.