MEDIA RELEASE August 3, 2020
GURL Wins Audience Vote
In Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts section of Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival
GURL, a 20-minute musical fantasy by artist activist Mika X won the inaugural Ngā Whanaunga CineMāori Audience Award,
presented at last night’s closing ceremony at Roxy Cinema, Wellington.
Mika is delighted with the audience response: “It was fantastic to be there in the cinema and hearing the laughter. Ngā mihi to cast
and crew, Rupe Whanau, supporters, NZIFF and audience.
“This vote from the audience has given me the confidence that I am the right person to make the authentic feature film about the life of
Carmen Rupe, about a person on the outskirts for all people.
“I am donating the $1000 prize money back to the Mika Haka Foundation to support the engagement of Māori, Pacific LGBTQi young adults on the feature.”
GURL is a chapter in Mika’s planned feature film The Book of Carmen, Mika's disguised retelling of the true story of Carmen Rupe, NZ’s
infamous Māori drag queen which re-imagines the golden age of New Zealand's bustling1970s underground sex scene.
Starring Jay Tewake, Brady Peeti, Jackie Clarke, Regan Taylor and a sparkling diverse and LGBTQi cast of performers, GURL was written, directed
and produced by Mika X, with consulting producers Georgina Condor and Philippa Campbell.
In 2020, for the first time, Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts is a competitive section in the Festival. Ngā Whanaunga is a collection of Māori and Pasifika short films curated by
Leo Koziol (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Rakaipaaka), Director of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival, with guest co-curator Craig Fasi (Niue), Director of the Pollywood Film Festival.