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Wellington Produced Short Film To Screen At The 2021 Cannes Film Festival

Based on the classic ‘Football at Christmas’ World War One story, the 15-minute film THE HAKA is directed by Isaac Lee, written by April Phillips and Isaac Lee, with cinematography by Matt Sharp.

Maori soldiers fighting in World War I in 1914 receive Christmas gifts from home. When a ceasefire is agreed upon between the warring parties, the Germans want to play a game of football. The Maori want to play rugby. In order to keep the peace, the officers order the Maori soldiers to play football. In order to save their face and keep their honour, the Maori soldiers agree on the condition that they are allowed to perform a Haka before the game. The commanding officer reluctantly agrees because he fears that the Germans will consider this a threat and resume fighting. Will the Maori save their face and will the peace hold?

Set in earth trenches, the short film depicts Māori soldiers in World War I in 1914 who have received Christmas gifts from those at home in New Zealand. When the two sides agree to a ceasefire, the Germans want to play a game of football. The Māori, who play their home country national sport of rugby don’t play football. It was agreed under orders of their officer orders that his men to play football. To save face and keep their honour, the Māori soldiers agree on the condition that they are allowed to perform a Haka before the game. Their commanding officer reluctantly agreed but fears the Germans will consider the Haka a threat and trigger a resumption in fighting.

The all-Wellington production extended to the set, built in a paddock on Isaac Lee’s Akatarawa Valley farm.

Mr Isaac Lee said, “We’re delighted to win selection to these two prestigious film festivals. The team were particularly pleased with Bernard Bories, the President of the Cinema des Antipodes stating, THE HAKA is a beautiful film on a terrible war which caused millions of deaths. But this film, with humour and sensitivity, gives us faith and hope in humanity. It is a film that we have to share to remember that there were wars, but also that they can be avoided if we share our mutual cultures. I am very happy to be able to share it with the French audience.”

THE HAKA was released online on Anzac Day, 25 April 2021 and can be viewed here.

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