Taika Waititi (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui)
Taika Waititi is an actor, director, and writer for both film and television. His most recent feature, Boy, became New Zealand’s top grossing film of all time in a record eight weeks. In 2010 the film won a Grand Prize at the Berlin Film Festival, and Waititi carried home six of New Zealand’s Qantas Film and Television Awards, three of them for his own work as director, writer, and supporting actor.
Waititi’s 2007 romantic comedy Eagle vs Shark, which he also wrote, directed, and performed in, was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and won Best Screenplay at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. The same year, he was named by Variety magazine as one of their “Ten Directors to Watch.” Waititi worked on the popular HBO series Flight of the Conchordes, penning two of the episodes and directing four. He is also directing for MTV the pilot of The Inbetweeners, a remake of the award-winning British sitcom.
Waititi has also produced short films. He is one of seven innovative indigenous filmmakers participating in the Embargo Collective, a project produced by imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. These works premiered as a group at imagineNATIVE in 2009, and were selected for screening in the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival and the 2011 Native American Film + Video Festival. His earlier film Two Cars, One Night was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short in 2005 and won eight awards at film festivals internationally, including Best Drama at the 2004 Aspen Shorts Fest and Best Short Film in the Panorama Section of the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival.
Performing under the name Taika Cohen, Waititi has acted in seven other films, most recently portraying the Green Lantern’s Inuit sidekick in the 2011 movie Green Lantern from Warner Brothers. He has also written, directed, and acted for television, and is well-known in New Zealand as a stand-up comedian. Film and television are only two of Waititi’s many interests, which include painting, photography, and fashion design. Waititi was born in Wellington and grew up on the east coast of New Zealand.
Work featured: The White Tiger