Directed by her youngest son and archivist Hepi Mita, the film is a deeply intimate portrait of the New Zealand filmmaker — who became the first indigenous woman to write and direct a narrative feature in the 1970s. Mita became an essential voice for her underrepresented community (director Taika Waititi is a disciple) and served as a longtime advisor to the Sundance Institute.
Sold for an undisclosed amount, the film was produced by Chelsea Winstanley through her Arama Pictures. Array did not immediately comment on plans for a theatrical release, but Winstanley told Variety she was drawn to Array’s “event-based screenings.” Array took distribution territories including the United States, Canada and the U.K.
Array, which aims to promote work by women and people of color, previously released titles “Out of My Hand” and “Ayanda” on Netflix. One individual familiar with Array said the company and streaming service have an output deal. Netflix had no immediate comment.
“Merata” screened in Sundance’s documentary premieres section, where Hepi Mita says it draws on the political and social intersection of his mother’s day, but “really, it’s a family tale.” The doc includes footage from interviews and her work, as well as conversations with her children and “Jojo Rabbit” helmer Waititi.
Watch the trailer below.