As the 2016 Sundance Film Festival underway in Park City, Sundance Institute has unveiled their latest initiative to support underrepresented creative voices. The Merata Mita Fellowship, a new annual fellowship named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita (1942-2010), was announced today. The first recipient is Ciara Leina’ala Lacy (Kanaka Maoli) from O’ahu, Hawai’i. In addition to networking opportunities at the Sundance Film Festival, Lacy will receive a monetary grant, yearlong continuum of support, access to strategic and creative services offered by Sundance Institute’s artists programs and mentorship opportunities.
Merata Mita (Ngai te Rangi/Ngati Pikiao) was New Zealand's first Indigenous female filmmaker. She served as an advisor and artistic director of the Sundance Institute NativeLab from 2000 to 2009, where she championed emerging Indigenous talent. The 2016 Merata Mita Fellowship is supported by several international partners, including: the Embassy of Australia; New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Te Whanau a Apanui), who has a new film at the festival this year; Indigenous Media Initiatives; and Pacific Islanders in Communications.
Ciara is currently producing the PIC-funded film Out of State. To learn more about her work, please read: