Congratulations to Matasila Freshwater (DEGANZ) for winning the Sun Jury Prize at this year’s imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. The prize was won for her work as director and writer on Hiama, an “amazing reclamation of the horror genre through a Solomon Islands lens.”

Hiama tells the story of a teenage girl and her Hiama (shamanic guardian spirit), who teaches her to invoke her inner power when she encounters racism and microaggressions at her high school.

Matasila spoke of her motives for telling this story, which included the desire to subvert the traditionally Euro-centric horror genre. Matasila observed how in the horror genre “blackness and darkness was something to be fearful of.” By subverting this narrative, she instead makes blackness “empowering”.

The episode is part of the wider series Teina Sā: The Ancient Ones, which centers around stories of modern day issues that impact Pasifika women. Matasila’s award-winning episode is available to watch for free on The CoconetTV’s Youtube channel.

See the full list of the 2021 imagineNATIVE award winners here.

Last night we welcomed Leslee Udwin to New Zealand in partnership with Script to Screen. Leslee Udwin is the formidable woman behind the making of the documentary India’s Daughter. An actress, producer, director and activist, Leslee inspired us all with stories about her life and career, which spans projects such as East Is East, Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution and West Is West. Then there’s India’s Daughter, which moved Leslee to campaign tirelessly for women’s rights and better ethical education around the world.

There’s no doubt that everybody who attended walked away feeling inspired and motivated by Leslee’s words. Many thanks to Shuchi Kothari for her wonderful facilitation of the session.

Wellingtonians can see Leslee tonight at the NZ Film and Television School from 6 – 7.30pm. Please RSVP to

Our thanks to the New Zealand Film Commission for their continued support of our events.