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“The revolution isn’t just running out with a gun. If a film I make

causes indigenous people to feel stronger about themselves,

then I’m achieving something worthwhile for the revolution.”

– Merata Mita

2019 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection Marks Debut Documentary From Film Archivist Heperi Mita

LOS ANGELES, CA (January 28, 2019) - ARRAY Releasing has acquired the 2019 Sundance and Berlinale Film Festivals Official Selections, MERATA. Directed by film archivist Heperi ‘Hepi’ Mita. A documentary portrait of the pioneering indigenous filmmaker and activist Merata Mita, MERATA is an intimate tribute from a son about his mother that delves into the life of the first woman from an Indigenous Nation to solely direct a film anywhere in the world. ARRAY has acquired distribution rights for the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. The announcement was made today by ARRAY Founder, filmmaker Ava DuVernay.

Known as the grandmother of Indigenous cinema, Merata’s independent political documentaries of the ‘70s and ‘80s highlighted injustices for Māori people, and often divided the country. Mita was fearless in her life, her activism and her art. Chronicling the director’s journey to decolonize the film and television screens of New Zealand and the world, the film documents her work, her early struggles with her family and her drive for social justice that often proved personally dangerous.

“Through his film, director Heperi Mita introduces a new generation to an artist and cultural leader that everyone should know. We at ARRAY are honored to distribute this beautiful film about the legacy, dignity and talent of the great filmmaker, mother and icon, Merata Mita,” stated ARRAY’s Vice President Tilane Jones.

“There are so many similarities between ARRAY’s philosophy and Merata’s legacy. To have a company led by a woman of color, fearless in her pursuit of inclusivity, is an honor and in the spirit of Merata’s life’s work,” said MERATA producer Chelsea Winstanley.

The deal for the film, previously programmed as MERATA: HOW MUM DECOLONISED THE SCREEN, was negotiated by Gordon Bobb of Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano on behalf of ARRAY as well MERATA producer Chelsea Winstanley for the filmmakers.


Founded in 2010 by Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a film collective dedicated to the amplification of images by people of color and women directors. Now in its ninth year, ARRAY Releasing focuses on grass-roots distribution of feature narrative and documentary work by varied voices. Newly formed non-profit ARRAY Alliance expands on the organization’s deep roots in independent film through special programming geared towards impactful, inclusive initiatives. Together, ARRAY continues to champion underrepresented creators in creative space.