NZ film 'Run It Straight' addresses issues in West Papua

Run It Straight is a short film set in a rugby league club room. It tells the story of a community that opens their hearts to the story of West Papua.

The film was written and directed by Tere Harrison who was inspired by a protest rally by the Hunters Rugby League Club Wellington in support of West Papua.

Harrison says, “It’s rare to see a sports club protest but I saw league players, their whānau and Pacific Island students in the rain outside the Indonesian Embassy demanding freedom for West Papua. It was powerful.

I was also surprised at how little the public knew, how little Māori knew of the issue of West Papua. The Pacifica community had turned out but Māori, known for protest action, were notably absent. It was a clear indication that we didn’t know enough about this and I wanted to change that.”

Featuring Māori and Pacific commentators Dr Maria Bargh, Dr Teresia Teaiwa and Dr Pala Molisa, Run It Straight is a mash up of drama, poetry and documentary footage wrapped in a large dose of Māori humour and emotion.

Renowned Māori rights activist, Hone Harawira also makes an appearance.

Harrison says, “It made sense to invite someone who has stood up for peoples around the world. It made sense to invite Hone Harawira and he didn’t hesitate he was on set within a few weeks of asking him and drove from Kaitaia to Wellington knowing we had no budget to pay him.

Most of those who contributed to the film did so without payment. This was the level of support I received when we approached people. The support from everyone was overwhelming.”

Advance Screenings of Run It Straight are being held throughout the country before it is released online on 20 February 2016.