Tauranga-based filmmakers Jake and Claire Mokomoko are over the moon to see their first short film, Hāngi Pants, selected to open the Show me Shorts Festival, New Zealand's leading international short film festival.
As first-time filmmakers, they were unable to secure funding but that didn't stop them from forging ahead with their vision to produce a comedy based on the tangi (funeral) of Uncle Tawera and the succession of his ex-wives who show up and seek to out-do each other.
"Hāngi Pants is a real-life hilarious story based on my mother's memory of witnessing a string of women coming out of the woodworks at a tangi, says Claire of Te Ātianga a Māhaki, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.
"We didn't think twice about funding this ourselves but it's great to see our work being recognised."
Claire co-wrote the story alongside Jake, of Whakatohea and Te Rarawa.
"We knew it would make a funny short film and saw it as an opportunity to follow our passion for telling stories," Claire says.
Having attended film school and worked as a camera operator for over 17 years, Jake's no stranger to the industry. Now working as an independent director of photography, Jake has spent the past four years travelling around the world shooting stories for Amazon Prime and the UFC.
"Without a doubt our drive and determination comes from having six kids and showing them they can achieve anything they set their minds to," Jake says.
Hāngi Pants will have its world premiere on Friday, October 2, at the Show Me Shorts Festival opening night before screening around the country.