Taika Waititi set to receive major filmmaking award

Publish Date
Wednesday, 7 August 2019, 2:02PM
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New Zealand's own Taika Waititi is about to receive a major award in filmmaking at one of the biggest film festivals in the world.

The heads of the Toronto International Film Festival today announced that the Oscar-nominated director will be honoured with the Ebert Director Award at this year's new Tribute Gala awards event.

According to TIFF, the award "recognises and honours a distinguished filmmaker for their outstanding contribution to cinema".

Co-head Joana Vicente says, "Taika Waititi is one of the most innovative, bold, and exciting filmmakers working in the industry right now. TIFF is thrilled to honour his extraordinary talent."

Her fellow co-head Cameron Bailey adds, "Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now.

"His films are full of razor-sharp humour, faultless style, and boundless generosity. Somehow he manages to stuff both indie hits and massive crowd-pleasers with big, radical ideas."

Waititi's latest film JoJo Rabbit - a satire involving a ludicrous imaginary version of Hitler - is set to have its world premiere at the festival.

Waititi made his mark on Hollywood when he directed Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok, which made over $850 million at the box office worldwide and changed the tone and direction of the entire franchise.

He also write and direct the upcoming sequel Thor: Love and Thunder.

Other films include the likes of Kiwi favourites Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, as well as What We Do In the Shadows, which he co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in with Jemaine Clement.

He was nominated for an Academy Award for his short Two Cars, One Night.

Previous recipients of the Ebert Director Award - previously the Roger Ebert Golden Thumb Award - include superstar directors like Martin Scorsese, Ava DuVernay and Agnès Varda.

The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15.

This article was originally published at nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission