Directed by Curtis Vowell
Closing Night Film, 2013 New Zealand International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Official Selection, 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival
The distinctive fantail bird of New Zealand is known in Maori mythology as a messenger of death, and more commonly for its aimless and unpredictable paths of flight. Like the titular bird, FANTAIL’s Tania (Sophie Henderson) sits perched every night at a 24/7 service station, hoping to save money for the next take-off: a trip to look for an estranged father with her younger brother Pi, who is slowly growing independent from his sister.
Both Tania and Pi are half-Maori, but Tania doesn’t look it as much as her brother does. Her specific shade of mixed race has set her on a different path, or at least it feels that way to her, a pākehā in a world of color. Her manager Rog (Stephen Lovatt) is the opposite: a Maori who doesn’t particular feel like one. Together, they joke, work, and play into the night.
In FANTAIL, the quietly eerie backdrop of the late shift sets the scene for bright personalities to shine. First-time director Curtis Vowell, working from a theatrical show by Henderson, weaves identity and myth into a smart, at times very funny, and ultimately explosive look at siblings finding their own paths. –Eric Lallana
Cast: Sophie henderson, Stephen Lovatt, Jarod Rawiri, Jahalis Ngamotu