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Intersectional Feminism and Migration in the Cinema of Aotearoa New Zealand

March 5 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

This event will spotlight the dynamic link between intersectional feminism and women’s cinema in Aotearoa, which illustrates a startling variety of perspectives on the challenges women face on and off-screen, as well as a refreshing willingness to confront head-on the differences among women in the diverse island nation of roughly 5 million people (of whom 27.4% are not New Zealand born)[1]. Kāinga (2022) is the latest anthology film from producers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, the pair behind the rules-based and women-authored collaborative features, Waru (2017) and Vai (2019). Waru is comprised of eight 10-minute long takes written, directed by, and starring Māori women, while Vai’s eight 10-minute long takes are directed by Pasifika women and set across the Pacific. Kāinga completes Warkia and McNaughton’s trilogy of women-of-colour centred anthologies, yet departs from the first two by electing not to focus on Indigenous but on migrant women, with Asian New Zealanders helming the feature film.

After screening Kāinga, Missy Molloy (Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington) and Selmin Kara (OCAD University) will lead a discussion of the intersectional feminism that grounds the film, with special attention paid to its unifying element: a house in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, through which a parade of Asian immigrant families transit over a 50-year span. In a bold move, the film’s title applies a Māori concept of home, “kāinga,” to recent Asian immigrants only temporarily occupying the house in Auckland, which can be interpreted as an acknowledgement of shared struggles among women of colour whose experiences of home and belonging have been shaped by colonial histories that continue to reverberate in contemporary patterns of global migration. Molloy is a senior lecturer in film in Aotearoa, where she coordinated an event celebrating Waru and Vai with Warkia and McNaughton in 2019, and Kara is a Toronto-based film scholar who specialises in environmental, alternative and Indigenous cinemas. To the “migration storytelling” series,  Kāinga contributes sophisticated cinematic storytelling that showcases the impressive range of colonial, racial, class and gender contexts present in contemporary Aotearoa, wherein a growing number of women filmmakers are confronting “the dominant, white, mono-cultural perspective on life” (Merata Mita) long upheld by mainstream cinemas.

About the speakers

Selmin Kara is an Associate Professor of Film and New Media Studies at OCAD University in Toronto. Her primary research interests are digital aesthetics and ecological sensibilities in cinema as well as the use of sound and new technologies in contemporary documentary. She is the co-editor of Contemporary Documentary, Cybermedia: Explorations in Science, Sound, and Vision, and the Visible Evidence Forum. Her work has also appeared in Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st Century Film, The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media, Screen, Sequence, Resilience, Music and Sound in Nonfiction Film, The Philosophy of Documentary, and Studies in Documentary Film.

Missy Molloy is Senior Lecturer in film at Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington in Aotearoa New Zealand, where she lectures on women’s, queer, posthuman and activist cinemas. She is co-author of Screening the Posthuman (Oxford University Press 2023) and co-editor of ReFocus: The Films of Susanne Bier (Edinburgh University Press 2018). Her publications include “Indigenous Futurist and Women-Centred Dystopian Film” (Feminist Posthumanism and Postfeminist Humanism 2023), the video essay “Art Cinema’s Suicidal Posthuman Women” ([in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies 2024), and “Indigenous Feminism Revitalizing the Long Take: Waru and The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” (Jump Cut 2021).



March 5
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Room 1-42
67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2 Canada
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