This section shares fans’ experience of the encounters with Taika.
Don’t forget to send us your story, if it’s not here yet in WORLD OF TAIKA. And, we wish everyone that we all get a chance to meet charming Taika in person and form a great memory.
“BOY” after the show Q&A and Crazy Horses Gang Meeting _|>_|>_|>
Varsity Theatre, Seattle. March 25th, 2012
by Melissa Ponder
BOY is hilarious AND sensitive, with some tense and sad moments, but overall marvelously sweet, smart, and gentle. Just go see this well rounded movie and see it again, well, EVERYTHING by Taika. And, go not just because we need to support filmmakers of color, especially Maori, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, but simply because Taika is genuinely an awesome storyteller, actor, artist and in kind of gentle, self depecrating (maybe sometimes smirky funny) way. I don’t know, maybe he curls up in the corner of his bedroom and bangs his head on he wall every night. Yea, I don’t really care, whatever it takes to keep him doing what he’s doing. (Hey, of course, I care!)
I am not going to pretend to be a reviewer, or an artsy fart (well, fart maybe). I probably only saw six movies on big screens last year, most were probably kids movies. But, I totally dig Taika’s work from “Two Cars, One Night,” “Eagle vs. Shark,” “Flight of the Conchords” episodes he directed (as well as the ones he didn’t), even the recent NBC Superbowl Commercial (anyone who knows me knows that I did not see it live), and especially his TedTalk. It was actually when I accidentally happened upon his TedTalk (not knowing who he was) that I realized I LIKE him (and that I’d already been enjoying his work without knowing it!).
In an effort to not take up too much of his space (and because I really get weird in those artsy fart situations), I really only shook his hand, mumbled a few things, and took pics of friends with him. He is Laugh Out Loud funny and seems to have a genuine humility even when confronted with awe and googly goo from fans ;-) Maybe it’s a Maori or Kiwi thing? Is NZ using Maori charm to dominate the world?
Anyways, I look forward to MORE, MORE, MORE. Did Taika say something about vampires with Jemaine? YES! (Yes, I do need to get out more ;-)
Two times lucky Marie Hall
” Lucky me!! A few minutes with Taika.” @ Sundance 2010
“Lucky me..I’m two for two. Got a pic with Taika at Sundance and last week at Lincoln Center in NYC.” March 3rd, 2012
“Here is a segment of a Facebook conversation I had with Taika quite a while back. […] This conversation has been a huge inspiration, and one of the biggest reasons I’ve continued to try and work my way into this industry.”
New Zealand Film Festival, London
July 1 & 2, 2011
Day 1 of the New Zealand Film Festival- Introduction by Taika Waititi + Screening of Two Cars, One Night and BOY
I attended the screening of Two Cars, One Night and BOY on the 1st of July 2011 and the screening of Tama Tu and Eagle vs Shark on the 2nd of July 2011 at The Barbican Centre as part of the New Zealand Film Festival in London.
During the introduction of Two Cars, One Night and BOY, Taika amused the audience by giving a laid back introduction. He started off by saying that he came in from LA which he described as a place in America as the person who introduced Taika was unsure of whether he came in from LA or NYC. He talked about being incredibly jetlagged and that it felt as though everything was moving around him, even the jagged structures on the walls but then went on to say that the place looked cool. He described the New Zealand Film Festival as a showcase of the “life and works of Taika Waititi” and thanked the organisers. He also asked how many New Zealanders were in attendance and since there were quite a few cheers, Taika was like “eurgh”. He talked about the cast of BOY including James Rolleston and how the lead actor was re-cast because he grew up fast but he was given another role. He also talked about where BOY was filmed and how practically everyone in the town is a relative of his. Since he had already watched the films, he said he would just leave after giving his introduction but in fact it turned out that he stayed and mingled with everyone outside the cinema at the bar outside afterwards.
After Taika’s introduction, they showed an advert for the New Zealand Film Festival at The Barbican and they also showed advert for New Zealand with a focus on the rugby. One by One by The Black Seeds happened to also be playing in the background!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching both Two Cars, One Night and BOY on the big screen. It was also really interesting listening to people’s reactions throughout both films. There was lots of laughter, especially during Two Cars, One Night. There was applause at the end of each film and after the Thriller/Haka dance during the credits. Thus I would say both films were very well received by the audience.
I met Taika with my friend Aimee after the screening. Once Taika caught sight of her Crazy Horses t-shirt, he had a big smile on his face and was like, “Heeeyyy!” and hugged Aimee. Then I introduced myself and he said in a really upbeat manner, “Hi, I’m Taika!” He had the cutest smile on his face and gave me a big hug! Aimee handed over her DVD of BOY to be signed by Taika and he said that he needed a flat surface so we just followed behind him and waited for him to finish signing her DVD which ended up taking quite a while because he gave Aimee’s DVD an awesome makeover!
Once Taika was done signing Aimee’s DVD cover, I asked both Taika and Iain Morris (writer of The Inbetweeners and a couple FOTC episodes) to sign my FOTC Season 1 DVD cover. Iain said that we could have a debate about who wrote the best episode, him or Taika. Aimee mentioned that Iain wrote ‘The Actor’ in Season 1 of FOTC but Iain didn’t seem to remember the name of it or something, haha. Taika laughed and said that he was glad that she remembered since Iain doesn’t seem to.
At some point, I told Taika how much I love BOY and that my friends who hadn’t seen it before really enjoyed it too and he smiled and thanked me. I also told him that I was attending the screening of Eagle vs Shark which is one of my favourite films and he was like, “Oh really? I’m glad, thank you”. After that I asked Taika if I could take a photo with him. At first he put his arm around me and we just smiled for the camera.
And then he said something along the lines of, “We have to do the Crazy Horses sign now!” so we took another photo doing the gang sign.
Day 2 of the New Zealand Film Festival – Screening of Tama Tu and Eagle vs Shark + Q&A with Taika Waititi hosted by Dave Calhoun, Film Editor at Time Out
As we were sitting in our seats waiting for the screening to begin, Taika seemingly popped out of nowhere from a seat in the front row to briefly introduce Eagle vs Shark. Iain was in attendance again as well so I saw him walking down to take a seat in the front row for the screening.
Tama Tu screened before Eagle vs Shark and again, I would say both films were well received and the audience’s reactions to certain parts of the films were very amusing. For instance, there were loud audible gasps when Jarrod punched the box containing the cake Lily made for him which cracked both me and Aimee up. It was also a great experience for me being able to watch Tama Tu for the first time.
It was pretty funny and cringeworthy during the Q&A when that guy was saying that he was a huge Flight of the Conchords fan and then went on to refer to Jemaine as Jerome and the host even repeated him.
Once most people had left, Aimee’s friend Eric went up to talk to Taika whilst he was signing his ticket. Taika was sitting down talking to Eric whilst signing his ticket on a table and at one moment, looked up and caught sight of me and said, “Oh, hey!” in mid-conversation with another big smile on his face.
After he had finished talking to Eric, I asked Taika whether he could sign my Eagle vs Shark DVD and he was like “yeah, sure” and he said he was going to do another amazing design in reference to Aimee’s BOY DVD cover. During the time he was signing my DVD cover, I asked him how writing for the film that he’s doing with Jemaine which he mentioned in the Q&A was going and he said it was going well and that they were writing a vampire movie. Then I asked whether it’s based on the short film they did quite a few years ago [What We Do In The Shadows] and he said yes and that it’s taken them that long to get down to writing it. I also talked about hoping that BOY gets distributed in the UK for others to see even though my friend from Auckland sent me over a copy. Taika also talked about travelling around a lot so I asked whether he was still as jetlagged as he said he was the day before but he told me that it had all worn off and that he was leaving London the following day.
After, we all took a group photo with Taika and I shook his hand thanking him for his time. He also went around to hug all of us before we left. We all waved goodbye, I wished him a safe journey and that’s about it. Oh, and we decided to walk upstairs and ended up meeting Iain and Taika again as they were coming out of the lift, haha.
So as you can tell, I had an amazing time at the NZFF. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to watch his films on the big screen and meeting Taika twice, who seemed genuinely happy to interact with all of us, was truly the icing on the cake.
written by Vesna; photos by Vesna, Aimee and Chloé
Screening of Boy at the AFI fest in L.A
Nov 6th, 2010
When the girl was introducing Taika before the movie she mentioned something about how funny he is, and Taika was just standing off to the side saying “It’s true! It’s true!”. Then when he took the mic to introduce the movie he said something like “Audience, the movie. Movie, the audience.” like he was introducing two people, then said “I’ve done that joke before. It’s dumb now.”
He mentioned that he’d answer all our questions after the movie, then as he was about to leave he said something like “By the way, I’m not dressed like this for you! It’s my friend’s birthday.” and when he started to leave the room he told us “I’m not going to stay, I’ve seen it before.”
The answers he gave to the questions after the movie were all things he’s mentioned about a million times in interviews so I won’t go over everything he said, but basically people were asking about where the movie was made, how long it took to make it, what it was like working with kids, etc. His microphone was directly in front of us and we were in the second row, so we had a really nice view of the whole thing. There was a photographer taking pics during the Q&A so hopefully those will pop up online sometime soon. Especially since he looked sooooo good in that suit!
We waited for most people to exit the theater before we went up to talk to him after, mostly because it took me about a hundred years to figure out how to work my camera since I was so nervous. (We were timing how long it took me to recover when we left him, and I think it was upwards of 20 minutes before I had completely stopped shaking- that guy had a serious affect on me. ) So that’s why we were being kicked out of the theater and Taika had to walk backwards in Jessica’s video.
Like Chrissy said, Taika was just hanging out outside the theater for a long time after that, so we went back up to him to get another picture. He shook all our hands as we were about to leave, and he did a two handed handshake for Vanessa and I. Having Taika cover up my hand with both of his… His hands felt really nice and warm, but I don’t know if that really says much about him because I’ve realized that most people’s hands are warm compared to mine.
We all went to the bathroom and he was still hanging around after we came back. We were trying to figure out what we were going to do when I realized we should give him a heads up about the gift Ami will be giving him, so we went back up to him as he was leaving. He said thank you or something like that and then said it was nice meeting us as he left. Part of me feels like we must have been bugging him by going up to him for a third time, but he didn’t seem to mind too much.
He gave me a pat on the shoulder as he was was leaving… Seriously, you guys, the man just can’t keep his hands off me.
Umm… I think that’s it. I’ll post again if I think of anything else.
ADD: Oh and Taika said he’s going to New York soon. Let’s hope he gets some work done with Jemaine!
Book Soup Event: launch of the book Take 100: The Future of Film: 100 New Directors featuring a panel discussion with Taika.
Sept 28th, 2010
Chrissy + Caitlin + Vanessa + Sara (FOTCmb)
They opened the doors really soon after that so we went in and got seats up front. The place was really small, so we would have had fairly good seats even if we sat in the back. It was a really intimate setting (which is why we didn’t take pictures during the panel)- the people on the panel weren’t even on stage, they were sitting on stools in front of it. Taika entered the theater right after us and was hanging out off to the side with the other people on the panel. They didn’t start for a while so I had a quite hard time trying to not stare at him and act like a crazy fan while we waited.
When the moderator guy announced him and listed him movies, he also mentioned his acadamy award nomination, and Taika just said “I lost!” and walked over to take his seat.
It’s hard for me to remember everything he said once the panel started but I’ll post the things that stuck out most in my mind and hopefully everyone else will be able to fill in the gaps…
I know that first question was about how they got into film making and Taika was talking about how there were two channels in New Zealand until 1994, and it was huge news that they were getting a third channel. He said that when he was younger he worked at a fruit shop that also rented out videos and he would give out cigarettes and pornos to all the local kids. And he said that he and his friends would record audio shows before they ever had a video camera, and the first one he made was about a mummy that had sex.
He said it was really degrading being fully waxed and wearing a g-string to play a stripper, so he wrote Two Cars One Night while in the green room of that show so he could get his mind off that situation. (Funny how Taika can talk about something being degrading and he manages to make it completely hilarious. )
He also said that lately he and Jemaine have been pitching a movie idea (that they might work on next year!!! ) to different people and doing a horrible job of it. Because they’ll just look at each other and go “And then his character… And then my character… And then what happened? And then a werewolf jumps down the street … so we’ll need a special effect … to make it look like a werewolf jumped down the street.” It’s probably not nearly as funny when I type it out like that, but Taika had the whole place cracking up every time he spoke. Chrissy asked him afterward if he was talking about the vampire movie, and he said it was a fantasy sort of movie.
Taika told the story of when Eagle vs. Shark was shown at a Russian film festival and they put subtitles of some random language up on the screen and had a voice over guy off to the side in a half-booth reading all the lines live along with the movie. He met the voice guy before the movie and the guy was telling him that he was the best voice actor in Russia, but then when the movie was going he was watching the audience take a comedic break-up scene completely seriously.
Vanessa asked him if Boy is going to be released in the US anytime soon and he said he didn’t know. Then he said “maybe next year” but then repeated that he didn’t know. He said that people who are struggling with money don’t want to see a movie about poor people, they want to go to space for three hours. So we’ll see Boy here when America is rich again.
There was one point during the panel, while someone else was talking, that he got all fidgety and starting picking a sticker that was on his microphone. Kind of random, but I thought it was completely adorable.
When the panel ended he stood up and groaned because he was sore, which we found out later was because he had been doing martial arts the night before. He was talking to people on his way out of the room and we told Chrissy that she needed to go up and talk to him because she’s the most extroverted. We had to follow him for a minute, but eventually Chrissy was able to get his attention ( ). He shook all of our hands and asked our names (omg, when he looked right at me and said “Nice to meet you, Sara” ). He appoligized for being so low energy (which I didn’t understand because not only did he seem like normal Taika to me, but he was by far the most energetic person on the panel ), he said it was because he had been doing sports the night before. He said the name of the martial arts he had been doing, but it’s totally slipping my mind…I think he said it was some sort of Iranian martial arts…? Then Chrissy asked the question about the movie and he started telling us about his new approach to pitching movies- he’s just going to act like he doesn’t want them to be made.
We got our picture with him and he had to take a second one because his hat was blocking my face. Then he rushed off pretty quickly to find his iPhone, which the projection guy had so he could play the trailer for Boy. As we were leaving the theater I heard him asking someone else about his phone…he was on a mission to find that thing.
It was really amazing to meet him. He was chatting with us like we were friends of his or something… It was different than meeting Bret or Jemaine… It’s hard to explain, but I guess it seemed like we were being treated less like fans and more like random people who he was just meeting… I don’t know if that makes any sense, but the whole meeting just had a different feel to it (to me, at least). Anyway, he was very nice to us.
Also he looks just wonderful in person.