“A director-comedian-painter-writer-photographer-actor, he’s the sort of artist that the hyphen was invented for.” (source)
Taika David Waititi also known as Taika Cohen was born on August 16, 1975. He is of Maori (from his father’s side), and Jewish (from his mother’s side) descent. Taika was born and raised in Te-Whānau-a-Apanui (the East Coast region) and also in Wellington, New Zealand.
As a performer, comedian, visual artist, and director, Taika has been a strong and driving force throughout New Zealand for a few years.
He was a part of five-men comedian group, So You’re a Man, while going to Victoria University of Wellington. He also formed a comedy duo called Humorbeasts with Jemaine Clement who was a part So You’re a Man. Humorbeasts earned the guys New Zealand’s highest comedy accolade, the Billy T Award, in 1999.
His dramatic performing skill, in the successful low-budget film Scarfies, was critically acclaimed and nominated for Best Actor at the 2000 Nokia Film Awards.
Taika’s short film, Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005. His next short, Tama Tu, about a group of Māori soldiers in Italy during World War II, won a string of international awards. He has been named as “one of ten new directors to watch” in the influential United States entertainment magazine “Variety” after the release of his first feature film Eagle vs. Shark in 2007.
Taika’s latest feature-length film, Boy, has become the highest grossing local film in New Zealand history. In March 2012, Boy was released in the USA thanks to the money raised through a public funding website, Kickstarter.
Taika directed a few episodes of a US version of the acclaimed British tv comedy series, The Inbetweeners. His third feature film, which is a mocumentary about vampires living in Wellington was written and directed together with his old friend and comedy partner, Jemaine Clement. The film is based on their short film from 2005, What We Do In the Shadows. Taika’s next projects include a World War 2 comedy, Jojo Rabbit based on the novel ‘Caging Skies’ by Christine Leunens (the script made The Black List 2012) and The Last Family in England – Matt Haig’s first novel, a tragi-comedy centered on a talking dog (Brad Pitt’s Plan B is going to be the producer).
As a visual artist, Taika spent two years in Berlin working and exhibiting and several years experimenting with photography and painting. Taika was one of five inaugural recipients of the Arts Foundation’s New Generation Award in 2006.
Taika is, to his international fans, an unstoppable rising star who doesn’t limit himself from creating any artistic form or genre which inspires millions of people around the world.
Meet his schizophrenic talent in every area he tries:
- The Director
- The Writer (apart from the films he directed himself)
- The Actor
- The Comedian
- The Artist
Where to find Taika on the Interwebz:
- @TaikaWaititi on Twitter (recommended)
- Taika Waititi on Facebook
- Taika Waititi on Instagram
- Helvetaika on Tumblr
- happytaika on MySpace (old account, rather not visited by Taika anymore)
Taika is available through:
- Hungry Man (USA / UK / Rio)
- Curious Film (AUS / NZ)
- Script to Screen (NZ)
Taika is married to a director and producer Chelsea Winstanley (Ngati Ranginui) and he’s a proud father of two daughters, Te Kainga o Te Hinekāhu (20.05.2012) and Matewa Kiritapu (21.08.2015).