Short Films

The White Tiger (2009)

Presented as part of EMBARGO COLLECTIVE

An urban warrior returns to his tribal homeland in a quest to discover his cultural identity.

The Embargo Collective went to Berlin 2010: Taika Waititi flagrantly and hilariously addresses and breaks almost all the rules imposed upon him in The White Tiger.

> Embargo Collective
> Film News – imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

OneDreamRush: Last Night (2009)

42×42 Film Festival – 42 Filmmakers make 42 second films for 42 Below.

For Taika, the challenge was to get the tone right when making something about dreams.

“It’s really hard not to be pretentious,” he says. “And it’s hard not to be too irreverent, you know? It’s hard to take it seriously. I feel it would be really easy just to take the piss and make something that’s a bit stupid and have a laugh. Which is fine, but I think I was trying to make something a little bit more honest than what I would usually do if it was like a 48-hour challenge or something.”

[…] the time limit was difficult. Taika says that the challenge lies in “making something that isn’t too boring. It feels that even with 42 seconds you can have really long dead spots. It will just drag on. It’s also longer than a commercial. I think, in 30 seconds, you can do it. But between 30 seconds and a minute is difficult.”

Taika’s short features a combination of in-camera effects trickery (no computers were used) – something he’s fond of doing, but feels doesn’t work for longer projects.

“I try to do a lot of in-camera tricks and stuff in music videos and try and be a little bit more visually creative. But in a feature you can’t really get away with it as much because it pulls the audience down too much. You know, when you start getting too tricky like that you sort of lose the audience – they start kind of thinking: ‘oh shit, how did you do that?’ I don’t think I’m good enough to be able to incorporate something that stylistic into a proper narrative.” (from A Quick Chat With Taika Waititi)


Sometimes I have these dreams where I am about to die or cross over to another place and I consciously have to say to myself “Taika, go back to your body before it’s too late”. I’m not sure if you can actually die in a dream but I think the opportunity to leave for a while is there. This film might be about that kind of thing, or not. I don’t really have a clue.

> official YT channel

A Perfect Love (2008)

Made as part of the 48hours Furious Filmmaking competition 2008.

This years elements were…
Character: Kerry Post; A Perfectionist
Line of Dialogue: “Wait a minute”
Prop: A Brush Review from Steelpotato…

Kerry goes around Wellington nodding his head at things he finds perfect, like a fruit arrangement or makes perfect eg by tidying up, shaking his head at things that are not like rocks. Seeking a like mind, he sets up a facebook page, furiously typing what he is after, however he really wants someone exactly like himself, and from here the film gets its edge. In an outstanding basic choice of outfit that fits the character; a pink jersey and glasses, Taika gives a superb performance.


> Kerry Post’s Facebook page
(no use in sending him a friend request; he’s too in love with himself ;)

Arab Samurai (2007)

I made this as part of the 48 Hour Film Competition 2007 but handed in about 70 hours too late. This film is sup­posed to be a little bit shit so just relax and enjoy it.

source: Taika on MySpace

Slade in Full (2006)

“Action Slade – action speaks louder than words…”

48Hours Furious Film Making entry from 2006 by “Tyler Corgan” Team White Tiger Selected by Peter Jackson as a Wild-card entry.

Taika: Like Commando but awesomer, this effing sweet film from 2006 was single-handedly made in just under 7 hours by me.

What We Do In the Shadows: Interviews with some Vampires (2005)

Writer and Director: Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement
Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi and Jonathan Brugh


Vulvus, Viago and Deacon are all vampires who live here, among us. They are real vampires; undead, immortal creatures who stalk the night and hunt for the blood of humans, preferably virgins. But in night to night life we see that they are much the same as us, experiencing the same difficulties that life (or eternal life) throws at us, especially when it comes to living together in a flatting situation. While we are witness to many of the horrid and abominable aspects of Vampire life, such as hunting and feeding on humans, vampire rivalry and fighting werewolves, we are also invited for the first time ever, to view the way these immortal beings deal with keeping a clean house, rostering jobs week to week, shopping, going out to a bar, meeting people and trying to fit in. The only thing that separates these characters from the rest of us is that they have fangs, drink human blood and sleep in coffins.


> The NZFC And The Wicked Children

> What We Do in the Shadows mockumentary based on this short film

Falling Leaves (2005)

Director, Actor, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Music – Taika Waititi and Loren Horsley

A part of 48Hours competition: Best of the Rest.

…or watch it here.

Heinous Crime (2004)

Director, Actor, Producer, Writer – Taika Waititi and Loren Horsley

The winner of 48Hours competition: Controversy loomed in Wellywood, when Oscar Nominee & chess player Taika Waititi and his partner in crime, Loren Horsley took top honours with the brilliantly silly and subversive HEINOUS CRIME.

…or watch it here.

Tama Tu (2004)

Writer and Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Taungaroa Emile, Mark Ruka, Tammy Davis, Rob Makaraka, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Jarod Rawiri

Six Maori Battalion soldiers wait for night to fall in the ruins of a ruined Italian home. Forced into silence they keep themselves amused like any boys would, with jokes and laughter. As they try and ignore the reminders of war around them, a tohu (sign) brings them back to the world of thedying. They gather to say a karakia (prayer) to unite their spirits before they head back into the dark of war. Even at war… boys will be boys.

This is not a film about war, it is a film about the vitality of life.With “Tama Tu”, I wanted to capture the feeling that in the darkest of situations there are some events that stand out, brief moments that show how we humans seek out the light, the joy in life, regardless of our surroundings or situation.The story of the soldiers is simple. They are a bunch of young men, all Maori, from rural New Zealand (possibly some are related), who have a special bond, strengthened by their character, their culture and each other. They are a tight unit, they know each other and care for each other, they are brothers, but most of all, they are young boys.


  • 2nd Place Audience Award –- National Geographic All Roads Festival 2004
  • Honorable Mention in Short Filmmaking – Sundance Film Festival 2005
  • The Special Jury Prize – Berlin Film Festival 2005
  • The Special Jury Prize – Aspen Shortsfest 2005
  • 1st Prize, Short Film Competition – Stockholm International Film Festival 2005
  • 1st Place, Best Live Action – Palm Springs International Short Film Festival 2005
  • Linda Mabalot New Director’s/New Visions Award – VC LA Asian Pacific Film Festival 2005
  • Best Short Film – Grand Jury Prize – Indianapolis International Film Festival 2005
  • Best Fiction Short Film – Melbourne International Film Festival 2005
  • Honourable Jury Mention – St Tropez Film Festival 2005
  • Official Selection – Berlin Film Festival 2005
  • Official Selection – Sundance Film Festival 2005
  • Official Selection – Aspen Filmfest 2005
  • Coopers Award for Best Film – Flickerfest, Australia 2006


Tama Tu excerpt

…or watch a FULL FILM on


> Loop Select 009: Kono 2 – CD/DVD

> Blog updates about Tama Tu

Two Cars, One Night (2003)

Director and Writer: Taika Waititi
Starring: Rangi Ngamoki, Hutini Waikato and Te Ahiwaru Ngamoki-Richards


While waiting for their parents, two boys and a girl meet in the car park of a rural pub. At first they trade insults but soon they opt to wile away the hours together. Love, it seems, can be found in the most unlikely of places.


  • Best Performance/Best Technical Contribution/Best Script – NZ Film Awards 2003
  • Best Short Film – Panorama Section – Berlin Film Festival 2004
  • Best Drama – Aspen Film Festival 2004
  • Prize of the Cinema Jury – Oberhausen 2004
  • Best Editing – Drifting Clouds Film Festival 2004
  • Jury Prize – Newport Film Festival 2004
  • Best Short Film – Hamburg Short Film Festival 2004
  • Best Short Film – Seattle Film Festival 2004
  • Best Live Action Short Film – Melbourne International Film Festival 2004
  • Audience Award – National Geographic’s All Roads Festival 2004
  • Grand Jury Prize for best international short film – AFI Los Angeles Film Festival 2004
  • Nominated Best Live Action Short Films – 2005 Academy Awards

The Film


Interview with Ainsley Gardiner (the producer) and Taika

> Two Cars, One Night on NZ On Screen
> Two Cars, One Night on IMDb
> Taika Waititi (article/interview) – 2005

> Blog updates about Two Cars, One Night

John & Pogo (2002)

Writer and Director: Taika Waititi (as Taika Cohen)
Starring: Peter Daube and Jeremy Randerson

It’s a story about a policeman and his dog. It’s sort of one of those reality style documentaries.

> The Living Room, series 2 ep. 10 on NZ On Screen – Taika mentions this short film and you can see a short clip.