Taika Waititi: A New Director on the Rise

Jacob Dominguez, Writer

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   A career of making indie movies for the past 13 years, has brought Taika Waititi to the American spotlight and into the position of directing “Thor Ragnarok”.

    Taika Waititi has directed many films in his native home, New Zealand, where he was responsible for hit films such as “What we do in the Shadows” and “Eagle vs Shark”, most of which have been received with universal acclaim. Because he has brought a unique style of filmmaking and comedy in his films, that has made him distinguished amongst other directors in comedy.

    His start began with the short film, “Two Cars, One Night”, which was about two boys and a girl meeting in the carpark of a rural pub in New Zealand. Which at first seems to be a relationship based on rivalry, soon develops into a potential friendship. This short film received numerous awards such as the 2004 Short Award from the AFI Film Festival, the 2004 Panorama Short Film Award from the Berlin International Film Festival, and a nomination for the 2005 Best Short Film Award at the Academy Awards.

     He then went on to direct “Eagle vs Shark” in 2007 and “Boy” in 2010, both of which he received acclaim from critics in one aspect or another. But after that, Taika went on to directing TV shows such as the “Flight of the Conchords” where he was also a writer, “Super City”, and 5 episodes of the British comedy,“The Inbetweeners”.

    Once those tv shows wrapped up, he jumped back into the film business and two years after, he created his first widely renowned hit, “What we do in the Shadows”. The film was a mockumentary/horror film, that was about a group of vampires that lived in a Wellington written, and was based on a short film he had done in 2006. It starred himself as Viago, the cranky vampire who ran the house, Jemaine Clement as Vladislav the powerful ex-tyrant, Jonathan Brugh as the young rebel in the household, and Rhys Darby, the leader of the local pack of werewolves. It earned $6.9 million on a $1.6 million budget and has already become a cult-classic, with a sequel “We’re Wolves” and tv series in the future. From then on Taika Waititi became a well-known indie-director that was now known outside of New Zealand and England. This caught the eye of many studios to want to distribute his films, and from then on his career boomed.

     Last year in 2016 he directed the film “Hunt for the Wilder people” which was about a man and a boy on the run and starred Sam Neill as “Uncle” Hec and Julian Dennison as aspiring rapper, Ricky Baker. The film went on to gross $23.2 Million on a $2.5 Million budget. This received universal acclaim, including 97% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. This wasn’t his only hit film that year as he also went to write a screenplay for the Disney Animated film “Moana”, which was released on November 23rd, 2016.

    Also in 2016, he was confirmed to direct the film, “Thor Ragnarok” which is set to come out November 2017. It will bring  Chris Hemsworth’s Thor teaming up with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Doctor Strange to save Asgard from the Norse apocalyptic event of Ragnarok.

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