Taika Waititi is a director, writer, actor and comedian from the Raukokore region of the east coast of New Zealand, and is of Te- Whānau -a-Apanui and Jewish descent. Gravitating toward comedy early on, Waititi helped form the comedy troupes So You’re a Man and The Humourbeasts with fellow New Zealander and frequent collaborator, Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords).
“Shooting a movie should be fun! It’s not a real job. It can be hard, but at the end of the day, we’re dressing up and playing pretend.” – Taika Waititi
Waititi’s work as a filmmaker first entered the spotlight with his 2004 Oscar-nominated short film, Two Cars, One Night, which displayed many of the traits now associated with his feature film career: an affinity for directing young actors (as in Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople and the upcoming WWII drama, Jojo Rabbit); an idiosyncratic sense of humor (on display in Eagle vs. Shark, What We Do in the Shadows, and in his subversive take on the Marvel superhero blockbuster, Thor: Ragnarok); and a perceptive and empathetic approach to often marginalized characters, as well as a commitment to celebrating his Indigenous culture.
Waititi’s compassionate tendencies also extend beyond his filmmaking. He has been an outspoken commentator on the environmental, economic and social issues facing his native New Zealand; he has fronted a Human Rights Commission anti-racism campaign; and, while directing Thor: Ragnarok in Australia, he prioritized the hiring of Indigenous Australian and Maori cast and crew members. In 2017, Waititi was named New Zealander of the Year, with Chief Judge Cameron Bennett stating that Waititi’s films “represent the importance of Whānau, of belonging, and the challenges facing youth at the margins of society.” This April, The Loft Cinema brings the Wild World of Waititi to the big screen with screenings of four of the director’s quirkiest, most heartwarming, most action-packed classics!