Commonwealth Shorts Filmmakers

Posted on 04/09/2014
By Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth Shorts Filmmakers

The Shorts team in Auckland, New Zealand: Lisa Harewood, Kareem Mortimer, Marc Boothe (B3 Media), Oscar Kightley, Wanjiru Kairu, Jules Koostachin and Lucy Hannah (Commonwealth Writers).

Writer/director Lisa Harewood

Lisa is a passionate film fan from the island of Barbados. After a working life spent mostly in the fields of advertising, marketing and development communication, she decided to pursue her long-held ambition of making a film, joining writer/director Russell Watson’s micro-budget feature project, A Hand Full of Dirt (2010), as Producer.
AUNTIE is Lisa’s debut as a writer and director and came about as a result of a last-minute decision to enter the Commonwealth Shorts. The film explores her interest in the effect of migration on those who leave their home countries and those who are left behind.

When a barrel arrives from London bearing an unwelcome parcel, a caregiver in Barbados makes a hasty decision that risks destroying her special bond with a beloved child.


Writer/director Wanjiru Kairu

Wanjiru KairuWanjiru Kairu is a Kenyan filmmaker interested in creating films that promote dialogue on social issues. An alumnus of the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2006 and the Maisha Film Lab 2007, Wanjiru’s short films have been official selections at festivals such as the Pan African Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival, ION Film Festival and the New York African Film Festival.
Wanjiru currently writes and directs for different TV drama series and is also adapting Martin Njaga’s short novel, The Brethren of Ng’ondu into a feature.


Living the life that many dream about, Baraza is an accomplished man and while his sons and dutiful wife adore him. But he can’t help but feel trapped. For years Baraza has struggled with a dark secret that he must reveal. New Years Eve is a story of truth, freedom and the ultimate price of both. 


Writer/director Oscar Kightley

Oscar Kightley photo #5Oscar is a Samoan born writer/actor and broadcaster who grew up in New Zealand and who has helped create critically acclaimed award-winning work for the stage, small and big screens.

In the 1990s he helped found Pacific Underground, a theatre company that was integral in developing Pasifika themed stories that raised the profile of that community and the issues affecting them for, New Zealand audiences.

Later that decade he and his friends formed the Naked Samoans theatre group who continued that work while adding comedy into the mix.

In 2009 Oscar was made a New Zealand Arts Foundation Arts Laureate and received a medal from the Queen in recognition of services to New Zealand theatre and television.



A day in the life of a Samoan boy growing up in West Auckland, New Zealand in 1981. A time of milk deliveries, corner shops, schoolboy crushes, the arrival of arcade games, antagonistic police and shame.


Writer/director Jules Koostachin

Jules KoostachinJules was raised by her Cree speaking grandparents in Moosonee, as well as her mother in Ottawa. She is known for her social activism work in indigenous rights and education, combining social issues with her artistic ventures.

Jules is from Attawapiskat First Nation, currently living in Toronto  While completing her Masters, she made her first feature documentary film, called Remembering Inninimowin (2010). Jules was one of six women selected for the Women in the Director’s Chair programme at the Banff Centre. Her film script Broken Angel (2009), won Best Fresh Voice at the Female Eye Film Festival.

Jules is the Aboriginal and Indigenous Programme Director for the Female Eye Film Festival in Canada, which showcases emerging and established Canadian and International Indigenous film makers.


PLACEnta is the sharing between a mother, her daughter and a midwife, of the re-discovery of First Nations traditional childbirth teachings.

Watch PLACEnta

Writer/director Kareem Mortimer

KAREEM_MORTIMERKareem is a Bahamian filmmaker from the island of Nassau in the Bahamas.

He made short music documentaries for the syndicated show Hip Hop Nation and wrote and directed the short film Float (2007) that won 5 festival awards and was distributed in North America, Germany and Austria. Moving Pictures Magazine crowned Float as one of five short films to look out for and Kareem as a writer/director to watch.

He also directed the documentary I Am Not A Dummy (2008) and a debut feature film Children Of God (2010) which won 18 awards.


A twenty-year-old Haitian woman, Sandrine and her thirteen year old brother Etienne are being transported from Haiti to the Bahamas in the hold of a dilapidated wooden vessel filled with several other immigrants in search of a better life. When her brother takes ill, she must use her smarts and strength to avoid him being thrown off the boat and save his life.