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Rena Owen: Being Beth Heke...

Rena Owen: Being Beth Heke...

Interviews - 2008

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Actress Rena Owen came to fame through her role as matriarch Beth Heke in the hard-hitting feature film Once Were Warriors. She now works internationally, but has returned to New Zealand for Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children and Fiona Samuel's Piece of My Heart.

In this ScreenTalk, Owen talks about:

  • Her beginnings in theatre as an actor and playwright
  • Getting her television break on the landmark Māori drama series E Tipu E Rea
  • Her first feature film role in Rapa Nui
  • Her career-defining role as Beth Heke in Once Were Warriors
  • How she had actually met Warriors author Alan Duff two years earlier and he had said she would make a great Beth
  • Not coping very well with the public attention the film's success brought
  • Enjoying working on Vincent Ward's Rain of the Children
  • The heart-breaking subject matter of Fiona Samuel's Piece of My Heart
  • Developing a feature film based on the book 'Behind the Tattooed Face'

This interview is available to download and distribute in two parts (Part One and Part Two) on YouTube. 

Direction and Interview - Clare O'Leary, Camera and Editing - Leo Guerchmann