Taika’s career began with a bang when his short film, Two Cars, One Night, was nominated for an Academy Award. He followed that up with his first feature film, Eagle vs Shark, starring his longtime friend and comedic cohort, Jemaine Clement. That same year Taika also did some writing and directing work for Jemaine’s HBO series Flight of the Conchords.
His second feature film, Boy, premiered at Sundance 2010, going on to win the Generation Grand Prix at the 2010 Berlinale, and awards at the Maui, Sydney, Melbourne and AFI Film Festivals. Oh, and it also became the highest grossing local film in New Zealand’s history.
Taika got back to Sundance in 2014 with his vampire mocumentary What We Do In The Shadows, co-written and co-directed with Jemaine Clement and again in 2016 for his latest feature Hunt for the Wilderpeople. On its opening weekend Wilderpeople took in 1.3 million dollars in New Zealand, more than half of which was taken in on that Saturday thus making Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Saturday the highest grossing single day for a New Zealand film EVER.
Clearly somebody over at Disney was paying attention because it was around this time that Taika was tapped to direct Thor: Ragnarok, the third film in the Thor movie saga (not to mention the film that’s set to tie the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe plots together for the next Avengers movie). Production on Ragnarok has since wrapped (leaving Taika’s availability wide open) but before they left Australia, Taika and Chris Hemsworth took some time off to shoot a short film explaining to fans what Thor was busy doing during Captain America: Civil War.
It’s not just award-winning, record-breaking, franchise-carrying feature films that make Taika stand out. He also shoots commercials like his award winning PSA Blazed, for the New Zealand Transport Agency which was named “one of the best anti-drug spots… ever” by AgencySpy. In 2015 he won a Wooden Pencil at the D&AD awards for his Air New Zealand spot The Most Epic Safety Video Ever under the category of Tactical Branded Film Content & Entertainment. Oh yeah, and he directed a spot for NBC that kicked off the Super Bowl called Brotherhood featuring every major NBC actor/character around.
And just to make sure he has absolutely zero free time, Taika also paints and does illustrations for music albums… you know… for funzies.