Mika X invites you to watch GURL, part of the Ngā Whanaunga Māori Pasifika Shorts selection at Whanau Marama New Zealand International Film Festival 2020.

A musical fantasy with a surprisingly tender love story at its heart, GURL takes place one frantic night as a beautiful young sex worker waits for her salesman lover to whisk her away from her last night on the strip to live happily ever after. But it’s 1975 and she’s a Māori drag queen. And he’s not the ‘white knight’ he said he was.

Written and directed by Māori entertainer/cultural activist Mika X, GURL is deliciously immersed in the Māori Trans underworld of 1970’s New Zealand, creating not only a gritty authenticity, but also a warm tribute to friend, Carmen Rupe, NZ’s infamous Māori drag queen, pioneering brothel owner and gay rights activist.

Mika “absolutely” wanted to share Carmen’s spirit with younger generations through the short, aiming to make it “entertaining and educational” about the LGBT sub-culture of the 1970s – and planned to adapt her story into a feature film, similar to Taika Waititi’s Two Cars, One Night and Boy.

Read more: Stuff: Short film on Kiwi transgender woman Carmen Rupe to premiere