Films & Schedules

  • Apron Strings

  • Sima Urale

New Zealand
English, Punjabi
90 minutes

Production Company:
Great Southern Film Ltd.
Executive Producer:
Trevor Haysom
Rachel Gardner
Shuchi Kothari, Dianne Taylor
Production Designer:
Johnny Hawkins
Rewa Harre
Eric De Beus
Chris Burt
Mark Petrie
Principal Cast: Laila Rouass, Scott Wills, Jennifer Ludlam, Nathan Whitaker, Leela Patel

International Sales Agent:
NZ Film

Friday September 0504:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Monday September 0803:00PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 2 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1203:45PM VARSITY 2 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

It is best not to see Apron Strings if you are hungry. The opening credits sequence alone will rev up every sensual engine you have, beginning with close-ups of colourful, practically fragrant Indian food and spices. The camera gently pulls back to reveal the cook, Anita, who is herself stunningly picturesque.

Anita has a popular cooking show in New Zealand, and though she does not yet know it, two women whose lives are also wrapped up in food and family are soon going to cross her path. One of them is her sister, Tara, to whom she has not spoken in twenty years. Tara owns a curry shop, and adheres more to traditional Indian culture than Anita. There is also Lorna, born and bred in New Zealand, who supports three generations of her family through her old-fashioned cake shop.

Anita's son, Michael, has been raised without access to his mother's extended family or Indian culture. Spying on his mother, he discovers that she has a sister in Auckland, so he tracks Tara down and, unbeknownst to Anita, applies for a job in the curry house. Badly in need of help, Tara hires him, and his gentle nature soon brings out her suppressed maternal instincts. Meanwhile, Lorna's son is not proving so helpful – he sponges off of her and lets her do all the housework. When he is not able to pay off a gambling debt to the Vietnamese café owner next to her shop, he begins to pressure her to sell the store. There are many connections between these individuals, but they will not be realized until all of their secrets are exposed.

Apron Strings shows both the pleasures and conflicts that arise when cultures rub shoulders. It is a beautifully photographed, well-written story of three women trying to juggle families, careers and the ever-changing world around them without losing their identities.

Jane Schoettle

Sima Urale was born in Savaii, Samoa, and is a graduate of the New Zealand Drama School and Victorian College of the Arts Film and Television School in Australia. She is an actor, writer and director. She has directed the short films O Tamaiti (96), Still Life (02) and Coffee and Allah (07). Apron Strings (08) is her feature-directing debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award