In what may be the first television sitcom about a fictional Pacific Island nation, the series Diplomatic Immunity launched in Aotearoa to mixed reviews. The “bold, quirky and politically incorrect comedy” from South Pacific Pictures (Sione’s Wedding, Whale Rider) follows the misadventures at the consulate of The Most Royal Kingdom of Feausi.
The indefatigable David Fane (Brotown, Siones Wedding) stars as Jonah Fa’auigaese, a self-styled Polynesian potentate with penchant for colonial-style sartorial splendor, who is out to bamboozle kiwi diplomat Leighton Mills, played by Craig Parker (Lord of the Rings), a Foreign Affairs fallen high-flier who’s been sent in to deal with corruption at the consulate.
Spasifik Magazine says the casting of Lesley-Ann Brandt as Jonah’s daughter, the beautiful Leilani Fa’auigaese, has raised eyebrows: “While she has the look of a Polynesian beauty, she is in fact South African.”
Dominion Post reviewer Jane Clifton says the premise may be funnier than the dialogue.
“So is it any good? Yes, in a curious way. So far, there are not many laugh-out-loud moments … the laughs it generates are more for its subtleties – the ironies in the plot, the quite believable farce of the diplomacy involved.”
Audience comments ranged from
“a total and delightful crackup” to “like watching the worst seventies comedy you remember on Valium”.
Veteran New Zealand filmmaker Annie Goldson’s documentary about a fatal hate crime in Fiji won the Grand Prix at the 6th Pacific Documentary Film Festival (FIFO, Festival International du Film Océanien) in Tahiti.
An Island Calling (Murder in the Pacific) is a “post-colonial” story about the brutal double murder of a gay male couple, one of who was a human rights worker, in Fiji in mid-2001. The film explores the social, historical and political currents underlying the killing in post-coup Fiji.
Buy the DVD at Occasional Productions.
An Island Calling gets top award
Set in a rural Maori community in the Hokianga region of Northland in Aotearoa (New Zealand), The Strength of Water is the story of Maori twins Kimi and Melody, who are forced apart when a mysterious stranger arrives in their small town.
The film features Nancy Brunning (Crooked Earth, When Loves Comes) and a cast of locals. The project was developed at the Sundance and Binger workshops.
Directors James Sereno and Alex Munoz work with incarcerated youth at Hawai’i Youth Correctional Facility to create original films (faces are blurred to protect the kids’ indentities).
Photo: Liza Simon for Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Chamorro filmmaker Alex Munoz brings his pioneering program, Films by Youth Inside (FYI), to Hawai’i. Twelve teens made two movies in two weeks. The films will screen in Honolulu in early March.
Incarcerated youth get new focus on life through ﬁlm
Ka Wai Ola, Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Troubled teens make movies
Guam’s first indigenous feature film is billed as a fully independent, do-it-yourself movie that stretches the limits of no-budget production.
Chamorro brothers Don and Kel Muña wrote, shot, chopped and acted in Shiro’s Head: The Legend, based on their original short story.
Director Don Muña plays Vince Flores, an outcast with a dark past attempting to reconcile his father’s death and a history of family secrets.
Made on a “no strings” budget with volunteer cast and crew, the production relied almost entirely on donations and goodwill during the three-month shoot.
The soundtrack features Guam artists Rebel Lion, D.U.B, Brandi Jae, Island Trybe, Virtuoso and Matala and others.
The film premiered on Guam and is currently on the festival circuit with screenings at Hawai’i International and Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.
Indie is remarkable feat filmed on Guam
Honolulu Star Bulletin
In a world where hundreds of indigenous languages are dead or facing extinction there is a bright, shining hope: Kohanga Reo, Maori “language nests”.
Veteran filmmaker Tainui Stephens documents the ground-breaking indigenous educational movement, and the woman behind it, in a feature documentary screening at ImageNative, the Toronto native arts festival.
Kohanga Reo is based on the simple but powerful principle of totally immersing pre-school children in native language and values. After 25 years, the program is recognized worldwide as a turning point for revival of Maori language and culture and an inspiration for language survival programs worldwide.
The model has been replicated successfully in other native communities, including Hawaiian Punana Leo.
Let My Whakapapa Speak
16 Oct 08, 1:00PM
Al Green Theatre
They are the two magic words in the story of how a struggling Maori language was pulled back from the brink of extinction: ‘kohanga reo’.
Mink was the first woman of color to serve in the US House of Representatives and co-authored Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to American women.
Dubbed “Patsy Pink” for her unabashed liberal democratic views during the Vietnam War, she served in Congress for 24 years championing the rights of women, workers, immigrants and the poor.
Ahead of the Majority: The Life and Times of Patsy Mink traces the little-known story of the trailblazing dynamo who changed American politics forever.
World Premiere – Sun 12 Oct 7:00pm
Encore Screening – Sat 18 Oct 3:00pm
Regal Theatres Dole Cannery 18
Other Pacific films at HIFF:
Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children
Marshall Islands’ first feature Morning Comes So Soon
Anne Keala Kelly’s Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i
Sima Urale’s short Coffee and Allah
Rick Bacigalupi’s doc on Jason Scott Lee’s sustainable Big Island farm Living Pono
Samoan/Kiwi rapper Savage goes gold in America and takes honors in Aotearoa.
Savage’s hit single Swing passed the half-million mark in digital/mobile sales in the US this week, landing at #40 on the Billboard 100 and #7 on the iTunes hip hop chart, with more than 3 million views on his MySpace site.
Savage, aka Demetrius Savelio, shared the Tui award for International Achievement at the New Zealand Music Awards with another kiwi top-selling act, folk-jokesters Flight of the Conchords.
Swing topped the NZ charts in 2005 and went global last year after being featured in the blockbuster comedy Knocked Up, leading to a deal with Universal Republic records. Savage is repped by Dawn Raid Entertainment, the South Auckland hip hop powerhouse.
Swing is the first single from his new album Savage Island, due out in December, featuring guest artists and producers Akon, Soulja Boy, Rock City, Sean Paul and Boo Yaa Tribe.
The video is directed by Flyy Kai Crawford, who also directed Savage’s first hit Moonshine.
Kiwi star export drops in and wins
Savage hits gold in US with “Swing” remix
Samoan-Japanese multimedia performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara brings her ground-breaking, gender-bending work to New York in the first solo exhibit by a Pacific artist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kihara’s striking multidisciplinary work draws on diverse sources such as 18th Century ethnographic photographs, Samoan legends and pop culture images to riff on themes of gender, identity, indigenous Pacific spirituality, consumerism and cross-cultural encounters.
The exhibit includes work from her photographic series Black Sunday, Fa’a Fafine: In a Manner of a Woman, Fale Aitu: House of Spirits and Vavau: Tales from Ancient Samoa, in which Kihara investigates notions of representation by interpreting her own image in a variety of guises.
Kihara will perform her solo performance Taualuga: The Last Dance and speak about her work during October.
Shigeyuki Kihara: Living Photographs
October 7, 2008–February 1, 2009
Lila Acheson Wallace Wing, 1st floor
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Artist bio at Pasifika Styles
Five Pacific films are featured in National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival screening in Los Angeles and Washington DC during September and October 08:
Hawaikii – first dramatic short from Tainui/Te Arawa filmmaker Mike Jonathan about a young Maori girl’s first day at school
Guarding the Family Silver – Aotearoa’s Moana Maniapoto and Toby Mills (Moana & the Tribe) grapple with intellectual property issues in the global marketplace
Keao –short film about a young hula dancer’s struggle with commercialization of the dance, from first-time Hawaiian filmmaker Kaliko Spenser
Young, Gifted and Samoan – short doc featuring three Samoan youth creating music in San Francisco by Dionne Fonoti
Na ‘Ono o ka ‘Aina: Delicacies of the Land – in the lo’i (taro patch) with Hawaiian production team Joan & Puhipau of Na Maka o ka ‘Aina