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”.
Athlete as Art
Number one at the PI box office this week: shot putter Valerie Vili winning Olympic gold in Beijing.
Vili becomes the first New Zealand-born Pacific Islander to win an Olympic gold medal with a throw of 20.56 meters in the women’s shot put.
The 23 year-old world champion is the daughter of a Tongan mother and a British father.
Sima Urale’s first feature premiers at NZ International Film Festival
Apron Strings is a parallel story of two families from two cultures, Pakeha (New Zealand/European) and East Indian, set in suburban New Zealand.
Urale is best known for her acclaimed short films O Tamaiti, Still Life and Coffee & Allah, which screened at film festivals around the world.
The film explores the relationships between mothers and their fatherless sons, through the metaphor of food.
“Apron Strings isn’t simply a story about women,” says Urale. “It’s about their sons and the next generation; the changing face of New Zealand … and the age-old conflict between traditional and modern… which also reminds us we have more in common with each other across cultures than we think.”
Apron Strings stars British-Indian actress Laila Rouass (Footballers Wives) with Scott Wills (Perfect Creature, Stickmen), Jennifer Ludlum and Nathan Whittaker.
The film is produced by Rachel Gardner of Maxim Films and was written by Dianne Taylor and Shuchi Kothari. The cinematographer is Rewa Harre.
Tuhoe Country Docu-drama
Kiwi director Vincent Ward (Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come) revisits his 1978 documentary, about a Maori kuia, in his latest feature.
In Spring One Plants Alone was Ward’s second film – a verite portrait of Te Puhi, an 80 year-old woman caring for her schizophrenic adult son in rural Urewera.
30 years later Ward returns to the scene to re-envision her story as a cursed Tuhoe princess.
The 2008 version is a personal docu-drama, narrated by Ward, melding dramatic re-enactments with original footage.
Rain of the Children trailer
A Tale of the Tuhoe
could give Maori on both sides of the Tasman a new insight in to their past
Vincent Ward unveils latest long-term labour of love
New Zealand Herald
Australian-based Maori performed a passionate powhiri on the red carpet
Vincent Ward’s ghost story
Sunday Star Times
epic act of “director’s cut” reworking
Check out the Brown Pages directory of indigenous media, arts and culture for actors, publishers, artists, filmmakers, TV producers and musicians.
The latest directory is out now, with contact info for Maori, Pacific and other indigenous talent in Aotearoa, the Pacific, Australia, Canada and America.
What began as a directory book in 1993 has become a regularly updated online database, accessible 24/7 and promoted worldwide.
Subscribers will have to pay from July 08 onwards, but listings are free. Web subscribers get a complimentary hard copy.
The Brown Pages is produced out of Aotearoa by Kara Paewai, Melissa Wikaire, Iulia Leilua and Sandra Kailahi.
Tatau spooks up the big screen in The Tattooist, a supernatural thriller with an evil Samoan spirit wreaking revenge over stolen tattoo tools. Jason Behr (Grudge) plays the white guy with hot brownies Robbie Magasiva (Sione’s Wedding), Mia Blake (No 2) and Dave Fane (Bro Town).
The film is a Singapore/New Zealand co-production produced by Robin Scholes (Once Were Warriors) with first feature director Peter Burger (Turangawaewae), shot by Leon Narbey (Whale Rider). It hit No 1. and $500K at the NZ box office in 2007.
Tattooist’s American release will be handled by Ghost House Pictures, horror genre label of Sam Raimi (Spiderman) and Rob Tapert (Xena), with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The distribution deal was done at AFM (American Film Market) with release slated for 2008.
Coming soon to a DVD near you.
The Tattoist trailer
competent horror movie hanging off the bones of what might have been a really extraordinary New Zealand film
I love this movie