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”.
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
Romeo & Juliet on Majuro
A love story about a Marshallese boy and a Chinese girl is the first feature film from the Marshall Islands.
Morning Comes So Soon was made by a pair of American volunteer high school teachers at Majuro’s Catholic Assumption High School, working with a local peer education group, with a grant from UNESCO.
The directors, Aaron Condon and Mike Cruz, cast local people in the film about teens grappling with racism and suicide on the small central Pacific atoll. The film stars high school seniors Ting Yu Lin and James Bing III.
The movie has been a huge hit in Majuro where thousands of Marshallese packed the local cinema with multiple showings daily during May.
The film deals with social pressures resulting from Chinese immigration to Majuro in late 1990s.
Morning Comes So Soon has its international premier at the first Pacific Islands Film Festival at Honolulu’s Design Center on 12 July 08, and is available on DVD via mail order.
Buy the DVD at Bikini Atoll Online Store
Honolulu Advertiser says:
… “Morning Comes So Soon” looms as the fledgling festival’s most important selection, said the man who chose them, Vilsoni Hereniko. It offers a perspective of the Pacific that has never been explored before on the screen.
“This is the first feature film from the Marshall Islands that uses Marshallese in the lead roles … This allows people from within the culture and the society to tell their own stories and to kind of examine themselves in a way that is, I think, very delicate … There is no film that I know of that focuses on racial issues between Pacific Islanders and Asians,” said Hereniko, a filmmaker and professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies.”
FIFO wants films
Festival Internationale du Film Documentaire Oceanien
6th Pacific International Documentary Film Festival
27 Jan – 1 Feb 09
Deadline: 1 Oct 08
Documentaries about the Pacific region, made during the past three years, are eligible. Films compete for cash prizes, including Jury Grand Prize and Audience Prize.
2008 winners are: Horo’a, by Jacques Navarro-Novira (French Polynesia); Sacred Ground by Kim Mavromatis, documenting a fight to save Aboriginal burial grounds (Australia): Ben Lewis’s Blowing Up Paradise about French nuclear testing in the Pacific (Britain); My Brother Vinnie, Steven McGregor’s portrait of actor Aaron Pedersen’s bond with his intellectually disabled brother (Australia); The Latest Australian Trackers by Eric Ellena (France); and Peta Carey’s Lifting of the Makutu, about a family grappling with a rare genetic disorder (New Zealand).
Pierre Ollivier, FIFO Director
Tuis to Scribe & Te Vaka
Pan-Pacific musicians Te Vaka and Samoan-kiwi rapper Scribe dominate Aotearoa’s 2008 Pacific Music Awards.
Scribe takes the Tui for Best Song and Best Male Artist with Say it Again from his new album Rhymebook.
11-piece Te Vaka won Best Group and Best Album for Olatia.
“Pacific music has been a trailblazer for race relations, social responsibility and expressing human joy in Aotearoa and the Pacific region,” says Pacific Music Awards Chair Rev. Mua Strickson-Pua.
Scribe: Say it Again
Scribe’s Say it Again music video showcases his cousin, R&B diva Tyra Hammond, in a retro tribute to kiwi 60s pop. The open features New Zealand TV icon Peter Sinclair from the classic music show C’mon.
Say it Again is produced by Auckland’s Zoomslide and directed by prolific kiwi music video maker Adam Jones.