Gems from Pacific film and filmmakers

Since the golden age of the silver screen, Pacific island film and filmmakers have held an important role to play in showcasing a deeper understanding of Pacific island history, culture, and day-to-day contemporary challenges.

Pacific film enlightens and inspires local and global audiences - so to kick off the beginning of the New Zealand International Film Festival, here are six films made by Pacific Islanders, and based in the Pacific Islands, to transport you to warmer climates during these cold winter months.

We showcase hidden gems from six of the seven countries The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ work in - Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu.

1. Leitis In Waiting, 2018 - Tonga

Leitis In Waiting is the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, an intrepid group of indigenous transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their South Pacific Kingdom

2. Tanna, 2017 - Vanuatu

Set on a remote Pacific island, covered in rainforest and dominated by an active volcano, this heartfelt story, enacted by the Yakel tribe, tells of a sister's loyalty, a forbidden love affair and the pact between the old ways and the new.

3. Mr. Pip, 2013 - Papua New Guinea

As a war rages on in the province of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, a young girl becomes transfixed by the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, which is being read at school by the only white man in the village.

4. The River of Eden, 2014 - Fiji

Filmmaker Pete McBride journeys into the Fijian Highlands to discover why the locals said “no” to easy money from resource extraction, and how they turned to tourism to fund a conservation area that protects one of the most beautiful rivers on Earth.

5. Wea Nao Mi? 2012 - Solomon Islands

A golden object mystifies a young man living in a traditional Solomon Islands village. He dreams of going to the city and wakes up in a nightmare that changes his life forever.

This film was produced through the Wantok Stori project - a collaboration and exchange project between Victoria and the Solomon Islands. It aims to explore and celebrate the diversity of Pacific culture and support emerging artists and young people.

6. The Orator, 2011 - Samoa

Written and directed by Samoan New Zealander film director Tusi Tamasese, The Orator follows the story of Saili, a simple villager who must find the strength to defend his land and family, which are threatened by powerful adversaries.

Hit enter to submit