Pasifika film about grief wins international award

A short feature Pacific film, Maria, has won the Peoples Choice award at the recent international Public Broadcasting Service Online Film Festival.

The festival featured 25 short films from a variety of genres and garnered 1 million views during the two-week period following its July 14 launch.

Maria was judged the Most Popular Film, determined by votes cast by viewers.

It centres around the loss and strain faced by a family after the passing of a young child.

The script was written by Taofia Pelesasais.  Karin Williams produced the film which was was directed by Jeremiah Tauamiti.

The title role is played by Leiataua Si’ulepa who at 80 years-old is fast making a name for herself acting in New Zealand.

Maria is the matriarch of a large Polynesian family who lies bedridden and silent, unable or unwilling to speak after a long illness.

When a family crisis strikes, she gets some unexpected help as she struggles to reunite her fractured family.

Williams says the film is based on a true story from Pelesasais’ own family and the passing of his niece.

He wrote the script as a tribute to the women of his ‘aiga – extended family – and their resilience.

He wanted to show the quiet strength of mothers who shoulder the burden of responsibility for elderly parents and young children, often in silence.

The film was shot in Pelesasais’ home community of Rotorua, in New Zealand’s North Island.

Watch the movie


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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