Vai

No woman is an island. She is made up of a whole group of islands, its people, its environment, and their relationship to the land, the past and the present. For Vai, life on the South Pacific Islands is characterised by the constant tension between change and repetition and between moving to different places and returning to the traditions of her ancestors. Her world lies somewhere between Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Niue and Aotearoa, and it is shaped by environmental threats, isolation, scarcity of resources and a tense relationship to New Zealand. Everywhere she goes, Vai is someone else, and yet she carries within her the experiences of many women.
This delicate portrait of Vai’s life journey celebrates the strength of female kinship, of community, and a sense of responsibility for future generations. Interweaving the tender relationships that exist between women of all ages and their intimate ties to nature, the women’s collective behind this film describe a way forward that makes it possible to honour those who came before without becoming trapped in the past. Producer Kerry Warkia participated in the 2018 NATIVe Fellows Programme.
by Nicole Whippy, 'Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Miria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga
with Mereani Tuimatanisiga, 'Ar-Ramadi Longopoa, Betsy Luitolo, Agnes Pele, Evotia-Rose Araiti, Fiona Collins, Maliaga Erick, Hinetu Dell
New Zealand 2019 Fijian, Tongan, Roviana, Samoan, Cook Islands Māori, Niuean, English, Maori 90’ Colour

With

  • Mereani Tuimatanisiga (Vai - Fiji)
  • 'Ar-Ramadi Longopoa (Vai - Tonga)
  • Betsy Luitolo (Vai - Solomon Islands)
  • Agnes Pele (Vai - NZ Born Samoan)
  • Evotia-Rose Araiti (Vai - Kuki Airani)
  • Fiona Collins (Vai- Samoa)
  • Maliaga Erick (Vai - Niue)
  • Hinetu Dell (Vai - Aotearoa (NZ))

Crew

Directors Nicole Whippy, 'Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Miria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga
Screenplay Sharon Whippy, Nicole Whippy, 'Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Mīria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga
Cinematography Drew Sturge
Montage Dione Chard
Music Lauren King
Production Design Riria Lee
Costumes Lindah Lepou
Casting Christina Asher
Producers Kerry Warkia, Kiel McNaughton

World sales

MPI Media Group

Produced by

Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions

Nicole Whippy

Born in Suva, Fiji, she lived there for the first few years of her life before her family migrated to New Zealand. She has lived in Auckland for 38 years and is best known for her work as a television and theatre actor. Vai is her debut film as a director.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

'Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki

She studied film, television and media communications at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and holds a postgraduate diploma in international broadcast journalism from the Thomson Foundation in Cardiff, Wales. She also has a BA in law from the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Matasila Freshwater

A writer and director, she made the short animation film Shmeat which was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission. This film was selected to screen in the short film competition of the New Zealand International Film Festival and won Best Animation at A Night of Horror Film Festival in Sydney.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Amberley Jo Aumua

A writer and director from Manurewa in New Zealand, she is of Samoan and Maori descent and has a degree in performing and screen arts. She has made several short films including Kopurapura, Waiting and Moa Ma Le Pinko.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Mīria George

A poet, writer and director, she studied creative writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. She has written several theatre plays and published a collection of poetry. In 2017, she was awarded the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer’s Residency and also won the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Marina Alofagia McCartney

This filmmaker studied screen production and teaches Pacific studies at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Dianna Fuemana

A successful playwright and theatre director, she transitioned into filmmaking in 2012 when she was awarded a New Zealand Film Commission-funded internship to Killer Films in New York. Her first short film, Sunday Fun Day, won the Sun Jury Prize at the 2017 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019

Becs Arahanga

The writer and director made the short film Laundry in 2016. The film screened in the short film competition at the New Zealand International Film Festival and was nominated for four awards at Show Me Shorts.

Filmography

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2019