22 November 2019
Brisbane, AUSTRALIA: “For My Father’s Kingdom,” the first Tongan film to be screened in a Brisbane cinema was premiered in Brisbane to a sold out crowd on Friday night.
The Brisbane Tongan Community along with some non-Tongans converged on the Event Cinemas Loganholme to witness this real life documentary of Saia Mafile‘o and his family as told through the lived experience of each family member.
When asked what she wanted the audience to take away from the documentary the film director, Vea Mafile‘o, told Sulieni Layt,
“that people could interpret this film for their own lives, such as parents also listening to their children’s voices and that some families are giving and sometimes giving too much can be damaging to families.”
The film was preceded by an opening prayer by Brisbane Tongan Community President and Tupou College Old Boy, Rev Sione Maile Molitika, followed by performances by Brisbane’s Mamana Tongan Academy of Performing Arts.
Vea Mafile'o meeting local Brisbane Tongan Community movie goers.
Movie goers, including BTC treasurer, Mele Ngauamo, said the film touched on cross-cultural aspects of Tongan society in an overseas context.
“For My Father’s Kingdom resonates with all Tongans, because it’s who we are and it’s important we teach our children the Tongan way of doing things in order to bring better understanding,” Mele said.
Tears and laughter throughout the film culminated with a sense of cultural pride and joy that the Tongan narrative was being told on the big screen.
During a Q and A session at the conclusion of the film, Vea Mafile‘o explained that the film had cost NZD$460,000.00 to create and so far they had received $100,000.00.
When asked what being a Tongan woman meant to her, Vea responded, as she pointed to the screen with tears rolling down her cheeks, and said: “I don’t know how to weave...and I don’t know how to make a ngatu...but this film is my koloa for each and everyone of you.”
Initially the Brisbane Tongan Community and other stakeholders participated in online
surveys to see whether there was a market interest in the film, which quickly surged to see
the film now screening in two Brisbane cinemas – Loganholme on Friday 22 November, which completely sold out due to high demand, and a special screening at Event Cinemas
Chermside on Monday, 25 November.
Media Contact: Sulieni Layt via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile on +61(0) 420 639 764.