Production will commence this month on The Orator, a powerful tale of honour, courage, love and redemption by Samoan-born and raised debut feature filmmaker, Tauti Tusi Tamasese.
Written and directed by Tamasese, The Orator (O Le Tulafale) will be a first inasmuch as it will be entirely shot in Samoa, in the Samoan language, with a Samoan cast and story. The first day of principal photography will be 27 October.
Making the announcement, NZFC CEO Graeme Mason said, “The themes in The Orator are universal – love, courage, personal adversity and honour. New Zealand has an extremely strong connection with Samoa and we are excited to be involved in the production of this film and the discovery of Samoan tradition and values by the New Zealand theatrical audience.”
Produced by Catherine Fitzgerald (Rain of the Children, Event 16, Two Cars One Night) with Associate Producers Maiava Nathaniel Lees and Michael Eldred, The Orator is the story of Saili, a small man with a big heart, who must find the strength to speak up for those that he loves.
The film will star newcomers Fiaula Sanote as Saili, and Tausili Pushparaj as his wife Vaaiga. It will be shot by acclaimed NZ cinematographer Leon Narbey (No 2, Dean Spanley, Whale Rider).
Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Misa Tellefoni said today, “The film will bring the finest aspects of traditions of our Samoan culture into the international spotlight. It is a beautiful and poignant love story that will provide a moving tribute to the magnificent splendour of Samoa and our Samoan people.”
The Orator has been financed by the New Zealand Film Commission. It will be distributed in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific by Transmission Films, who most recently released BOY. NZ Film, the sales arm of the NZFC, is handling world sales of the film.