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First ever Samoan film wraps up

Published: 6:23PM Saturday January 22, 2011 Source: ONE News

There are high hopes a first ever feature length movie, filmed in Samoa and in the Samoan language, will boost tourism.

The Orator, funded by the New Zealand Film Commission and the Samoan government, has finished filming.

Writer director Tusi Tamasese has showcased his home country and language in the film.

"Being in Samoa you are surrounded by family and support - its good to showcase your home country," Tamasese said.

The story is about a simple villager who has to defend his land and family, which are threatened by powerful adversaries.

Executive producer Nataniel Lees said the power of the script has attracted attention to the film.

"Just one of those moments so far in my career that I knew was so important not just for me but an important story to tell," Lees said.

Cultural Advisor Manu Asafo said the film attempts to portray Samoan culture.

"There are some moments in the script I can relate to as a chief and looking at some of the cultural aspects it's good in a way that there is a film trying to portray our Samoan culture.

"Bringing that culture together with Fa'a Samoa (the Samoan way) was challenging but exciting...we all came together with the single purpose of making a film," Asafo said.

Deputy prime minister and Tourist Minister Misa Telefoni said the government hopes to recoup its investment in the film with visitors.

"The projection of Samoa as a destination wearing my Minister of Tourism hat is very very significant.

"The fact is all those people will be looking at this story in Samoa in the Samoan language and it will create a lot of interest," Telefoni said.

And so far the film has already provided employment for hundreds of locals.

"In Samoa you can never get these opportunities twice, like you get it once in a lifetime," actress Salamasina Mataia said.

The film will go to the big screen later this year.