The award-winning documentary For My Father’s Kingdom, directed by Vea Mafile’o and Jerry Tauamiti, has hit the road and is showing in different parts of New Zealand as part of a nationwide community screenings tour.
The tour is supported by the Ministry of Pacific Peoples (MPP), Pasifika Futures, Rialto Distribution and the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), it began in Tauranga, then Gisborne, Napier, Wellington and this week it continues to Christchurch and Oamaru before ending in Dunedin on September 28.
For My Father’s Kingdom follows Tongan pensioner Saia Mafile’o and his family as they are stretched to breaking point by the commitment and passion to God that has driven Saia’s life.
This debut feature documentary offers a rich view of how contemporary secular families deal with the rigours of devout Christian tithing, as well as a unique insight into traditional Tongan culture.
Director Vea Mafile’o says while the documentary is still in some theatres around the country, the tour is a chance to take the film directly to communities.
“It’s an opportunity for those who might not otherwise have a chance to see it in theatres,” Vea says.
“We also have my father Saia with us and our brother Robert, so we can get to talanoa with our communities straight after each screening.”
The film which was recently voted number three in the Melbourne International Film Festival Documentary Audience Awards is the first Pacific documentary to be funded by NZFC.
The themes in the film also contributes to this year’s Tongan Language Week theme: Fakakoloa 'o Aotearoa 'aki 'a e Tauhi Fonua - A Tongan Perspective of Enriching Aotearoa, New Zealand.
But this is not just a film for Tongans, it is for all Pacific people and all New Zealanders.
“We’ve had some amazing feedback and coverage on the film,” Vea says.
“Well known film reviewer Kate Rodgers says this film opens the floor for many important conversations, which are already happening now,” she adds.