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MARIA world premiere at HIFF


Mary Lauati as Little Maria in short film MARIA

Samoan/Maori short film Maria has its world premiere at Hawai’i International Film Festival this week, screening on Tues 8 and Fri 11 November in the Pacific Showcase Shorts program.

Maria stars two Samoan actresses aged 8 and 82 years old. Leiataua Afega “Ma” Si’ulepa makes her second big screen appearance as Nan Maria and introduces Mary Lauati as Little Maria. “Ma” also starred in the semi-biographical film MA, which screened at HIFF 2014.

Maria follows the story of Nan Maria, the matriarch of a large Polynesian family, who is bedridden after a long illness. When a family crisis strikes, Nan gets unexpected help as she struggles to reunite her fractured family. The film was shot on location at Mataatua marae in the town of Rotorua in New Zealand’s central North Island. Dialogue is in Samoan and English.

Two other HIFF Pacific Showcase short films from Aotearoa/New Zealand share cast and crew. Director Jeremiah Tauamiti also helmed ‘Aho’eitu  and appears in The Promise of Piha, which is written and co-directed by Maria writer Taofia Pelesasa. Maria was produced by Karin Williams of Multinesia Productions with funding from New Zealand Film Commission’s Fresh Shorts.


Mary Lauati as Little Maria with Leiataua Afega “Ma” Si’ulepa as Nan Maria

MARIA premieres at Pollywood Pasifika Film festival in Auckland in a programme of short films by Pacific Islander filmmakers. Now in its 14th year, Pollywood 2016 includes eight Pasifika films in an eclectic mix of multi-genre work with a family theme.

MARIA tells the story of an ailing Polynesian matriarch who must find the strength to unite her fractured family. The film stars Leiataua “Ma” Si’uelpa, 82, as Nan Maria and introduces 8 year-old Mary Lauati  in a compelling role as Little Maria.

MARIA is written by Taofia Pelesasa, directed by Jeremiah Tauamiti and produced by Karin Williams of Multinesia Productions, with funding from the New Zealand Film Commission’s Fresh Shorts fund.

MARIA at Pollywood:
Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery – Weds 2 Nov @ 6pm
Mangere Arts Centre – Sat Nov 5 @ 5pm
Auckland Art Gallery – Sat Nov 12 @ 2pm

Mou Piri at imagineNATIVE

Tara Kauvai sings Mou Piri by Jon Jonassen

Mou Piri: A Rarotongan Love Song screens at imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival 2015 in Toronto Oct 14-18.

Mou Piri explores the value of music and dance in Cook Islands culture, through the story of a romantic song that has become synonymous with Island weddings. The short documentary film was directed by Karin Williams for the Film Raro Challenge in 2013 and premiered at Hawaii International Film Festival. 

Mou Piri is one of twelve films – four of them by Pasifika directors – selected from Aoteroa New Zealand at imagineNATIVE 2015, the world’s premier global indigenous media arts festival.

Mou Piri: A Rarotongan Love Song screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Saturday 17 October at 12pm, opening for The Redfern Story.

Fasitua Amosa & Beulah Koale at Assembly Roxy

Fasitua Amosa & Beulah Koale at Assembly Roxy

“laugh-out-loud funny” ~ The Public Reviews

“wonderfully poignant, extremely brave and often confronting” ~ Broadway Baby

“sharp, witty and heart-warming” ~ Theatreview

“told with sincerity and passion” ~ British Theatre Guide

“when it screams, it screams truth” ~ A Younger Theatre

“cracking comic timing” ~ WOW 24/7

“stunningly entertaining” ~ Black Diamond 107.8 FM

“loud and proud” ~ ScotsGay

“subverts the language of oppression” ~ Fest


“funny and heartfelt … fast and furious” ~ The Guardian

“hits you with considerable force, with moments of heartrending pathos” ~ The List

 And the critics also said:

“explosively funny” ~ Joyce MacMillan – The Scotsman

“inventive … swaggeringly acted comedy” ~ Mark Lawson – The Guardian


Black Faggot at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, July 31-Aug 25 2014. Starring Beulah Koale and Fasitua Amosa. Written by Victor Rodger. Directed by Roy Ward. Produced by Karin Williams. Part of the New Zealand at Edinburgh season supported by Creative New Zealand


Gay Samoans are coming to Edinburgh!

Black Faggot, the runaway hit of Auckland and Melbourne Fringe Festivals, makes its UK debut at Edinburgh Fringe Festival after sold-out seasons and rave reviews in New Zealand and Australia.

Black Faggot is award-winning Kiwi/Samoan playwright Victor Rodger’s response to the debate around New Zealand’s same-sex marriage bill, which became law in 2013. Victor watched a Destiny Church rally against gay marriage and thought, “one of those kids will be gay and feeling quite wretched about himself.”

The result is a series of hilarious and poignant monologues grappling with challenges faced by young, gay men in New Zealand’s immigrant Pacific Islands communities. A parade of colourful characters collide in raw, emotional and outrageous situations: the “undercover brother” desperate to prove he’s straight, an island mama whose beloved son turns out to be queer, a teenager trying to “pray the gay away”, and a tough Samoan homo who’s out, proud and in your face.

Winner of five awards at Auckland Fringe and two at Melbourne Fringe, Black Faggot is featured in the New Zealand season at Edinburgh 2014. Black Faggot is directed by Roy Ward and produced by Karin Williams.


Assembly Roxy

July 31 – Aug 25

17:30 – 18:30

Tickets: £12.50 – £10.50

Black Faggot at Melbourne Fringe



BLACK FAGGOT makes its international debut at Melbourne Fringe as the inaugural Tiki Tour Ready Award winner. The play was the runaway hit of Auckland Fringe, winning audience acclaim, critical praise and five awards including Best Theatre Production.

A series of hilarious and poignant monologues by Samoan-kiwi playwright Victor Rodger, Black Faggot is directed by Roy Ward, produced by Karin Williams and stars Iaheto Ah Hi (Sione’s Wedding) and Taofia Pelesasa (The Factory).

Black Faggot runs at Melbourne Fringe Sep 28-29 and Oct 1-5 at The Fringe Hub at North Melbourne Town Hall Rehearsal Room.

Beulah Koale in Black Faggot

Beulah Koale in Black Faggot

“Please God, make me straight,” prays Christian, a Samoan teen from South Auckland, after marching in a church rally against New Zealand’s marriage equality bill. Playwright Victor Rodger watched the protest unfold and created Black Faggot in response.

The theatrical premier at the Basement Theater was a sold-out hit of the Auckland Fringe Festival in February, winning five awards including a coveted slot in the Melbourne Fringe Festival this September and the Development Award, which will remount the show in Auckland later this year. The production will also travel to Wellington and Sydney.

Multinesia Productions won the Auckland Fringe Award for Best Production: Theater, the Tiki Tour Ready Award supported by Melbourne Fringe Festival and Creative New Zealand, the Development Award, and the Auckland Arts Festival Award. Actors Iaheto Ah Hi (Sione’s Wedding) and Beulah Koale (Shortland Street) were runners up for Best Performance.

Black Faggot was directed by Roy Ward and produced by Karin Williams. The production was funded by Auckland Council’s Arts Alive program and Creative New Zealand with support from Auckland Pride Festival.

Irene Bedard in American Indian Actors. Photo: Anthony Thosh Collins.

American Indian Actors screens at the 36th American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. The film is a 2011 award nominee for “Best Industrial”.

The short film presents a spectrum of Native American performers including Irene Bedard, Atticus Todd, Kimberly Norris Guerrero and Zahn McClarnon, who share true stories from the front lines of the entertainment industry. Their experiences reveal American Indian actors to be vibrant, modern, complex, and funny.

American Indian Actors is an educational video commissioned by Screen Actors Guild President’s National Task Force for American Indians and funded by the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund. The film was directed by Sterlin Harjo and produced by Karin Williams.

American Indian Actors
Thurs 10 Nov 7pm
Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyons Street
San Francisco CA

Originally shown at the 2010 LA Skins Fest, this pairing of the the short film American Indian Actors and the Peabody award-winning feature documentary Reel Injun offers a fascinating look at the traditional and contemporary roles of Native Americans in Hollywood film and television from the perspective of native filmmakers and actors.

American Indian Actors was produced by Multinesia Productions Inc. for the Screen Actors Guild President’s National Task Force for American Indians . The film features a diverse group of native actors including Irene Bedard (Pocahontas), Zahn McClarnon (Into the West) and Kimberly Norris Guerrero (Hidalgo).

Producer: Karin Williams. Director: Sterlin Harjo. Stills: Thosh Collins.

June 23 7pm
Wells Fargo Theater
Autry National Center
Los Angeles

We Live by the River/Vivimos Junto al Rio screens at Cinema Planeta Festival Internationale de Cine y Medio Ambiente de Mexico in Cuernavaca, Mexico, March 11 – 19 2011.

The film is one of 15 selections from around the world in competition at the 3rd edition of the festival, including documentaries from Belgium, France, Canada, Italy and Brazil.

Director Karin Williams is honored to represent the We Live by the River in Cuernavaca.