Inspired by Witi Ihimaera’s Bulibasha, Mahana sees director Lee Tamahori making his first film on local soil since 1994’s Once Were Warriors.
A young man reconciles ancient tradition with the modern, urban world in this debut feature from Stephen Page, artistic director of Australia’s renowned Bangarra Dance Theatre.
When a teenaged girl commits suicide in a remote Northern Ontario Aboriginal community, it’s up to her brother Shane to take care of their family.
Dmitryi Davidov’s remarkable debut feature film about a father’s love and hard-working widower who keeps to himself and tries to do the right thing set in the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia.
Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption.
Adam is your typical 22-year-old city guy with a killer crush on Mary (who barely knows he exists). When he overhears Mary say that she only dates “real” island guys, Adam makes it his mission to deliver.
MELE MURALS | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE | United States
Mele Murals is about the transformative power, the melding of modern graffiti art with ancient Hawaiian culture and storytelling for a new generation of Hawaiians.
+ Short film: DIG IT IF YOU CAN | United States
This feature length doco follows the Truth and Reconciliation Commission who held seven national events across the country in 2014 to gather testimonies from former students of residential schools.
Sparrooabbán (Me and My Little Sister) is an intimate and moving glimpse into sisterhood, homosexuality and the search for acceptance, directed by Suvi West and her youngest sister, Kaisa.
Servant or Slave follows the lives of five Aboriginal women who were stolen from their families and trained to be domestic servants.
SHORT FILM SESSIONS
+ GODS ACRE, SNIP, SMOKE THAT TRAVELS, SUSTO
+ DIRECTOR MAX, ON COUNTRY, THE IS OUR COUNTRY, LUCKY BILLY, MARUMPU WANGKAL KUKATJA ‘HAND TALK’, PULLIJA
+ RA’SATSTE, ARA, SKOHA,TAWHAOWHAO, SECH’EL
+ NAN AND A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE, BLUEY, SHADOWS OF DISPLACEMENTS, MIN MIN LIGHTS, BLACK CHOOK
FULL FILM SCHEDULE
Date: THURSDAY 10 NOVEMBER
Opening Night Film | 7.00pm | Dendy Opera Quays | $35 | Aotearoa, New Zealand | 2016 | 103 min | English/Maori | Classified M
Director: Lee Tamahori [Ngāti Porou] | Producers: Robin Scholes & Janine Dickins
Synopsis: A tale of family rivalry and reconciliation, set against the stunning backdrop of rural Aotearoa (New Zealand) in the 1960’s. Inspired by Witi Ihimaera’s Bulibasha, Mahana sees director Lee Tamahori making his first film on local soil since 1994’s Once Were Warriors. Temuera Morrison stars as a 60’s era farming patriarch who makes it clear his family should have absolutely nothing to do with rival family the Poatas. Then romance enters the picture, and son Simeon sets out to find out how the feud first started.
Guests: Maori actress and New Zealand household name Nancy Brunning.
Date: FRIDAY 11 NOVEMBER
MELE MURALS | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
12.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
United States | 2016 | 66 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Tadashi Nakamura | Producer: Keoni Lee (Hawaiian)
Synopsis: Mele Murals is a feature length documentary on the transformative power of the melding of modern graffiti art with ancient Hawaiian culture and storytelling for a new generation of Hawaiians. At the center of this story are two graffiti-kings-turned-community-leaders Estria & Prime; a group of Native Hawaiian charter-school youth, and the rural community of Waimea.
Guests: Hawaiian urban art living legend Estria Miyashiro and the film’s Executive Producer Keoni Lee, co-founder of the first Native Hawaiian television station, will attend the Festival and present the Australian Premiere of their film.
+ Short film: DIG IT IF YOU CAN
United States | 2016 | 18 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco/Creek) | Producer: Steven Paul Judd (Choctaw)
Synopsis: We get up close and personal with Steven Paul Judd, the dynamic and bold 21st century renaissance man. One of the art world’s most energetic, accessible and celebrated figures, this self-taught artist’s love for pop culture and Native American art has given him a massive following. This insightful portrait shows how Judd indigenizes the popular everyday to allow our young to see themselves in all aspects of life, while at the same time making his own dreams a reality through his passion and zest for life.
JOURNEY TOWARDS RECONCILIATION | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
2.30pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Canada | 2016 | 55 min | English | Unclassified G
Directors: Paige L’Hirondelle and Sharon Somer (East Prairie Metis Settlement and Long Plains First Nation, Cree) | Producers: Aretha Greatrix, Jodi Stone, and Tracie Louttit (Cree and Ojibwe, Albany Band, Michel First Nation).
Synopsis: In 2014, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held seven national events across the country to gather testimony from former students of residential schools. This process was a watershed moment in Canadian history and one that paved the way for the current push towards “reconciliation”. But what does this mean?
About the film: A group of Indigenous youth accompanied the Commission on this journey and created this documentary in response. Through the lens of a camera they hold, these young people learned about the history of the residential schools and their personal connection to its legacy. With the creation of a mural in an Edmonton LRT station serving as an act of reclamation, they explore intergenerational trauma and Indigenous resistance and resilience. This deeply moving, honest documentary gives an intimate look into the hearts and minds of Indigenous youth as they prepare for a future they will lead.
4.30pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Australia | 2015 | 84 min | English | Classified M
Director: Stephen Page (Nunukul and Munaldjali) | Producer: John Harvey (Saibai)
Synopsis: A young man reconciles ancient tradition with the modern, urban world in this debut feature from Stephen Page, artistic director of Australia’s renowned Bangarra Dance Theatre. Primarily utilizing gesture and dance, with minimal dialogue, Spear follows a young man named Djali (Hunter Page-Lochard) from the Australian outback to the streets of Sydney on his quest to understand what it means to be a man with ancient traditions in a modern world. Despite the fragmentation of Indigenous cultures, it is in the complex interconnection between places that Djali will ultimately discover his own power — a power linking past, present, and future.
About the filmmaker: Born in Brisbane, Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland. In 1991 Stephen was appointed Artistic Director of the Sydney based, internationally acclaimed Bangarra Dance Theatre and has developed a signature body of works that have become milestones in Australian performing arts. Stephen made his directorial debut in 2012, directing the chapter Sand in the feature film The Turning. He also choreographed the feature films Bran Nue Dae (2009) and The Sapphires (2011).
7.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $15
Canada | 2016 | 96 min | English | Unclassified 15+
Director: Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Métis) | Producer: Laura J. Milliken (Ojibway)
Synopsis: When a teenage girl commits suicide in a remote Northern Ontario Aboriginal community, it’s up to her brother Shane to take care of their family. Shane was supposed to move to the city for University in the fall, and he has been trying to convince his secret boyfriend to come with him, but now everything is uncertain.Shane is torn between his responsibilities at home and the promise of freedom calling to him from the city. He pushes through barrier after barrier, determined to take care of his mom and earn money for school. But when circumstances take a turn for the worse and Shane has to choose between his family or his future, what will he do?
About the filmmaker: Since his 2006 film, Cloudbreaker, premiered at TIFF, Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Metis) has been regarded as a filmmaker to watch. In the years that followed, Adam wrote and directed a collection of award-winning shorts (A Small Thing, Wave A Red Flag, LIAR) that found audiences from SXSW in Austin to TIFF, VIFF, and even Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in LA. Adam has also distinguished himself as a television writer by working on comedic series like Cashing In and Mohawk Girls.
Guests: Andrew Martin, actor
Date: SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER
SHORTS FROM TURTLE ISLAND| AUSTRALIAN PREMIERES
12.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
GODS ACRE | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Canada | 2016 | 15 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Kelton Stepanowich (Metis) | Producer: Eric Janvier (Canadian Aboriginal)
Synopsis: Lorne Cardinal stars in this unsettling, powerful short of a man determined to protect his land at all cost. As the water slowly rises in a frighteningly familiar future, the man must choose to abandon all that he knows or give in to the rising tide.
SNIP | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
Canada | 2016 | 15 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Terril Calder (Metis) | Producer: Jason Ryle (Anishinaabe)
Synopsis: SNIP cuts up colonial Canadian histories by telling a story of survival amidst the country’s genocide of Indigenous children. Annie and Gordon travel back in time to save Charlie and Niska, trapped in a nightmare reality designed to eradicate their culture.
Guests: Jason Ryle, Producer.
SMOKE THAT TRAVELS | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
United States | 2016 | 13 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Kayla Briët
Synopsis: An insightful autobiographical documentary from self- taught filmmaker Kayla Briët, as she weaves the story of her father’s teachings as a cultural leader and the legacy she’s been holding onto since a young child. Through language, dance, music and the history of the Prairie Band Potawatomi, she claims her family’s story and expresses her and her father’s beliefs as a smoke signal to the world.
SUSTO | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
United States | 2016 | 8 min | English | Unclassified PG
Director: Pearl Salas (Xicana, Yaqui, Navajo)
Synopsis: A haunting story of a young girl who recounts the “Coco Man” a ghostly and monstrous entity that is used to scare and haunt misbehaving children. When fear grabs the young girl, her grandmother suggests she visits a medicine woman. When the medicine woman tells her she has “Susto” or fear in her life and that she has to face her fear, you soon realize that the fear of “Coco Man” is actually fear of a male aggressor who has assault her as a child and manifested into a real life “Coco Man”. Grippingly real, this film makes you shudder when you realize her truth is much more terrifying than the fear of an imaginary scaryman.
SHORTS FROM THE BUSH | presented by ICTV | Australia
2.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Australia | 2015 | 2 min | English | Unclassified G
Director: Claire Leach | Producer: Laura Harris
Synopsis: The absurd reality of a young director who sets out into the streets of Roebourne with huge ambition and not a lot to work with.
Australia | 2015 | 2 min | Arrente/English subtitles | Unclassified G
Director: Students at Ntaria School, mentored by Leonardo Ortego | Producer: Periphery Media
Synopsis: This animation was created by students at Ntaria School, mentored by Leonardo Ortega and Periphery Media. It has grown from a workshop process facilitated by Big hART’s Namatjira Project, with senior Hermannsburg school watercolour artists teaching promising young artists their iconic tradition. These young artists are now taking that tradition into the digital age.
THE IS OUR COUNTRY
Australia | 2015 | 4:24 min | English/Yolngu Matha | Unclassified G
Producer: Indigenous Hip Hop Projects
Synopsis: This video was made as a collaboration between IHHP, LHAC and the people of Dhalinybuy (a homeland roughly 80km’s out of Yirrkala, NT). The desired message was one of being healthy, with the people of Dhalinybuy deciding on “What being healthy is to them”.
Australia | 2015 | 5.49 min | Arrente/English | Unclassified G
Directors: Thomas Saylor | Producers: Anna Cadden & Rita Catoni
Synopsis: Keep it in the community! Everyone loves Lucky Billy and wants him to achieve his football dreams. With an AFL selector in town, he’s keen to make a good impression. His grandfather gives him money for new boots, but it’s not quite enough. Will Billy take what he has or will he risk everything for his dream boots?
MARUMPU WANGKAL KUKATJA ‘HAND TALK’
Australia | 2015 | 8:10min | Kukatja/English subtitles | Unclassified G
Directors: D Willi Lempert and Zohl De Ishtar | Producer: PAKAM
Synopsis: Marumpu Wangka (hand signs) are shown by Kukatja speaking women elders in Balgo. Many of these signs are used throughout the desert to communicate over long distances.
Australia | 2015 | 20:39 min | Kukatja/English subtitles | Unclassified G
Director: Curtis Taylor (Martu) | Producer: Dave Wells
Synopsis: Pulija (hill kangaroo) are an important game species to Martu. This film provides you with an insight into Martu traditional knowledge about this species.
NATIVE SLAM | presented by Māoriland Film Festival | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERES
3.30pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
About: An international collaboration of filmmakers who were brought together to make films in 72 hours. Māoriland Film Festival, EP Libby Hakaraia and Producer Pauline Clague conceived a new way of working across the international regions with a strong sense of creating stories with heart and that could heal.
2016 | 10 min
Director: Jeremiah Tauamiti (Falelatai, Samoa) | Producers: Mike Jonathan (Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa), Sonia Boileau (Québécois, Mohawk)
Synopsis: Awatea, a Māori woman is readying herself for a homebirth accompanied by her loving Samoan husband Fala, her daughter Aroha and her annoying brother Te Hau. Ra’satste (which means “all of his being is strong” in Kanien’keha) is a film about the power that resides in three Indigenous cultures, coming together to bring new life to the world.
Guests: Mike Jonathan, Producer
2016 | 7:43 min
Directors: Echo Killsnight (Northern Cheyenne, Cherokee Keetowah), Kath Akuhata Brown (Ngāti Porou), Sara Margrethe Oskal (Sápmi)
Synopsis: Māori artist Tracey Tawhiao digs beneath the daily news to find a vision for a new nation.
Guests: Kath Akuhata-Brown, Producer
2016 | 9 min
Directors: Tainui Stephens (Te Rarawa), Zoe Hopkins (Mohawk), Rima Tamou (Bulgunwarra,Ngā Ruahine)
Synopsis: Anzac is a Māori guy living by himself in a small town, when he gets a phone call from his “unwell” son, the conversation soon turns as the son accuses Anzac of not loving him as much as his new family. Martha is a Mohawk woman living in the same town. When a friend goes missing in Canada. Martha is fearful that she may fall victim to being one of the many missing and murdered Indigenous women. The story of Skoha is about the gift of active love and a cry for the ones we miss.
Guests: Tainui Stephens, Director
2016 | 6 min
Directors: Blackhorse Lowe (Navajo), Himiona Grace (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Porou), Sunna Nousuniemi (Sápmi)
Synopsis: A man must face a harsh reality in his attempt to fix an estranged relationship between him and his 16 year old daughter.
2016 | 10 min
Directors: Chelsea Winstanley (Ngāti Ranging), Cornel Ozies (Yawuru, Goonyland), Trevor Mack (Tsilhqot’in)
Synopsis: “Sometimes loneliness makes the loudest noise.” A friendship is altered forever when the courage of one is not reciprocated by the other.
Guests: Chelsea Winstanley, Producer (What We Do In The Shadows).
SPARROOABBÁN | Finland/ Norway
5.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Finland/Norway | 2016 | 66 min | Sámi/Finnish with subtitles | Unclassified 15+
Director: Suvi West (Sami) | Producer: Janne Niskala
Synopsis: Sparrooabbán (Me and My Little Sister) is an intimate and moving glimpse into sisterhood, homosexuality and the search for acceptance. Director Suvi West and her youngest sister, Kaisa, are Sámis from northern Finland whose home village, Utsjoki, suffers from religious-based prejudices and conservative values that haunt gay people’s lives on a daily basis. Suvi feels powerless to help her lesbian sister in the face of her community’s persistent colonial taboo about homosexuality, especially as Kaisa chooses to have a baby. What begins as a journey of self- discovery becomes a tender, loving and powerful portrait of two sisters whose bond becomes unbreakable.
About the filmmaker: Suvi West has directed four documentaries that travelled to many international festivals and were broadcast around Scandinavia. Well-known in Finland, she is a producer, director, writer and actor who co-created the hit Sámi comedy TV series Njuoska bittut.
BONFIRE | AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE
7.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $15
Russia | 2016 | 85 min | Russian with English subtitles | Unclassified 15+
Director: Dmitryi Davidov | Production: Sardana Savvina
Synopsis: Dmitryi Davidov brings us a remarkable debut feature film about a father’s love. Deep in the Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia, Ignat is a hard-working widower who keeps to himself and tries to do the right thing. When his son accidently kills his own cousin, Ignat’s brother Mikhail blames him for raising a killer, causing a deep rift between siblings. When his son is taken away, Ignat is left in a world of grief as he tries to make amends for his son’s accidental crime. But when Chipmunk – a young boy who is neglected by his parents – enters Ignat’s world, he finds solace in his presence and tries to teach him the things he could not give his son. As an unlikely friendship blossoms and Ignat finds a new love, it seems as if everything is changing for the better, but unbeknownst to them Mikhail’s anger over his son’s death is brewing, and his vengeance threatens to turn a happy ending into tragedy.
About the filmmaker: Dmitryi Davidov was born in Amga, a village in Yakutia (in Russia). He’s always been socially active and has acted in amateur performances. He graduated from the Pedagogical Institute and worked previously as a psychologist before his current day-job as a school director. Dmitryi created a youth club where students are given the means to make their first music videos and short films. Bonfire, is his debut feature film, which he wrote, directed and shot. It recently had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in Korea.
Date: SUNDAY 13 NOVEMBER
SHORTS FROM THE MILKY WAY | Australia
12.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
NAN AND A WHOLE LOT OF TROUBLE
Australia | 2015 | 11 min | English | Unclassified 15+
Director: Dena Curtis (Warumungu/Warlpiri/Arrernte) | Producer: Lois Randall
Synopsis: Nan and Min are sisters and they don’t always see eye to eye, particularly over Nan’s treasured photo album with images of their dead relatives. Believing that her older sister’s album is just a culturally inappropriate morbid European tradition, Min tries every trick in the book to outsmart her equally tricky sister.
Australia | 2016 | 14 min | English | Classified M
Director: Darlene Johnson (Dunghutti) | Producer: Heather Oxenham
Synopsis: Bluey is an intense portrayal of an angry young girl who is trapped in a violent world of inner and outer turmoil. She desperately wants to break out of this cycle but doesn’t know how. It’s a story about courage and survival. One day she meets a mystery mentor, and for the first time, Bluey plunges into the depths of her own being.
SHADOWS OF DISPLACEMENTS
Australia | 2016 | 5:13 min | English | Classified G
Director: Perun Bonser (Bunuba-Ngarlama) | Producer: Renee Kennedy
Synopsis: The world of shadow puppets is monochromatic, a stark environment contained within a light box. Government policies and political discourse are laid bare in this blackand-white world, revealing a brief history of displacement and marginalization of the Aboriginal people in the northwest of Australia.
Australia | 2015 | 5:11 min | English | Classified G
Director: Jub Clerc (Nyul Nyul/ Yawuru) | Producer: Renee Kennedy
Synopsis: Mahlena-Mae is at the same age as her family members when they experienced the Min Min Light, so she journeys out onto country to finally learn about these phenomena.
Australia | 2015 | 11 min | English | Unclassified 15+
Director: Dylan River | Writer: Bruce Pascoe (Kulin) | Producer: Belinda Mravicic
Synopsis: They were Australia’s bad days. Men killed other men and laughed. All that was left for the children of the dead was to remember – if they had the strength.
NGAPA JUKURRPA – WATER SONGLINE | WORLD PREMIERE
2.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Australia | 2016 | 34 min | English/Walpiri | Unclassified G | English Subtitles
Co-Directors: Wanta Jampijimpa Patrick (Walpiri) and Jeff Bruer | Producer: Jeff Bruer PAW MEDIA
Synopsis: Warlpiri people have unlocked the secrets of using fire to induce large quantities of rainfall, something which Western science says can’t be done. Co- Director and Presenter Wanta Jampijinpa Patrick reveals the traditional knowledge behind this amazing skill.
About the filmmaker: Wanta Jampijinpa is a Warlpiri man from the remote NT community of Lajamanu. His first language is Warlpiri and he is also fluent in English. As a co-director of video documentaries, Jampijinpa worked with Victorian filmmaker Stewart Carter on a number of PAW Media projects, and since 2012 he has collaborated closely with PAW Media Producer Jeff Bruer, who co-directed and co-wrote Ngapa Jukurrpa – Water Songline. Jampijinpa has dedicated much of his adult life to reinvigorating Warlpiri culture by finding traditional principles that are relevant to living in the contemporary world, and to making aspects of Warlpiri culture comprehensible to non-Warlpiri people. He sees collaboration with non-indigenous film-makers as a crucial part of this engagement. Jampijinpa is also co-founder and Cultural Director of the biennial Milpirri Festival in Lajamanu, a cross-cultural event with Tracks Dance from Darwin, which is now in its twelfth year.
COLONIAL IMPACT | presented by NITV | Australia
3.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
SERVANT OR SLAVE
Australia | 2016 | 57 min | English | Unclassified 15+
Director: Steven McGregor (Noonkanbah) | Producer: Mitchell Stanley (Wiradjuri)
Synopsis: Servant or Slave follows the lives of five Aboriginal women who were stolen from their families and trained to be domestic servants. With the government exercising complete control over their wages, many thousands of Aboriginal girls and boys were effectively condemned to a treadmill of abuse, from which there was little hope of escape.
About the filmmaker: Steven McGregor is a writer/director from the Northern Territory. He worked for Imparja and CAAMA before branching off on his own. He’s made some extraordinary documentaries and films, including My Brother Vinnie, Croker Island Exodus, 5 Seasons, Cold Turkey and Big Name, No Blanket.
+ Short film: BLACKBIRD
Australia | 2015 | 13 min | Solomon Islands Pijin/ English | Unclassified G
Director: Amie Batalibasi (Solomon Islands)
Synopsis: Solomon Islanders Kiko and Rosa are part of the untold story of Australia’s Sugar Slaves in the late 1800s. Both kidnapped from their Pacific island home and forced to work on a sugar cane plantation, Kiko finds that he is faced with unimaginable loss and grief for his homeland and his need to be free.
GOLDSTONE | Australia
5.30pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $10
Australia | 2016 | 110 min | English | Classified M
Director: Ivan Sen | Producer: David Jowsey
Synopsis: Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry. What seems like a simple light duties investigation opens a web of crime and corruption. Jay must pull his life together and bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.
About the filmmaker: Throughout the late 1990s Ivan worked on numerous short films and documentaries, before making his feature film debut with Beneath Clouds in 2002. He has subsequently written and directed a number of award winning documentaries. In 2009 Ivan completed his experimental second feature Dreamland, shot on location in Nevada, USA. In 2011 he completed his third feature Toomelah, set in the regional community of Toomelah, where his Aboriginal roots and family come from. In 2013 Sen completed his third feature Mystery Road that premiered with a special presentation at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival. Mystery Road starred Aaron Pedersen, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Kwanten, Jack Thompson and Tasma Walton. It opened the Sydney Film Festival that year and went on to win a number of awards including Best Actor, Best Director and Best Film at the 2014 Australian Film Critics Awards.
THREE WISE COUSINS | CLOSING NIGHT FILM
8.00pm | Cinema 15, EQ Hoyts | $15
New Zealand/Western Samoa | 2015 | 89 min | English/Samoan | Classified PG
Director: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa (Samoan) | Producer: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa & Wilhelm Voigt (Samoan)
Synopsis: Born and raised in Aotearoa New Zealand, Adam is your typical 22-year-old city guy with a killer crush on Mary (who barely knows he exists). When he overhears Mary say that she only dates “real” island guys, Adam makes it his mission to deliver. He packs his bags and flies to Samoa to engage the services of his two cousins – both island boys to the core – to teach him the island ways. From climbing for coconut to learning how to dance, Adam’s journey to win Mary’s heart will win yours. Made on a shoestring budget of $80,000, the funny and charming Three Wise Cousins surprised the industry by taking over $2 million at the box office to become a true success story of independent, grassroots feature filmmaking.
About the filmmaker: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa wrote, directed and co- produced 3 Wise Cousins, which was funded entirely from his own pocket. Everything about it – from production to funding to marketing was done at grassroots level. The main cast members were not professional actors, the small crew worked largely unpaid, and a six-person team – including Vaiaoga-Ioasa’s mother and stepfather – acted as both the catering unit and art department.