And the nominees are…

A cocktail organised by France Télévisions was held on Saturday 9th February at the Museum of Tahiti and the islands for invited festival goers, partners and organisers of the 10th FIFO. The key figures were able to visit the ‘cook 1.2.3’ exhibition and then attend a defining moment to the start of this year: on this occasion Manouche Lehartel awarded the insignia of Officer of the National Order of Merit to Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, director of the Maison de la Culture; Flora Devatine had the privilege of pinning this small blue ribbon on Michèle De Chazeaux, producer, presenter and a member of the AFIFO. Speeches recalled the career and commitment in the service of culture of these key figures, well-known in Tahiti. Emotion and pride were evident, as much for those concerned as for the controlled but attentive public!

Following this is a different note, the screening of the film ‘The Orator’ (O Le Tulafale), awarded at the Venice Film Festival 2011, the first film to be entirely spoken in Samoan and above all the first feature film by the director of Samoan origin Tusi Tamasese. A very poetic, intimate drama which is full of melancholy and finesse, exploring the weight of tradition in a small Samoan village. Léon Narbey, a well-known director of photography from New Zealand (‘The Price of Milk,’ ‘Whale Rider’) worked on this film. He is present for this 10th FIFO as a member of the jury. What was his role in the achievement of ‘The Orator’? ‘To allow the director’s dream to become reality’ he asserts.

This great character from New Zealand cinema, who attended art school, ‘draws’ films with particular artistic sensitivity, his style is delicate and susceptible like brushwork. He very subtly captures the most complex emotions through light, shots, décor and movement. This film has minimal speech but a true ‘visual music,’ as Léon Narbey rightly pointed out. His standards and great experience of the audiovisual world will greatly serve the jury of this 10th FIFO.

‘The Orator’ (O Le Tulafale)

This film is a contemporary fable about exclusion, courage, forgiveness and love. Accompanied by his wife Vaaiga and his daughter Litia, the humble Saili leads a modest life in a traditional village in the Samoan archipelago. Forced to protect her land and family – Vaaiga has been banished from her village – Saili must confront the contempt of others (he is a dwarf), his fears and impose his voice to defend those he loves.

Tusi Tamasese

Born in Samoa, he comes to New Zealand at the age of 18 with the intention of going to university but begins by working as a potato picker. He then succeeds in integrating the New Zealand Film School, the Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato. He wrote and produced his first short film ‘Va Tapuia’ (Sacred Spaces) in 2009. ‘The Orator’ is his first feature film.