Pasifika filmmakers Vea Mafile’o and Jeremiah Tauamiti direct this intimate, clear-eyed documentary centred on the faith, love and fatherhood of Saia Mafile’o, and his four children.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Aotearoa isn’t always the land of milk and honey it promises to be. Throughout the life of Saia Mafile’o – a dad, a grandfather, a husband and a son – Aotearoa has given many fortunes and taken them away. But nothing has changed Saia’s resounding faith in the church and his absolute love for his country – Tonga. Through creative ways to make money for the church, Saia is content knowing that what he gives reserves his place in heaven.
Having grown up straddling two worlds, Saia’s adult children struggle to understand their father’s unmovable Tongan ways of life – that is, until a trip to Tonga. A proud ex-head prefect of the prestigious Tupou College, Toloa, Saia takes them with him to a school reunion which sees tradition, faith and feasting come into full view.
A loving portrait of a father told from the perspective of his four kids, For My Father’s Kingdom, having premiered in Berlin earlier this year, now returns home to audiences who know this experience intimately. In trying to understand her father, director Vea Mafile’o and Jeremiah Tauamiti capture a moving story about generational difference, resilience and unconditional love. With this brief glimpse into Tongan life, we are reminded of the longing Pacific elders have for home, while the next generations build on their sacrifices. — Lana Lopesi
“The heart of this film has always been about a father and his goal of being there for his family… Vea’s father tried to do what we all try to do as parents; and what we all want as children – to love or be loved with no barriers.” — Vea Mafile’o & Jeremiah Tauamiti