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.
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 - Co-Director, Co-Producer
Vea Mafile’o (Tongan/Maori/Scottish/English) is a freelance television and film director who has filmed extensively throughout the Pacific. For My Father’s Kingdom is her debut feature, which will have its World Premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival 2019. It is the first Tongan feature documentary for cinema, directed by a Tongan female in the World. Her short film ‘Toaipuapuaga - Strength in Suffering A Samoan Stigmata’, was also accepted into Berlin and again will have its World Premiere in the NATIVe section.
She has directed television productions, such as TVNZ’s Fresh, Tagata Pasifika and for the web portal The Coconet.tv. She co-founded production company Malosi pictures and she produced and co-directed Digital Fananga filmed in Tonga and produced the award winning Aho`eitu which won the Breakthrough Award at the Sydney Pasifika Film Festival in 2015.
Vea has been a Set Designer and Art Director for numerous features and award-winning short films. She is a co- founder of The Nuku`alofa film festival in Tonga and founder of the Okalani film festival, the first Tongan film festival in Aotearoa. Vea was nominated in 2011 for the prestigious International Signature Art Prize (SAPB).
Four years later, Vea fulfilled a major personal milestone, when her video work Monomono 2.0 was selected for Imaginary Date Line which exhibited at the Venice Biennale that year. She had her first solo exhibition in 2018, Digital Launima a t St Paul’s Gallery, Auckland.
This year she was selected for the Script to Screen Film Up programme and awarded the mentorship of Pietra BrettKelly. She has an Arts Degree, a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts and is the mother of three beautiful boys. She is currently in development for her next feature documentary Toa The Stigmata of Samoa.
Sandra Kailahi - Producer
Sandra (Tongan/New Zealand) is passionate about telling Pacific stories. She produced her first short film, The Messiah with new director, Vela Manusaute in 2018 through her company, Kingston Productions. The New Zealand Film Commission Fresh Short was selected for the 2018 ImagineNATIVE film festival in Toronto. She is now co-writing and producing a new web series, Brutal Lives. Sandra has over 27 years' experience as a journalist in mainstream and Pacific media and has directed several half hour documentaries on Pasifika related issues for Tagata Pasifika. She also wrote Pasifika Women: Our Stories in New Zealand which was published in 2007 and wrote and produced her debut play, On a Different Shelf which played at the Herald Theatre in Auckland in 2008. In 2018, she graduated with a Master’s in International Communication (First Class Hons). Sandra is the proud mother of Kingston. For My Father’s Kingdom is her first feature documentary.
Brian Holland - Executive Producer
Brian Holland has worked in the film and television industry for over three decades; first in cinema management, followed by theatrical distribution, television programming and for the past thirteen years, developing and producing film and television factual content. He has produced multiple hours of programming for New Zealand broadcasters as well as 18 one hours for Animal Planet Europe. His first feature credit, the documentary Loving in Limbo which Brian executive produced, won Best New Zealand Documentary at the Doc Edge Film Festival in 2017. For My Father’s Kingdom is his second feature.
Margot Francis - Editor
Margot Francis has extensive experience in film and television, both in New Zealand and the United States. TV highlights include Outrageous Fortune and Saturday Night Live. She also worked on Bette Midler's TV movie The Mondo Beyondo Show and Billy T: Te Movie. She won an Emmy Award for a documentary on Broadway musical Sarafina: Words of Freedom! In 2012 she was nominated twice in the same category of the NZ Television Awards; nominated for Siege, she won for Katherine Mansfield’s biopic, Bliss.
David Long - Composer
David Long composes and performs music. He won the 2018 APRA Film Scoring Award for Roger Donaldson’s feature documentary, McLaren. He is currently composing the score for Leanne Pooley’s We Need To Talk About AI. In 2019, he is scoring the BBC adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. He has worked on all of Peter Jackson’s films since the Lord of The Rings trilogy. He has also composed for contemporary dance including many pieces for Douglas Wright and was a founding member of The Mutton Birds.
Jerry Tauamiti - Co-Director, Cinematographer
Jeremiah Tauamiti is a writer/director, with a passion for Pacific stories. After directing television for 10 years, he directed his first NZFC Short Maria (Written by Taofia Pelesasa), in 2015, which was accepted into many festivals, including ImagineNative, Skábmagovat Film Festival (Finland), Hawaiian Film Festival. Maria won the inaugural PBS online Film Festival with over one million viewers and the Best Pasifika Short Award at Maoriland Film Festival.
In 2016, Jeremiah received NZFC funding to travel to Toronto’s ImagineNative Film Festival, for a short film Ra’stat’ste, which he co-wrote/directed /cinematographer/acted. In 2017, he debuted as writer/director with his short film, Liliu, a post WWI courtroom drama set and shot in Sāmoa, now about to enter its festival run, having its World Premiere at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival 2019, in the NATIVe section. He is also a co-writer for the short film team ‘Goodfellas’, which won Sir Peter Jackson Awards, a record 6 times in the NZ national HP48hour film festival, with Jeremiah also winning Best Actor twice from 4 nominations. Jeremiah holds the High-Chief titles Fa’alava’au and Nanai, bestowed from his father’s family in the district of Falelātai, in Sāmoa. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Sociology and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Broadcast Communications (Digital Film & Television Production).
This year he was a recipient of a Writing Seed Grant, from the New Zealand Writers Guild, for his next feature film drama, Garden City Nights. He is currently writing a third feature drama based in Samoa. He is the proud father of boys Malosi, Talavou, and Manako with his partner Vea Mafile’o. For My Father’s Kingdom is Jeremiah’s first feature documentary recently accepted into the Berlin Film Festival 2019.
Vincent Burke - Executive Producer
Top Shelf Productions’ founder Vincent Burke has a forty-year track record of television and film production in New Zealand. Vincent’s expertise is in factual programming and he has produced multiple long running series and countless documentaries for New Zealand broadcasters. Vincent’s scripted films include Flight of the Albatross and Predicament. He was also the Producer of the New Zealand Film Commission funded LGBTQ documentary, 100 Men which can now be seen on Netflix in English speaking territories. Vincent is actively developing a slate of feature dramas and documentaries.
Emma Conroy - Production Manager
Having transitioned from running live events, Emma Conroy has now worked in the film and television industry for over a decade. She has managed numerous factual documentaries and reality series, including productions spanning multiple countries and locations and is a past recipient of a BBC Young Producers' Grant. She is currently Head of Production at Top Shelf Productions. This is her second feature documentary.
Dick Reade - Sound
Sound recordist Dick Reade's list of awards includes gongs for his work on The Navigator, Mt Zion, After the Waterfall and When Love Comes — and an Emmy nomination for TV’s Buggin’ with Ruud. He’s worked on many of the biggest films to come out of New Zealand in the last five years including Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Stray and the documentaries, Yellow is Forbidden, Tickled, and Poi E. In 2007, he was named SPADA/Onfilm industry champion. In 2017's Moa Film Awards, three of the five nominations for Best Sound involved him.
Briar Prastiti - Composer
Briar Prastiti is a freelance composer and vocalist of New Zealand and Greek decent, currently based in Thessaloniki, Greece. She studied Composition at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington and she specializes in film music, contemporary popular music, and song-writing, as well as being an active vocalist of many styles. Briar composes music for films, television, documentaries, and VR gaming, alongside her own music as a solo artist.