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New Samoan Film debuts Friday

Samoan filmmaker Tanupo Aukuso (top, center) and cast and crew members of the new film "Tauaso Le Alofa (Love Is Blind)" are seen here filming on location in American Samoa. The film will debut this Friday evening at 7 p.m. at Maliu Mai. [Courtesy Photo]

South Seas Pictures, Ltd. will present the debut of the latest work by Samoan filmmaker Tanupo Aukuso, “Tauaso Le Alofa (Love Is Blind)” this Friday, May 4, at 7 p.m. at the Maliu Mai Beach Resort in American Samoa.

The first feature-length movie filmed entirely in American Samoa, “Tauaso Le Alofa” examines the fragile nature of love and the damaging effects of secrecy in today’s world, with a cast consisting primarily of American Samoan actors.

“I did not bring anyone with me,” said filmmaker Aukuso, whose usual base of operations is in the Independent State of Samoa. “I came by myself with the intention to hire actors and the production crew locally.”

Unlike the typical celebration of a new film, the launch for “Tauaso Le Alofa” will include remarks by candidates vying for the positions of Governor and Lt. Governor during the Territory’s election this November.

“All candidates for the Governor and Lt Governor have been invited to attend, and most of them have confirmed their attendance,” said Aukuso. “The candidates will be given five minutes each to highlight the key issues of their platform for the upcoming election. I have also asked them to each share their vision of how they will assist in enhancing the local acting talents and the performing arts industry if they are elected to office.”

Lt. Governor Hon. Faoa Sunia, himself a candidate for Governor, will also be the keynote speaker of the evening on behalf of the Government of American Samoa.

“Tauaso Le Alofa” continues Aukuso’s tradition of examining the complexities of life in modern day Samoa. The story centers on a beautiful young woman named Olive (Christina Sosaia), who comes from Samoa to American Samoa looking for a better future. She first stays with her mother’s friend Su'eifo (Tauese Vine) and Su’eifo’s husband Sepu (Ioane Lotu), but eventually has to flee their household because of Sepu’s inappropriate attentions.

After running away, Olive meets Lemi (Tumua Falefata), a simple but kind hearted older man who takes Olive into his own household, after which they develop feelings for each other and become husband and wife. Lemi, a hard working man, goes to the plantation during the day and fishes at night, while Olive spends time with friends.

Olive’s mother Losei (Toreka Lemoe) learns of her daughter’s marriage and expresses a wish to travel to American Samoa to visit, which leads Olive to search for a job to pay her mother's fare.  An interview with businessman Uilisone (Fred Ah Kuoi) does not result in employment for Olive, but he does loan her money, a gesture which sets the stage for an affair between the two and arouses the suspicions Uilisone’s wife Lucia (Salamasina Figiel). When Olive falls pregnant by Uilisone, both must face the far-ranging consequences of their illicit actions.

The new film is 2 hours and 15 minutes in length, with English subtitles. Its theme song was written by Aukuso and sung by Anasetasia Momoe, a 19 year old female vocalist from Nuuuli, and recorded by Pati Talia and M&M Productions of Fogagogo.

For anyone needing transportation to Maliu Mai for the screening, free buses will depart from Amanave and Fagatogo at 6 p.m., and will return to the pickup points afterwards. General admission for the screening is $5.00, and free for children under five.

Aukuso said that the DVD version of “Tauaso Le Alofa” will be released on Wednesday of next week in American Samoa, and will be available in Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA by the end of May. South Seas Pictures, Ltd. sets up a stall at Marketplace in Fagatogo every day except Sunday, with DVD copies of Aukuso’s films available for purchase. Trailers for several of Aukuso’s films can also be viewed online at YouTube.

(Source: South Seas Pictures)



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