Moemoana's movie provides opportunities

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 19 April 2024, 1:00PM

The reigning Miss Samoa and Miss Pacific Islands, Moemoana Safa'ato'a Scwhenke has embarked on an exciting new project to create a movie exploring resilience, climate change, and cultural preservation in Samoa. 

Moemoana revealed that she was fortunate to receive a grant from the Australian High Commission when she won the Miss Samoa title in 2023. As part of the grant, Moemoana was to bring about a project which addresses the pressing issues. 

She has decided to use the grant to create a movie that follows the journey of a young Samoan girl.

"Her roots are in Sava'i, but she is based in Apia for educational opportunities. She has a lot of academic pressures and family expectations. She's taken on a journey that helps her reignite her passion and confidence in who she is," said Moemoana. 

The storyline which includes aspects of Moemoana's life was also inspired by the young people she has worked with.

"I teach a lot of kids through the Ta Fesilafai course. Sometimes, they tell me about their problems. It's been a nice relationship, where they see me as an older sister. I hear about their lives, and then some of that I put into the story," said Moemoana. 

Not only the lives of the youth but she has also incorporated the relationships of parents and grandparents.

Moemoana is no stranger to the creative arts, having co-written and co-directed a theatre production in the past called "Motu of Western Sydney".

The casting call has already received over 150 responses in just two days, and auditions will be held in both Upolu and Sava'i in the coming weeks with Upolu this Saturday. 

"I think it is kind of a new milestone for Samoa and the platforms of Miss Samoa and Miss Pacific Islands. Because it hasn't been done before," said Moemoana. 

"We want to allow locals to have something to bring their passion to life. Because I know acting and performing arts is a passion for a lot of people." 

She said people grow up dreaming of becoming actors or actresses after watching movies. However, the opportunities to pursue such a career are limited especially in Samoa.

"I think it's exciting for a lot of people because they might be able to be a part of something. Films you're able to watch now, and then for so many years into the future," said Moemoana.

Moemoana, who is directing and producing the film, said she has the help of talented professionals from Sleeping Giant Films, Onomea Productions, and local videographers as well as her parents.

She is also seeking additional funding from other organisations including the Australian High Commission to ensure that everyone involved in the project is compensated for their time, knowledge, and skills. 

"We want to ensure that it's a job for Samoan people. They will get paid for their time. And have all the other benefits that actors in the world get," said Moemoana.

The film is expected to be released before the end of her reign as Miss Samoa in September.

Moemoana hopes it will elevate the local talents of Samoan actors and change the perspective of creative and performing arts as a career for many. 

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 19 April 2024, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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