Tusi Tamasese (Scriptwriting, 2007)
It was a great experience, to hone the craft in an environment with generous, creative, supportive people.
Tusi writes: 'I hadn’t known what to expect with the MA course - university, academia and I hadn't ever exactly been best friends. I had heard great things of the course (and now know firsthand why) and thought I’d see if I could get in. I did. It was a great experience, to try to hone the craft in an environment with generous, creative, supportive people who know what it's like to dream, write, dream, doubt, start over, write, doubt, start over, write, etc etc...
'Ken and classmates of 2007 – thanks, it was a privilege.'
Bio: Tusi was born and raised in Vaimoso, Samoa with 4 brothers, 2 sisters and a very large extended family.
Tusi’s 2007 MA feature film script won the Embassy Trust Award and Dominion Post Award. In 2009 Tusi wrote and directed the short filmVa Tapuia/Sacred Spaces. The short film screened at a number of international film festivals including the NZ Film Festival, Hawaiian Film Festival, ImagiNative Film Festival (Toronto), Oberhausen (Germany) and Clermont Ferrand (France). The crew for the short film later forged the backbone of the crew for Tusi’s next project.
In 2011, Tusi’s 2007 MA script became his feature film directorial debut O le Tulafale/The Orator. The Orator was shot in Samoa, and is entirely in the Samoan language. The film premiered in competition in the 2011 Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti (New Horizons) section - it won two awards and a special mention from the jury. It was New Zealand's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film to the 84th Academy Awards.
Tusi lives with his wife and kids in Wellington, where he is currently (late 2015) shooting his second feature film. His filmmaking was recognised with a prestigious Arts Foundation New Generation Award in 2015.