Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Film set against Tonga’s historic Rugby World Cup win over France opens next week

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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Hanalei Foliaki | Reporter/Director

Highly anticipated Tongan feature film Red, White and Brass hits theatres next week. 

It features a cast of young up and coming Tongan actors in a story that should resonate with rugby and music fans around the world.

After all, the premise of the film occurs against the backdrop of a historic ‘Ikale Tahi win against France in Wellington at the rugby World Cup in 2011. 

In this film, a Tongan youth group forms a brass band to get free tickets to that match. While it’s based on a real brass band and a real event, the producer’s have taken some liberties for dramatic effect.

In the film Maka (John-Paul Foliaki) is a Tongan superfan who leads the pack. Much like his character, Foliaki was stoked to be a part of a project of this magnitude. 

“It was cool to get the role for obvious reasons. It’s my first proper role as an actor (and) I love the character that I got to play and everything that the movies about. It’s real special,” he says.

Another of the young stars in the film is Dimitrius Schuster-Koloamatangi, better known for playing the lead in the 2021 television drama The Panthers.

The cast of Red White and Brass

He takes on the role of Veni, Maka’s cousin. 

“I guess you could call him the ‘plastic’ one out of the group,” he says.

“And yeah, throughout the film he’s just kind of finding himself and diving into his cultural identity a bit more.”

Playing one of the female roles in the film is experienced actor Ilaisaane Green who says she wasn’t daunted being part of a band of mostly males. 

“What can I say? So I come from a big family myself, I have six brothers,” she says. 

“So coming into this seeing that I was the only girl, a part of this bunch, I wasn’t hesitant or anything. I was just like, ‘oh here we go’, I’m gonna be their older sister, their older girl cousin that’s gonna be telling them to be quiet, shush the take is still going. But it was all fun and games… yeah we had such a beautiful chemistry.”

The film is directed by Damon Fepulea’i who also co-wrote the script with Halaifonua Finau.

It opens in select theatres around the country on Thursday March 23.

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