The brand new feature film Red, White & Brass has released their teaser poster to celebrate Uike Kātoanga’i ‘o e Lea Faka-Tonga Tongan Language Week.
Shot in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, The film is inspired by a true story about a group of Tongans forming a brass band to get free tickets to the 2011 Rugby World Cup to see Tonga play France.
Produced by the production companies behind The Breaker Upperers, Cousins and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Piki Films and Miss Conception Films, the film stars a stellar ensemble of Tongan talent including John-Paul Foliaki (Popstars), Dimitrius Schuster-Koloamatangi (Panthers), Ilaisaane Green (Brutal Lives), Onetoto Ikavuka, Mikey Falesiu (Toke), Lupeti Finau, Lotima Pome’e (Under the Vines), and Haanz Fa’avae-Jackson (Savage).
Halaifonua (Nua) Finau who co-wrote and co-produced the film was in the original band that performed at the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
“It’s been straight māfana bringing this story to life, being surrounded by Tongan language, family and culture through the process. Koe taha ‘o e ngaahi taumu’a ‘o e faiva ko ‘eni kiate au, ko e fakamamafa’i ‘a e mahu’inga ‘o e tau lea moe ‘ulungāanga faka-Tonga, (My hope for the film is that it highlights the importance of our language and culture).
Tongans are renowned for the support of their teams with their Red and White flags covering cars, houses and faces throughout the World Cup. Against the odds in 2011, the Tongan team won against France at the game the band performed before.
Red, White and Brass is the debut feature film for co-writer and director Damon Fepulea’i.
“The Tongan energy is so infectious, you can’t help but be excited by this underdog story about what’s possible if you band together for a common goal.” said Fepulea’i.
The film has funding from the New Zealand Film Commission, the New Zealand Government’s Screen Production Grant and Screen Production Recovery Fund, NZ on Air, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ, Angel Investors Marlborough, Department of Post and Kiwibank.
The film will be released in the first half of 2023 in cinemas across the country.