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Sione's Wedding




Sione is getting married. But there's a problem, well actually there are four problems - Sione's brother Michael and his three best mates Albert, Stanley and Sefa: the ladies' man, the good boy, the weird one and the party boy. They're 30-something, but they still act as if they're 16. They get drunk, they chase the wrong women and they have a remarkable record of causing chaos at every wedding they attend. But when Sione's bans the boys from his wedding, they know something has to change. The boys have one last chance: find girlfriends to take to the wedding or be let out in the cold. Their lives are about to get turned upside down. How hard can it be finding a girl in the world's biggest Polynesian city when you're young, gifted and brown?

About Sione's Wedding

"SIONE'S WEDDING is a contemporary, urban story set in the Polynesian world," says the film's writer James Griffin (Head of Development for South Pacific Pictures. James credits include Outrageous Fortune, Mercy Peak, Serial Killers). "It's a story that every culture can relate to because it's a kind of romantic comedy for guys. It's about universal themes of love and respect and friendship, but what makes it really interesting is that it's told from a young Polynesian perspective."

"I love that we're making a film about people I know and things I know and understand," adds Oscar Kightley, who co-wrote SIONE'S WEDDING with Griffin and who plays the character of Albert. "We're making a New Zealand movie that is true and funny and I think that the Pacific Island community is going to love it - and so is everyone else."

Director Chris Graham and cinematographer Aaron Morton worked together to create a visual look that would bring the boys' inner-city neighbourhood to life. "We wanted to create a visual portrait of Auckland as an incredibly varied city; metropolitan, multicultureal and international, which it is," says Graham. "the film is about creating a window into the Samoan culture within Auckland city, which population wise, is the Polynesian capital." he says.

"We always knew the movie was going to be set in Grey Lynn," says Kightley. The inner city suburb, home to both Kightley and Griffin, is an area where many Pacific Islands settled in the wave of migration that supplied New Zealand with cheap labour for its post WWII manufacturing boom. When the economy slowed in the 1960s, Pacific Islanders working in factories were the first to lose their jobs, bringing economic hardship to their communities.

"I live in Grey Lynn and it felt like a movie about my neighbourhood," says cinematographer Morton. "It was something we talked about in terms of the neighbourhood being another character. It's where these guys grew up and it informs who they are."

Further hardship for New Zealand's Pacific Island community came out with the tightening of immigration laws and the infamous 'dawn raids' where police carried out surprise searches of the homes of Pacific Island families, looking for so-called 'overstayers'. The divisive campaign encouraged racist attitudes among Palagi (white) New Zealanders.

Fast forward to 2005 and a new era for Samoan New Zealanders. Albert, Michael, Sefa and Stanley are part of a generation whose lives combine traditional attitudes with the influences of life in a cosmopolitan environment.

These days the majority of Samoans living in New Zealand were born here and most live in Auckland. Like the boys in SIONE'S WEDDING, many Polynesian youth still live with their families but stay in sleep-outs (converted garages or annexes to the family home); they attend church but they also wile away their nights on the dance floors of hip hop clubs. They are a generation whose music, storytelling, dance, sporting prowess, fashion and attitude are fast becoming a major influence on our society, from the hit animated TV series bro'Town to Scribe's top-selling hip hop albums.

It's never been so hip to be brown.

For more detailed information about this movie or any other New Zealand film please go to the New Zealand Film Commission

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