About A Conversation on Islands of Resilience: Voices Making Waves


In this virtual conversation, we will have an opportunity to hear two directors’ personal perspectives on making Vai, a beautiful and in many ways unique cinematic experiment. Considering the very different films in the Islands of Resilience series—Tanna and Vai—we will reflect on the growing importance of indigenous voices in international film, cinema as a medium for female empowerment, and what such stories might reveal about issues of language, culture, gender, and identity.


Matasila Freshwater directed the moving Solomon Islands fishing scene in Vai. She was voted 2019 New Filmmaker of the Year (Screen Production and Development Association, New Zealand), and is well-known for her original work in animation.

Marina Alofagia McCartney directed the captivating Samoan ceremony scene in Vai. She has had a wide-ranging career in fashion, film, and academia; in her current doctoral studies at Auckland University of Technology she explores Moana Pasifika identity and filmmaking.

Natasha Saelua is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University and founding board member of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities, a national advocacy organization. She will share perspectives from both campus and the Samoan diaspora.

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