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By Leila Y Boyer

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Dec. 15) – Another noteworthy film has come from New Zealand after the smashing success of Peter Jackson’s "Lord of the Rings" trilogy — but this one is not as huge, nor does it have a multi-million dollar budget, though it does carry enough comedic weight to make waves of its own.

"Samoan Wedding," after reaching number one at the box office in New Zealand and grossing over $3 million in its first week during its launch last March, opens on Guam today at the Guam Megaplex Theaters and on Saipan at Hollywood Theaters on January 19th.

Set in Auckland, New Zealand, the film, written by James Griffin and Oscar Kightley, is a romantic comedy about four thirty something Samoan buddies, Michael, Sefa, Stanley and Albert, who are forced to clean up their acts and find respectable dates in order to attend their best friend Sione’s wedding.

Marianas Variety was able to catch up with Kightley, an award-winning writer, actor, director and broadcaster, born in Samoa, but raised in New Zealand to share some of his thoughts as a writer and actor on "Samoan Wedding."

"I hope they walk away with a smile at the story of four mates who take a little while to grow up. I’m sure there’s a few of those in Guam and Saipan! Also it’s set in the Samoan community of Auckland and I know that Guam, Saipan and Samoa have ties historically in the Pacific so maybe they’ll walk away with some insight into another Polynesian culture in another corner of the Pacific."

"James and I drew inspiration from people we’ve met or grew up with or hung out with and a big inspiration was the inner city suburb where the film was set."

"Pacific literature through the work of writers like Albert Wendt and Sia Figiel and the many artists from New Zealand is getting a strong hold. I feel that stories from this part of the world will be interesting to lots of people outside the Pacific."

"I guess my writing’s informed by experiences as an immigrant and that’s the perspective that I personally seem to take. Growing up in New Zealand, you also got used to having one culture at home and then stepping into another culture every time you step outside your house. That can have its disadvantages, but also its advantages, so it’s a constant balancing act. It’s fun to explore that in your story telling."

"The breakfast scene where Lani (played by Teuila Blakely) has to make the boys breakfast, but doesn’t give any to her partner Sefa (played by Shimpal Lelisi). That was an instance where the director left the cameras running after the point of the scene had been made and we horsed around and it made the cut into the film."

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