Film-maker keeps Pa­cific flame alive

DAILY GRIND Craig Fasi en­tered the film in­dus­try more than 13 years ago af­ter hon­ing his craft at the Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. He started the Pol­ly­wood Film Fes­ti­val soon af­ter. The Hills­bor­ough man tells Jess Etheridge why the film in­dus­try needs

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Giv­ing Pa­cific Is­landers a voice is what drives Craig Fasi.

Af­ter step­ping out of the Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy more than 13 years ago, the Hills­bor­ough res­i­dent dis­cov­ered the ‘‘real lack’’ of Pasi­fika con­tri­bu­tion to the film in­dus­try.

The ‘‘shoe-string’’ bud­get cul­ture in the in­dus­try means many can­not jus­tify a full­time film job.

‘‘Any­time any­thing is made it’s on the bare bones of fam­ily, friends, favours and there’s al­ways got to be a nine-to-five job in there some­where to keep the bills paid and the power on,’’ the 36-year-old says.

‘‘If you can get into the main­stream even then it’s quite fickle be­cause it’s con­tract work, months at a time. You’ll be lucky to have it on­go­ing. It’s all very hig­gledyp­ig­gledy but at the same time we need to take that on the chin and make sure we tell our sto­ries the way they should be told.’’

Fasi says Pasi­fika sto­ries are of­ten por­trayed through an out­sider’s lens.

He be­gan to search for a way to give more ex­po­sure to the work of Pasi­fika film-mak­ers.

Fasi or­gan­ised a Pa­cific Is­land short film night and from it the Pol­ly­wood Film Fes­ti­val was born.

‘‘The in­ter­est was quite huge,’’ Fasi says. ‘‘It was quite a good way to find out the in­ter­est there was in the com­mu­nity.’’

‘‘Pol­ly­wood is a way for your grass­roots, right up to your es­tab­lished prac­ti­tion­ers to put their work out to­gether and hope­fully col­lab­o­rate.’’

He took up a job in pro­mot­ing film and be­gan push­ing for Pa­cific Is­landers to get their sto­ries out there.

But it’s run on love – Pol­ly­wood has no ma­jor fi­nan­cial backer and he does it in his spare time.

‘‘I’ve come through quite a lot in my life, in terms of deaths, in terms of re­ally hard-hit­ting life in­stances and I’ve found Pol­ly­wood has been quite a staple,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s kept me level. Aside from hav­ing kids now, Pol­ly­wood has al­ways been some­thing that I can have a creative out­let with and I still get to be in­volved in the creative scene . . . and I’ve still got a nine-to-five as well to pay the bills.

‘‘I can have my creative out­let through Pol­ly­wood and I get to see the new work and be a part of the main­stream Pa­cific Is­land cir­cle of cre­ativ­ity.’’

The in­dus­try is still so new, Fasi says.

‘‘For as long as it’s been around we are still scratch­ing the sur­face in telling our sto­ries and I think there’s a very long way to go.’’

Doc­u­men­taries, dra­mas, ex­per­i­men­tal films and come­dies have been part of Pol­ly­wood, which is still evolv­ing.

‘‘It’s just try­ing to get ev­ery­thing to­gether and keep­ing that flame alive for other Pa­cific Is­landers who see vis­ual tools to be a great medium for shar­ing mes­sages, telling sto­ries and that’s what I think is the ba­sis of film – telling sto­ries.’’

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Pasi­fika pas­sion: Craig Fasi has or­gan­ised film fes­ti­val Pol­ly­wood for more than 13 years.

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