At my core, I strive to honor, empower and celebrate each and every one of us. I am an activist, a devoted citizen of the world and with my films, a freedom fighter, without apology, devoted to putting a human face on suffering and injustice. I am compelled by a central belief that all people deserve to feel safe, have equal access to opportunities and be treated with dignity. I am drawn to films and stories where this is not the case.
Fortunate to have been born in Fiji, and raised on the Pacific island of Nauru and New Zealand, I owe my parents a great debt of gratitude. My parent’s were politically vibrant, theatrically engaged, compassionate and a bit nuts.
I credit New Zealand for shaping my views around feminism and equality. The imprint on my being is undeniable. I am forever inspired by her rugged land, her native peoples and traditions, and the kindness of its citizens.
Feminism as a conversation in New Zealand is central to daily life being the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote. This was especially present at my high school; despite being a traditional, all-girls school born of British stiffness. Our Art, English and Drama teachers were rule-breakers and iconoclasts who aligned themselves with rebel students passionate about blazing our own trail. They empowered us to “give things a go” and not apologize for disrupting the system.
Attending 10 schools between the ages of 4 and 17, was the cruelest part of my childhood. My parents were poor and clueless about the impact of such choices. I navigated survival by watching how people moved through the world and making them laugh. It was difficult and painful, but it taught me was to grow up fast, depend on myself, and to care deeply for those our society deem as outsiders. In fact, it is the very reason I make films and the experience became my training ground for story telling. Final result is I don't give a shit about cool people. Instead, I gravitate toward genuine people.
At the age of 18 and reeling from my parents crushing divorce combined with my longing to explore the larger world, I left for England where I studied Drama, and eventually ended up in the United States of America where I studied Cinema. Upon my first days in the U.S., despite reservations about American politics and it’s uncomfortable definition of freedom and democracy, I was astounded to discover the friendliness, warmth and “can do” spirit of the American people. This resonated profoundly within me and influenced my choice to call America home.
Combining all these elements is where I draw my inspiration and motivation as an artist, an activist and as a woman. The films and themes I explores are focused around human rights, asylum seekers, modern day slavery, violence against women and/or children, issues of poverty, oppression and women’s struggles. I strive to tell stories with rich, unconventional characters in captivating worlds with the hope we can develop greater empathy, understanding and acceptance of people, cultures and our differences.
I identify as a Fijian/New Zealand/British/American who intends to leave my tread on this earth. I am flawed and I am happy, and above everything else, I cherish and hold in high regard this life that I have been given.