ARTIST STATEMENT

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 the suffering and injustice inflicted on our most innocent. I refuse to remain silent about the causes I care about.

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, complex and compassionate people. 

New Zealand left an indelible imprint of my being. I am forever inspired by her rugged and beautiful land and her diverse and honest people. It was a place where feminism as a conversation and a movement was central to daily life. 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 granted us permission to to “give things a go” and not apologize for shaking up the system.

Attending 10 schools by the time I was 17, I navigated survival by watching how people move through the world and making them laugh. The constant moving around was difficult, but it taught me was to grow up fast, depend on myself, and to care deeply for those our society deem as outsiders. Final result is I don't give a rats arse for cool people, but rather gravitate toward and find myself inspired by genuine people. I am compelled by a central belief that all people deserve to feel safe, have opportunities and be treated with dignity. I am drawn to films and stories where this is not the case.

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, police brutality, 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.

As a writer/director, I have made four short films; The Twenty Seventh Hour, The Rain Has Forgotten Us, Debris Escombros and The Plural of Blood.   I am a Sony Pictures Television Diverse Directing fellow, a Film Independent Project Involve Fellow and a finalist in the Warner Brothers Emerging Directors Program.  In 2016 I was awarded the Alliance of Women in Media Genii Award for "Best Dramatic Short Film",  "Best International Short Film" at the Manchester International Film Festival,   "Best Screenplay" from the Largo Film Awards, "Third place in the dramatic category" from the United Latino International Film Festival and "Best Female Director" at the Hollyshorts Film Festival, 2016.  Debris has screened in three programs during the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, in addition to traveling to festivals in Canada, the UK, Iran and the US.

From 2004 to 2013, I worked for the Independent Spirit Awards and eventually became the show’s Associate Producer. I have worked with many notable film festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Starz Denver International Film Festival and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar.  My time in such an atmosphere exposed me to independent cinema, the industry and its players – and most importantly - contact with filmmakers and their journeys and challenges in making cinema.

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. 

The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world
— Dr. Paul Farmer