Tusi Tamasese is a graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Film School, and the University of Waikato, holding an MA in creative writing and a bachelor’s degree in social science. Tamasese’s work includes Sacred Spaces (2009), a 15-minute short that premiered at the 2010 New Zealand International Film Festival. Sacred Spaces forged the team that became the crew’s backbone for The Orator.
The film is about Saili,a little person and taro farmer who lives happily with his wife, Vaaiga, and stepdaughter, Litia. But fortune turns when his family plantation is threatened and he is denied his father's chiefly status. Vaaiga, previously banished from her village, refuses her brother's demands to return home to restore their family to health. Suddenly and tragically, Saili's life is turned upside down, and he must stand up to defend his land and family.
Where tradition is law, struggle is constant, and family is everything, Tusi Tamasese delivers an authentic and intimate view into the complexities of village life.