Entertainment | Film

Brass bands, Otai and Tongan flags take over Sylvia Park for new film

A feature film about a fan trying to buy tickets for his church to attend the Tonga vs France match at the 2011 Rugby World Cup is now in cinemas.

Red, White and Brass is a story about a Wesley Community Church in Wellington banding together to form a brass band to perform at the historic encounter.

Halaifonua Finau (co-writer and producer) is relieved the release has finally happened after six years but says was always kept humbled by his mother during the process.

“Being the producer, I’ve been trying to manifest this, like finally, I’m the top dog, I'm the boss. And then we cast my mum. I’d be on set watching scenes take place and I’ll get a call like ‘Nua, your mum needs you back at unit base at her trailer.’

"I’ll go out there and she’ll say ‘Oh I forgot my phone in the car.’ I’m like ‘mother, you know that I’m in the middle of filming I’m a busy man’. That was all said in my head, really, I just said ‘yes,’” he says.

The world premiere took place at Hoyts Cinemas at Sylvia Park Auckland where the red carpet was rolled out for actors and supporters.

Tonga represented on the big screen in a big brass way.

Tongan hymn on film

Ilaisaane Green, who plays Irene, was overwhelmed with emotion at the showing when she mentioned her favourite part of the movie.

"There was a time when we all got to sing a Tongan hymn and for me, that was a pivotal moment in the film, just to see a Tongan hymn being displayed in a feature film,” she says.

A sea of red flags took over the middle of Auckland’s mall, replicating the scenes of Ikale Tonga's support at RWC 2011.

Unlimited Otai, a Tongan brass band, and an endless view of ta’ovalas, were displayed for cameras and those passing by to see.

Fijian attendee Lindsie says the film was perfectly put together to educate non-Tongans about their culture and language.

“I thought it was magic, it was very funny, and well executed. It was so beautiful to see the Tongan language spoken on screen and to see everything about the Tongan culture.

In Aotearoa cinemas

"I laughed the whole way in the moments that we were supposed to and it was brilliant,” she says.

Written and produced by predominantly Tongan creatives, there was a mix of ethnicities on show in the blockbuster film.

Suzy Cato, who played Liz the music teacher says the story was told so well, she felt as if she were there 12 years ago while acting on set.

“As they came out onto the rugby ground, as the actors we’re sitting there in the stands, and the field is empty, the whole pitch is empty and I’m crying. I’m such a method actor. I can imagine them coming out, and they’re playing the music.

"Meanwhile, the tears are streaming down my face. I went and apologised to the director and I said ‘I’m sorry I cried’. He said, ‘no it was gold,’” she laughs.

The film is now showing at cinemas across Aotearoa and is soon to be introduced as part of high schools' educational curriculum.