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Loimata, The Sweetest Tears World Premiere in Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival

Lilo Ema Siope landing on Apolima Island, Samoa
Lilo Ema Siope
Film follows the extraordinary waka captain Lilo Ema Siope on her final courageous healing journey with her family. Taihape, Northland, Auckland, Samoa


LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears, a documentary feature film by Anna Marbrook, will have its World Premiere at Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival in July.

The film will be part of the Festival’s At Home – Online programme and will have limited in-cinema screenings in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. The events will also include a post-screening Q&A panel with the filmmakers and the Siope family who courageously share their story in the film. Details of the in-cinema screenings will be announced on Thursday 25 June.

In LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears, director Anna Marbrook takes us with her dying friend, the extraordinary ocean-going waka captain, Lilo Ema Siope on an emotional healing journey. A finely-crafted compassionate documentary strongly tied to Ema’s Samoan culture, Loimata: The Sweetest Tears is an intimate exploration of a family shattered by shame working courageously to liberate themselves from the shackles of the past. A journey of courage, tears, laughter and above all, unconditional love.

Director Anna Marbrook, (who co-directed the documentary feature Te Mana o Te Moana, The Pacific Voyagers) also produced LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears with her filmmaker brother Jim Marbook (documentaries Cap Bocage, Dark Horse) and executive producers acclaimed University of Auckland academic  Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni and Dame Gaylene Preston (My Year With Helen). Cinematographer was Jess Charlton, editor Malcolm Clarke, sound recordist John McNicholas and composer Mathew Suttor.

Anna Marbook says, “This is a story about transformation through the belief that if you can change your heart, you can change your environment, you can change a family, a community, even a country. Ema understood the power of personal testimony and had the courage to examine the trauma in her life, taking her family with her. I was privileged to walk alongside them.”

Executive producer Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni says: "The name of the film LOIMATA literally means “Tears”. But, it is also the name of a place in Sāmoa where Lilo Ema Siope's mother has genealogical roots. This place was and is a site where different levels of trauma occurred but also where profound healing has taken place. LOIMATA is therefore not only about tears of pain and suffering; it is also about tears of redemption and hope.”

Producer Jim Marbrook says, "It was Ema who suggested that I step aboard this project and so there we were, Anna and I, a family making a film about a family, bringing along other Marbrooks to help, inspired by Ema and also cherishing the experience of being able to spend time with the remarkable Siope aiga. Making LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears involved going deep into the heart of the love, tensions and currents within a family. It is in this honest, open and loving examination of the Siope family that we see the most potential for them to heal and transform their lives. "

Executive producer Dame Gaylene Preston, herself an extraordinary documentary maker, describes LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears as a unique excursion into world cinema which she urges the film festival audiences to see. “In New Zealand, we Pākehā live alongside many cultures and we might have Samoan friends but we rarely get a chance to glimpse an intimate family portrait that spans generations and tells a history alongside an intensely personal story, where the theme is universal but the journey is unique.”

Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival runs 24 July to 2 August. Details of online and in-cinema screenings of LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears will be released on Thursday 25 June when the full programme for the 2020 Festival
is announced.


Contact details: 0274 739 318

Written by

Kiriata Publicity and Distribution

20 Jun 2020

Interests Kiriata Publicity operates as a specialist publicist of films in New Zealand, created and owned by film publicist Sue May.  

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