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Loimata, The Sweetest Tears wins FIFO Grand Prix

Lilo Ema Siope in Loimata, The Sweetest Tears
Loimata wins FIFO Grand Prix


LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears, a documentary feature film by Anna Marbrook, has won the Grand Prix du Jury at Tahiti’s prestige FIFO, (Festival International du Film Documentaire Océanien).

At the prizegiving ceremony Jury member Julia Overton, a leading figure in Australian film and television, described Loimata as “a film that was really well directed . . .  on an important subject: childhood trauma.” She added: “Our congratulations to the whole team who presented this family’s story with so much compassion.”

Jury member Doc Edge director Alex Lee says, “The film’s narrative is superbly told, giving us a personal connection with the subject, Ema. We are taken into her world where she confronts issues of culture, family, the tradition of wayfaring, sexual abuse, identity, life and death. While her mortality is urgent and pressing, the film enables us to pause and reflect as Ema navigates these issue. This is an excellent example of skilled filmmaking and a feature-length theatrical Pasifika documentary which the world needs to view, indicative of the treasure trove of content of our region rarely seen and funded internationally.”

Director/producer Anna Marbrook says, “We are so thrilled and honoured to be amongst such an amazing selection of films in competition. This award is a tribute to the protagonist of the film LiloEma Siope and her dedication in forging a healing pathway for her
extraordinary family - a pathway deeply rooted in her culture, history and philosophy. Tahiti is hugely significant in voyaging kaupapa so to win an award there dignifies both our film and Ema's legacy as a voyaging captain and waka builder."

Producer Jim Marbrook says, “This is another vital stepping stone that helps us take our film out into the world and also deeper into the Pacific region. We set out to make a documentary that was both cinematic and intimate and the reactions to the screenings and this prize have vindicated our creative choices. It was a complex movie to produce because the material was sensitive and Anna’s bold directorial choices have brought the story to life.”

In LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears, director Anna Marbrook takes us with her dying friend, the extraordinary ocean-going wakacaptain, 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 andabove all, unconditional love.

Anna Marbrook also produced LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears with her filmmaker brother Jim Marbook and executive producers acclaimed University of Auckland academic  Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni and award-winning filmmaker Dame Gaylene Preston. Cinematographer was Jess Charlton, editor Malcolm Clarke, sound recordist John McNicholas and composer Matthew Suttor.

LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears had its world premiere in Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival 2020, where it received outstanding reviews and box office sell-outs.

FIFO IS  Festival International du Film documentaire Océanien, au mois de février à Te Fare Tauhiti Nui i- Maison de la Culture de Tahiti.
Sponsored by France Television

More information about FIFO:

Contact details: 
Anna Marbrook

Written by

Sue May

16 Feb 2021

Interests I am a freelance publicist specialising in films - release and unit publicity. And preparation of publicity materials for films and major television producitions. I also handle publicity for stand-up comedians.