Tusi Tamasese was born in Samoa and raised in the villages of Vaimoso and Mulifanua. At the age of eighteen he moved to New Zealand and attended the University of Waikato, The New Zealand Film and Television School and Victoria University of Wellington where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies and a Masters of Arts degree in creative writing.
In 2011, the feature film script Tusi had written for his MA degree, which won the Embassy Trust Award and Dominion Post Award, became his feature film directorial debut O LE TULAFALE/THE ORATOR. THE ORATOR was shot in Samoa, and is entirely in the Samoan language. The film had its world premiere in competition at the 2011 Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti (New Horizons) section and went on to win numerous awards in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand (Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay at the 2012 “Moa” New Zealand Film Awards). THE ORATOR was New Zealand’s first-ever entry into the best foreign-language film category for the Academy Awards.
In 2015 Tusi was named a new Generation NZ Arts Laureate.
His second film ONE THOUSAND ROPES was shot in Wellington and premiered at the Panorama Section of the Berlin International Film Festival 2017 and is in upcoming ‘In Competition’ selections around the world.
He lives with his wife Melanie and three children in Wellington.
See Tusi in the following session: