Kiwi LGBTQ+ Independent Film Makes It To Hollywood

Published: Wed 17 Apr 2024 07:39 AM
“Mysterious Ways”, an interracial gay love story set in New Zealand between an English vicar and his Samoan partner is getting a US premiere screening in Los Angeles this week.
The film’s writer and director, Paul Oremland comments “its ironic as we see hatred from Kiwi religious organisations rear it’s ugly head, New Zealand is being represented on the world stage by a film that champions inclusivity and love”.
Mysterious Ways follows the story of an Anglican vicar who fights for a church wedding with his Pasifika boyfriend and the cultural and religious challenges they face to be accepted.
The mainly self-funded film stars UK actor Richard Short (Mary Kills People, Tragedy of Macbeth) and Samoan theatre star Nick Afoa, who is best known for playing Simba in the London production of The Lion King. Several other well-known New Zealand actors are in the film including Michael Hurst, Maureen Fepuleai, Te Radar, Becky McEwen, Elisabeth Easther, and newcomer Joe Malu Folau - whose heartfelt an funny depiction of a fa'fafine character is getting rave notices.
The film, made for a tiny budget with support from NZ On Air, has garnered some amazing reviews and has been sold to a number of countries including German, Australia and the UK. It is also available on demand on TVNZ+.
The film confronts issues around sexuality and religion. It is set in the Anglican church which offers ‘blessings’ to gay couples but still prohibits an official church wedding. As the Vicar in the film says “we are seen as second-class Christians”. At a time when many denominations, such as Presbyterians, Mormons, Baptists, and Catholics to suggest there is no place for gay love in their churches, Mysterious Ways represents hope that things can change.

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