Tusi Tamasese spent 18 years in his native Samoa, before moving to New Zealand. After shooting 2009 short film Va Tapuia in Samoa, he directed his debut feature The Orator (O Le Tulafale), which was made entirely in the Samoan language. This tale of an outsider in conflict with his community scored multiple honours at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for Best Actor at APSA. Tamasese followed it with the New Zealand-set father and daughter drama One Thousand Ropes, which premiered at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival and played the Sydney, Stockholm and Palm Springs film festivals. The Orator was the first time in 84 years that New Zealand selected a film to represent them in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards™. One Thousand Ropes repeated the honour six years later.
The Asia Pacific Screen Academy expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the South East Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial communities on whose land works are created and celebrated by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging. We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations peoples continue to play in storytelling and celebration spaces.