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Leitis in Waiting

United States, Tonga | 2018 | 70 min | English | Joe Wilson, Dean Hamer, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu joins directors Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson (Kumu Hina, Doc Edge 2015) to tell the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga Leitis, an intrepid group of indigenous transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism in their South Pacific kingdom.

The film follows devout Catholic Joey as she organises an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, provides shelter and training for a young contestant rejected by her family, and spars with American-financed evangelicals who threaten to resurrect colonial-era laws which would criminalise the leitis’ lives.

With unexpected humour and extraordinary access to the kingdom’s royals and religious leaders, Joey’s emotional journey illuminates what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking that tradition and culture.

During its development, Leitis In Waiting was presented at Doc Edge’s DOC Pitch Competition 2017.

Supported by The Rei Foundation

*The Filmmakers and Subjects will attend the Festival.

  • Wellington |
    Roxy Cinema 1

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  • Wellington |
    Roxy Cinema 2

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  • Auckland |
    Rangatira, Q Theatre

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  • Auckland |
    Loft, Q Theatre

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