After surprisingly good numbers at the box office in New Zealand, a comedy shot on a shoestring in Samoa is now set for release in Australia. "Three Wise Cousins" came in at number seven, earning about two hundred thousand dollars in two weeks on just eight screens. More from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.
Aukland-raised Adam falls hard for Mary, but she tells him she only likes "real island guys." Determined to win her heart, Adam seeks the help of his cousins back in Samoa, and, according to the New Zealand website - Stuff, howls of laughter accompany the city kid's lessons on how to climb a coconut palm, build an emu, sweep leaves with a salu and wash clothes in the river.
Writer, director and co-producer Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa funded the film himself, with the help of family and friends who worked for free. His mom and stepdad served as the catering unit and art department. Eighty percent of the film was shot in two weeks in Samoa in 2014, but money ran out and spirits began to sag. Looking for motivation, the crew cut together a trailer that was viewed more than a hundred thousand times on Facebook. "Morale went right up," Vaiaoga-Ioasa told Stuff, "It was like, sheesh, we'd better finish this."
The stars are all new to movies: Neil Amituanai, who plays Adam, told Radio New Zealand that he wasn't really acting - the culture shock was real: "It was my first time there, " he said, "first time doing everything." Gloria Ofa Blake plays the love interest. Vesui Viliamu and Vito Vito provide most of the jokes as the cousins...they are well known in New Zealand from their roles on a local reality TV show called Mr. Lavalava.
"Three Wise Cousins" opens in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney starting February 18th: there's a gala premier set for Samoa on the 24th.
Watch the Trailer: