A young speech therapist disconnected from her Tongan heritage lies about her Tongan language skills to get a job. Out of her depth, she must find a way to communicate or risk her patient’s life.
Katherine, a young speech therapist of Tongan and European heritage has lied about her Tongan language skills to work with Siaosi – an elderly Tongan patient with aphasia who has lost his ability to speak English.
Siaosi resents Katherine’s presence and is resistant to her speech therapy sessions. Anxious for progress, Katherine enlists her Tongan boyfriend Maka to translate. During this exchange, Katherine unwittingly offends Siaosi, who sternly tells them to exit – jeopardising her work and causing tension with Maka. Katherine is left feeling disconnected and insecure about her identity.
Under pressure to complete her report, Katherine returns to Siaosi’s house. When Siaosi catches Katherine trespassing on his property, he berates her and Katherine breaks down in tears. Katherine’s vulnerability catches Siaosi off-guard and an amusing miscommunication leads to a heart-warming moment.
Katherine bonds with Siaosi and just as they start to make progress in their speech therapy, Siaosi suffers a medical emergency. Panicking and out of her depth, Katherine must find a way to communicate with her patient, or risk Siaosi’s life and have her professional mistruth revealed.
Genre: Drama (Short)
Released: January 2024
Aspect Ratio: 2:1 (Colour)
Language: English, Tongan (with English subtitles)
Director: Vea Mafile'o
Writer: Luciane Buchanan
Producers: Alex Lovell & Eldon Booth
Executive Producer: Frankie Adams
Cinematography: Maria Ines Manchego
Art Director: Emily Mafile’o
Editors: Lisa Greenfield & Anastasia Doniants
Composer: Stephen Gallagher
Costume Designer: Frankie Lolohea
Made in association with the New Zealand Film Commission and Script to Screen
World Premiere: Sundance Film Festival (January 2024)
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