Growing up in a strictly regulated Samoan village, Tama has lost all respect for the traditional values that sustain his community and strongly identifies with the aggressive beats of American gangsta rap. His rebellious spirit holds a strange appeal for Pili who sings in a church choir and is firmly rooted in the traditions of fa’a Samoa. After a brutal beating from his father Tama leaves home to follow his dream of making it in the local hip-hop scene. He hooks up with his cousin Sione and when they get the chance to perform in a tourist hotel Tama persuades Pili to join his band.
Under Pili’s influence Tama stops trying to imitate American style hip-hop and the band create a hybrid sound that comes out of their own experiences. They record an island style single that is a runaway success but when Pili’s over-protective father discovers that his daughter has been deceiving him he subjects Pili to the humiliating traditional punishment of shaving her head. Pili stands up to her father and the band earn the chance to perform at Samoa’s hottest night club. As they prepare for their gig Sione suffers a breakdown that was caused by an encounter with a sinister spiritual force. Pili deals with Sione’s possession by drawing on her knowledge of traditional healing and Tama starts to develop a deeper understanding of his own culture.
Pili’s family intervene to put a stop to her musical career and this triggers a violent confrontation in which Tama accidently kills Pili’s cousin. Tama must resolve the conflict by submitting to the ifoga - a physically gruelling ritual of apology and forgiveness.
Writers: Justine and Paul Simei-Barton
Director: Justine Simei-Barton
Producers: Emma Slade, Mark Overett
DOP: Leon Narby
Composer: Don McGlashan
Status: In Development
Developed with the assistance of New Zealand Film Commission