Tongan Kiwi Vea Mafile'o began her screen career in the art department, drawing on her university studies in Visual Arts. Alongside being a prolific artist, she worked as an art director for television (Pacific Beat Street) and on a run of short films (Broken Silence). Mafile'o has also done time in the director's chair, helming several TV shows including Tagata Pasifika, Fresh and I AM TV. In 2015 she founded production company Malosi Pictures with her partner Jeremiah Tauamiti. In 2019 the pair debuted their first feature at the Berlin Film Festival: documentary For My Father's Kingdom, about Vea's father Saia Mafile'o.  

...I love documentary, especially cinéma vérité where you can sit and be immersed in another world. I also like the emotion you can make from picture and sound, for me I use a lot of sounds to evoke feelings. Vea Mafile'o, in a 2018 interview with Coconet.TV

Toa'ipuapugā - Strength in Suffering

2019, Director, Writer, Producer - Short Film

For My Father's Kingdom

2019, Co-Director, Writer, Subject, Producer - Film

Director Vea Mafile'o's Tongan father Saia drives this deeply personal film. Vea raises thorny questions about the relationship between money and the church in Tongan culture, questions that caused her Kiwi/Tongan family pain. Pensioner Saia Mafile'o's dedication to raising large amounts of money for Misinale (an annual church celebration) upset his children and splintered his marriage. Mafile'o returns to Tonga with her father and siblings, to attend the Misinale and learn why the financial sacrifice matters to him. The documentary debuted at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival.

My Friend Michael Jones

2018, Art Director - Short Film

Maria

2017, Production Designer - Short Film

'Aho'eitu

2015, Co-Director, Producer, Production Designer - Short Film

Home Krew

2014, Director - Television

Finding Honk

2013, Art Director - Film

How to... (Coconet.tv)

2013 - 2014, Director, Presenter, Camera - Web

Broken Silence

As: Sienna , Art Director, Actor - Short Film

Fresh - Jason Momoa and Wentworth (Series Three, Episode 16)

2013, Director, Camera - Television

This June 2013 edition of the TVNZ Pasifika youth show is presented by actor Robbie Magasiva from his base in Melbourne, where he has a role in Australian prison drama Wentworth. Elsewhere the Poly-plethora includes a visit by Pani (Goretti Chadwick) to Armageddon Expo in Hamilton to meet Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa. Pani makes the hard man with Hawaiian heritage blush, and gets the lowdown on his mako tatau. Niuean artist Kenneth Green also talks about his tattoo; Tiger and Raa visit the school principal; and reggae band Brownhill close with ‘First Love’. 

Fresh - Bloopers and Fob Outs (Series Two)

2012, Director - Television

This bloopers reel from Pasifika youth show Fresh begins with a series of pieces to camera gone wrong: sibling presenters Nainz and Viiz Tupai (Adeaze) get the giggles introducing 'Fresh Games', Laughing Samoan Tofiga Fepulea'i gets his man breasts ready for action, and Pani and Pani get lyrical about raisins. 'Fob Outs' (outtakes set to Outkast’s 'Hey Ya') include Scribe missing a beat, All Black Jerome Kaino getting tongue-tied, choreographer Parris Goebel pulling faces, actors Robbie Magasiva and David Fane mugging for the camera, and Nicole Whippy getting funky.

Fresh

2012 - ongoing, Director, Camera - Television

Fresh is a popular TVNZ youth show with a focus on Pasifika arts, culture, events and sport. Since 2011 its “Poly-platter” of pacific flavours has ranged from singer Ria Hall and sports star Sonny Bill Williams, to Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa and hip hop choreographer Parris Goebel. It screens on Saturday mornings on TV2. Fresh regulars have included Robbie Magasiva, Samoan 'sisters' Pani and Pani, and the Fresh Housewives. The show is produced by Tiki Lounge Productions, the team behind online PI social network Coconet.tv. 

Tagata Pasifika - 2011 Polynesian Blue Pacific Music Awards

2011, Director - Inserts, Art Director - Television

It’s Samoan Language Week and Tom Natoealofa says “Talofa!” to kick off Tagata Pasifika's Aotearoa award-nominated coverage of the 2011 Polynesian Blue Pacific Music Awards. Natoealofa co-hosts with Angela Tiatia, from the TelstraClear Pacific (now Vodafone) Events Centre in Manukau. The awards honour everything from gospel to urban. Nesian Mystik take out a trifecta including the big one, and Ladi 6 also wins. In the last clip Annie Crummer picks up a Lifetime Achievement gong, and the Ponsonby Methodist Church Choir perform her song ‘See What Love Can Do’.

Laughing Samoans at Large - First Episode

2010, Art Director - Television

This 2010 series adapted the theatre comedy of Laughing Samoans Eteuati Ete and Tofiga Fepulea’i into a show on TV2, pairing sketches and interviews with excerpts from their stage show. In this opening episode Aunty Tala (Fepulea’i) receives a sign that a prospective husband is in Wellington and takes her niece Fai (Ete) to nab him. Their tour of the capital includes Te Papa, Cuba Street, The Backbencher Pub near Parliament, and Les Mills gym. Aunty Tala flirts with All Blacks Jerome Kaino and Ma’a Nonu, opera singer Ben Makisi, Prime Minister John Key and actor Robbie Magasiva. 

Whānau

2009, Art Director - Television

What's Really in our Food?

2011, Art Director - Television

I Am TV

2012 - 2013, Director - Television

Interactivity with viewers was at the heart of TVNZ bilingual youth series I AM TV. Launched at a time when social networking website Bebo was still king, I AM TV enhanced audience participation via online competitions, sharing amateur videos, and encouraging fans to send in questions during live interviews. Te reo and tikanga Māori featured heavily in the series, which showcased music videos, sports, pranks, interviews and travel around Aotearoa. Hosts over the five years the show was on air included Kimo Houltham, Candice Davis and Mai Time's Olly Coddington.

Pacific Beat Street

2006 - 2009, Art Director, Camera - Television

Tagata Pasifika

2008 - ongoing, Director, Reporter - Television

Tagata Pasifika is a magazine-style show with items and interviews focusing on Pacific Island communities in Aotearoa. Debuting on 4 April 1987, it features coverage of Pacific Island cultural events like the Pasifika festival, plus longer documentaries. It is the only show focusing on PIs on mainstream New Zealand television. After TVNZ announced that its Māori and Pacific shows would no longer be made in-house, Tagata Pasifika veterans Stephen Stehlin, Ngaire Fuata and John Utanga took over production in 2015 through their company SunPix. Website TP+ launched in 2018.