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Writer, Director, Producer

VILSONI HERENIKO is Rotuma's first and only playwright, award-winning filmmaker and full professor. He is a former Director of the Oceania Center for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji as well as the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Currently he is a professor at the School of Cinematic Arts at UH Mānoa where he teaches screenwriting, indigenous aesthetics, sustainability in film, and film production. He has also received a Star of Oceania Award in Media, Arts, and Culture. He has written about a dozen plays, including the hit-comedy The Last Virgin in Paradise (co-written with the late Teresia Teaiwa), The Monster (about Fiji's military coup of 1987), and Moana Rua: The Rising of the Sea (a musical production about climate change that toured four European countries in 2015.) He was also a cultural consultant for Disney’s animated film Moana. His award-winning narrative feature film The Land Has Eyes premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was Fiji's first and only film it ever nominated for the Academy Awards. It also won several awards, including Best Dramatic Feature at the Toronto ImagineNative Film + Media Arts Festival. His animated short Sina ma Tinirau won five awards, including Best Short at the Berlin Independent Film Festival (2023) and the Los Angeles International Film Festival (2023). Since covid, he has become a master weaver of coconut leaf baskets with his creations exhibited in five curated art exhibitions, with one having been acquired by Hawai's State Foundation for Culture and the Arts for its permanent collection. And in his latest film Woven, he makes his acting debut as a master weaver and indigenous artist.

WOVEN is a new film directed by Vilsoni Hereniko and Alex Cantatore. In it, an indigenous artist tries to revive his ancestral tradition of basket weaving with coconut leaves in an urban park by the Pacific Ocean. Despite being chased by security guards in a city of high rises who question his presence, he perseveres through rain and rejection. As he completes a stunning basket, an encounter with a homeless couple brings a glimmer of hope for his art form, highlighting the struggle of maintaining traditional practices in a city that's forgotten its roots.

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