Sandra Kailahi


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Vela Manusaute / Sandra Kailahi / Hanelle Harris

This urban coming-of-age story is not your typical Pacific Island story, although the beginning would suggest otherwise. It begins when Leke (12) runs away from home, after yet another beating from his frustrated father. Leke is approached by a young acolyte who takes him to meet 14 year old Siale - "the Messiah".  At first Leke doesn't know what to make of the spiritual leader or his followers, but for once he feels a sense of belonging with this strange "Army of God".  What unfolds over the next few days will test Leke and what he truly believes in as he is put through the ultimate test of faith, loyalty and understanding.  Eventually he finds the strength to return home, face his abusive father and finally stand up to him.

Our team (Kingston Productions) received $10k from the New Zealand Film Commission's Fresh Shorts programme to make The Messiah, which is awesome! We are deeply greatful for this support but in order to produce this unique and powerful film we do need a little extra help - which is where you come in! 

We are honoured to have some of the best film veterans in the industry, including award-winning Cinematographer, Grant McKinnon (Deadlands, Supercity, Harry) and highly acclaimed Editor, Cushla Dillon (Filthy Rich, Supercity).

In order to support our HODs, we need to provide them with the very best tools and resources to enhance their cinematic vision.

Everyone working on this is so generously giving their time and talent with very little in return because of their belief and passion for this story.

Your help will empower and enable us to make this film the very best it can be! No donation is too small and every bit really does help!

Malo 'aupito

Sandra, Vela & Hanelle

Our Team
Sandra Kailahi (Producer) has worked in the television industry for over two decades but when she's not doing that she's also a playwright, an author and dabbles in anything that takes her fancy. This is her first time producing a short film but she loves the story and is excited to be working with Vela and Hanelle.

Vela Manusaute (Director/Writer)  graduated from Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School in 1996. He's been writing and directing for the stage for over 20 years. Vela has worked on New Zealand films including 'The Tattooist', for which he is credited for the original idea for the film. The original idea for 'The Factory' stage musical was Vela's vision, which also lead to him working on 'The Factory' web series as Executive Producer and Actor.  Vela was a joint recipient of a New Generation Award for Kila Kokonut Krew, alongside his partner Anapela Polataivao.

Hanelle Harris (Line Producer) has a long list of achievements in the film and theatre world. She's known for her work both on screen as an actress, (Orphans & Kingdoms, Hillary, This Is Piki) and off screen as a writer, director and producer (Baby Mama's Club, The Promise Of Piha, Maria).



  • And so it begins...

    1 DAY AGO

    Day 1 of filming for The Messiah.  As you can see our crew have started filming The Messiah.  

    Our DOP, Grant McKinnon (The Last Saint) and our Director, Vela Manusaute take a quick break in between scenes in Manurewa with Jacklene Alvarez and Julie Zhu.

    Filming has begun but we need your help to finish shooting and editing this short film.

    We have now hit $2970 but only have 9 days left to make our target of $10K.  The money will go towards paying our wonderful crew and cast and also to help edit the film.

    Any donation will be greatly appreciated. 

    Please support Vela, Sandra and all those who are behind 'The Messiah'.

    And so it begins...
  • We have our lead actor.

    3 DAYS AGO

    We have hit $1970 but we only have 11 days left to make our target of $10K. We need your support!

    We are so grateful for the donations we have received so far but we need your help... any amount or donation will go a long way to help us making the film we want to make.

    Check out our lead actor

    Sixteen year old Iavana Seuala plays the role of Leke in the short film, The Messiah by Vela Manusaute.

    Iavana is a Kiwi born Samoan from Manurewa, with family connections from the villages of Lalomanu, Tuanai, Leulumoega and Faleasiu. He is the third eldest of 6 siblings and is very proud of his South Auckland and Samoan heritage.

    He’s been inspiring people for the last three years through his public speaking and MCing performances, not to mention being involved in the production of a short film, school dance competitions, 48hour challenge and the Vodafone Pacific Music Awards.

    Iavana's currently in Year 12 at Manurewa High School and is looking forward to the challenge of NCEA. He is an inspiring, motivated young man who has used the journey of his grandparents leaving Samoa to go to New Zealand and his parents' hard work to inspire him to succeed.

    We have our lead actor.