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Leitis in Waiting - Canterbury Film Society

Leitis in Waiting - Canterbury Film Society

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  • Wed 10 Mar, 6:30pm – 7:50pm


Christchurch Art Gallery - Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Cnr Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St, Christchurch



Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

To Film Enthusiasts city-wide.

This screening is part of our dazzling six-film Queer Film Festival running during Pride Week in collaboration with Christchurch Heroes. This four-day mini-festival is open to the public, ie non-CFS members, with free entry to all Christchurch Art Gallery screenings (koha/donations always appreciated) on a first-to-arrive basis. Limited free (or one cent) tickets must be booked in advance to the Alice ( and Lumière ( cinema screenings (8pm 7 March and 4pm 9 March); small fee may apply.

This screening is director Hamer, Wilson and Wong-Kalu's ‘Leitis in Waiting’.

The film provides insight into the leiti community, Tongan society, the spread of American-funded missionary fundamentalism and the politics of resistance.

It has always been difficult to be different in a small community. Imagine, then, what it's like to be on the sharp end of prejudice in Tonga, which has a total population of just over 100,000 people. Go back a few hundred years, or even just a few decades, and Joey Mataele and her friends wouldn't have been seen as outsiders. Traditionally, trans women like them were accepted and had their own distinct role in Tongan society, but the arrival of evangelical Christianity has changed that, importing hostile attitudes and the violence that goes with them. This documentary, dedicated to a leiti who lost her life to that violence, looks at Joey's efforts to change people's thinking and to take care of other leitis in the meantime.

The film follows her as she arranges to hold a beauty pageant to give her fellow leitis more self-confidence and the chance to have some fun. We spend a lot of time with a young leiti whom Joey has been looking after since she was rejected by her family, and her simple ambitions and gradual progress into independence as an adult provide emotional context for the rest. The beauty queen contestants may not fit the skinny, hi-glam norms of Western pageants but the sheer joy with which they prepare for the events makes them many times more charming. But will it go ahead in the face of religious opposition? This uncertainty provides tension to keep the narrative moving. - Jennie Kermode, Eye for Film

A Tonga/USA production, 2018, 72 minutes.

The Canterbury Film Society meets every Monday night at 7:30pm in the 178-seat Phillip Carter Auditorium at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, with breaks for public holidays and the International Film Festival. We’ve made joining easy and there are membership prices to suit every pocket: choose one of our 12-month memberships or a Flexi-Pass that gives access to any three films of choice, may be shared amongst friends and has no expiry date. New members are warmly welcome and asked to come earlier than 7:30pm to speak to our membership team. (Downloading a membership form from our website and filling it in before you come is helpful.) Doors open at 7 pm for socialising and for sales of food ($2) and drink ($2–$5). Please assist us by bringing in no outside food or drink. Thank you! (For special screenings at other times, door open half an hour early.)

VENUE: During this time of changing COVID-19 levels please visit the CFS website prior to attending each screening to check for any special instructions relating to level two or higher.

For more information about our 2021 programme and membership options, or to request text or email reminders about our weekly or special events, go to our website – link above.

CFS brochures may be uplifted from the Christchurch Art Gallery, city libraries, WEA, Lumière and Alice Cinemas, and Addington Coffee Co-op.

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Kā mihi
Canterbury Film Society Team

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