Director: Shannon Robinson | 20 min | 2019 | Tonga, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji
Special Education Needs students in Tonga are often shunned, but one man is making an effort to make his students feel valued, with ping pong.
‘Ofeina’o Lesieli is a documentary short film set in the capital city of Nuku’alofa in the Kingdom of Tonga. This idyllic, tropical country is often coined ‘The Friendly Islands’ due to the hospitality and charm of its residents. Here we spend a day in the life of Lesieli, a bright and loveable young Tongan woman living with Down Syndrome.
After having discovered a passion for table tennis, Lesieli’s life changes in new and exciting ways. Lesieli’s committed mother Alisi and her caring table tennis coach Simote both play essential roles in Lesieli’s world. Things begin to get complicated though when Alisi reveals his first-hand experience with the locals’ belief in magic and how this notion negatively impacts people living with disabilities, both in Tongan society and other Pacific Islands.
WORLD SHORTS presented by Chorus and supported by Shift72.