september, 2019

201927sep3:30 pmMy Friend Michael JonesIan Leaupepe, Samson Rambo | NZ | 2018 | Drama | 15 min | English, Samoan w. English subtitles | German Premiere3:30 pm Country:New ZealandGenre:DramaPremiere Status:German

Film Info

A high school misfit with severe OCD forms an unlikely bond with a popular classmate through a shared passion for music and dance. 

MJ is the ridicule of his high school peers. His obsessive-compulsive need to avoid cracks in the pavement and finger-tap doorframes before entering make him a target for relentless bullying. Chief among his tormentors is Selena. When MJ discovers a secret that threatens Selena’s standing within her devout Samoan family and popular school clique, the two teenagers form an unlikely bond through a shared passion for music and dance. When a series of events reveals Selena’s true persona to the entire school, MJ must try and overcome his own affliction to stand up for his new friend.

Part of the short film program “Kiwi Shorts – Take 1” on Friday, 27 September 2019, at 3:30pm. 


My Friend Michael Jones is a semi-autobiographical account of what it means to be a Samoan kid growing up in South Auckland and the negotiation of social and cultural frameworks inherent within that journey. Recent figures from UNICEF indicate that New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Pasifika communities are especially affected – and with our young people in crisis, the themes and issues represented in My Friend Michael Jones are very timely.

Cast: Villa Junior Lemanu, Luciane Buchanan, Jeremiah Tauamiti (Liliu)


Festivals & Awards

Wairoa Māori Film Festival – Indigenous Film Festival – Moana Best Pasifika Film

New Zealand International Film Festival – Audience Award & Wallace Friends of The Civic Award for special merit

Show Me Shorts Film Festival – Best NZ Film (Oscar Qualifier) & Best Actor & Best Screenplay

ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival – Moon Jury Prize

Flickerfest International Short Film Festival

Māoriland Film Festival – People’s Choice for Best Short Drama

Busan International Short Film Festival

Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival