What’s up Power Nation! Every Sunday we hope to shine a light on an independent artist’s career in a feature we like to call Sunday Spotlight. For our first ever interview we are speaking to FlickerFest finalist and Cairns based director of Mau Power’s upcoming music videos S.F Tusa.

How did you get into your field?

Through uni. I was doing my Bachelors Degree in Education I did an assignment about Kill Bill and how its influences included anime, 70s Kung Fu movies and spaghetti westerns. I’m a big fan of spaghetti westerns. My lecturer called me up and said, “man, you should make movies”, and I said “do you really think so?” Before then I never thought about it, but after they said that and encouraged me I started thinking about it.

How did you start filmmaking?

Just went and did a couple of filmmaking courses and started paying attention when watching movies, and I started writing. Also made a bunch of experimental films just figuring out my style.

Was there a moment in your career when you became certain that this is what you want to pursue?

Yeah. When I made my first pretty successful short film, then I knew “aww yeah, I think I wanna do that”. It was called A Samoan Tale, and it was about a Samoan soldier that went to the Iraq war in a Hawaiian platoon. They [Samoa] ended up having the highest per capita death rate of all countries involved in the Iraq conflict. That was something I didn’t know, so I decided to make a film about it about ten years ago.

How long have you been working in Cairns?

For ten years I’ve been juggling four kids, working full-time and making films. Been offered work in Hollywood, Sydney, Brisbane, but we needed to look after the family and wanted to watch the kids grow up. So I stayed around here and did what I could and try to help out with the local industry. We got the talent, we just don’t have the money, that’s all.

What has it been like working with Mau Power?

Very inspirational, and very creative process. Very positive. He creates a really great vibe where people can pitch ideas, and he creates a really talented team network. I feel really blessed to work with him. Been fun working with all those guys. We really complement each other.

What was the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

Alita Battle Angel. I loved it. Very well written, a lotta movies these days aren’t well written. Good action, good love story. Good special effects. I’d recommend it.

What was the last live music act you saw and what did you think of it?

The Tegan Koster Project. Saw them at the tanks, they were sick. They’re good friends so I might be a bit biased.

How did it feel seeing Eternal on the big screen in Cairns?

It felt really good. Like we accomplished something. It was shown at six different festivals, including UK Film Festival, Sydney Flicker Fest, and Resonance Film Festival.

Did filming Eternal in Cairns provide any extra hurdles or pleasant surprises?

No there wasn’t any problems. Everyone did their job properly, mostly *laughs*. Eternal was made for $9,000 and what we provided was something that looked like it cost over $100,000.

Lastly, are you currently working on any upcoming projects?

Yes, I’m working on a comedy musical based in the local community. Probably be out by the end of the year. We got funding for the whole community to be involved.

Big thanks to S. F Tusa for sharing his story with us here on! To read more about his short film Eternal that is still playing at FlickerFest, please read our article here.

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