Ursula Grace Williams Receives Inaugural Bright Sunday Emerging Pasifika Filmmaker Award | Pift Pacific Islanders in Film & TV

Ursula Grace Williams’ short documentary ‘The King’ receives the Inaugural Bright Sunday Emerging Pasifika Filmmaker Award Part­ Samoan filmmaker Ursula Grace Williams received the Inaugural Bright Sunday Emerging Filmmaker Award during a Grand Gala held recently at the Gaiety Theatre in Wairoa as part of the Wairoa Māori Film Festival.

Ursula’s short documentary The King is a poetic portrait of sweet­voiced Andy – a scrap metal merchant by day and performer at night. The 23­minute long documentary features Andy and his family and friends at his scrap metal yard in West Auckland and during his performances at the TSB Theatre in New Plymouth and Auckland’s Civic Theatre.

The award was sponsored by South Auckland based marketing communications agency Bright Sunday. Ursula will receive $5,000 in Marketing services from Bright Sunday as well as a $500 cash prize. She was also presented with a unique trophy designed by Natasha Keating at the Grand Gala.

“It was so unexpected,” said Ursula. “I hadn’t prepared anything so when I heard my full name being called out I was shocked. It was Samoan Language Week and I didn’t even say Fa’afetai. After it all sank in I thought about all the work and all those who helped me on the film.”

Ursula is a young mum of two children and completed the film as part of her Masters programme at AUT University where she now teaches. She says the recognition that the film is now receiving is hard to believe knowing all the adversity she was dealing with at the time of filming. She had just given birth to her youngest child three months prior and her family was experiencing financial hardship. Their financial situation is the reason she got to know Andy, the subject of her documentary, as she was selling scrap metal to help her family.

It was Ursula’s unique storytelling that captured the attention of Bright Sunday’s Chief of Enlightenment Stella Muller. “Ursula’s film was visually well framed, endearing and we liked the humour. She is definitely a Pacific filmmaker on the rise and we are excited to be join her on this journey.“

The King made its world premiere at the Wairoa Māori Film Festival. It screens twice this week at the Sydney International Film Festival and has been selected by Lee Tamahori (Director of Once Were Warriors) as one of six New Zealand’s Best short films at the New Zealand International Film Festival next month. Tamahori described The King as a “likeable documentary with a warm heart.”