‘Mekeni’ makes history, tugs on heartstrings, saves a culture

The Outlook for Someday and Te & Kuya Collaborative (TKC) present MEKENI

AUCKLAND – ‘Mekeni’ is a ground-breaking short film presenting an authentic Filipino immigrant story and claiming screen history as Aotearoa’s first short film in Kapampangan-Filipino.

Kapampangan, an Austronesian language and one of the eight major languages in the Philippines, is a language and culture that is facing imminent extinction.

This drove writer and producer, Marianne Infante (Shortland Street, Pinay) to create ‘Mekeni’ to celebrate and preserve her culture.

‘Mekeni’ is a story about family, unconditional love, and grief. It was inspired by a conversation that Marianne had with her Ma that involved the confronting question: What would happen to Papa if Mama passed away before him?

“For me true love exists in the way my parents sing karaoke love songs and duets together every Sunday, how they spontaneously dance together in the living room, and how they rely on each other in their day-to-day routine and rituals as migrant parents in a country that is foreign to them,” says Infante.

What happens when this person, your person, is gone?
‘Mekeni’ traces Noel and Erica Santos, Papa and daughter, as they navigate coming together after the loss of Gerlinda, Mama and wife.

Starring Marianne Infante, Aaron Richardson, (Pop Up Globe, Only Cloud Knows) and newcomer Allan Murillo.

In the mission to preserve her culture, Marianne is joined by co-producer, Todd Waters (Take the Crown, The Watercooler), and director, Alyssa Medel (Three Dots, Pinay).

Marianne wrote ‘Mekeni’ to honour hard-working migrant parents who strive to provide their children with better futures despite all the difficulties they are forced to overcome; language barriers, cultural differences, and apathy from their offspring.

‘Mekeni’ showcases the strength and vulnerability a father and daughter need in order to overcome migrant barriers and welcome healing.

‘Mekeni’, featuring Asian-NZ creatives who are slowly and continuously finding ways to feel at home, is a vehicle for some of Aotearoa’s freshest and most ground-breaking filmmakers to hone their skills and be mentored through the filmmaking process.

Editor: Marianne Infante is a recent winner of the award for Outstanding Stage Performer at the Filipino-Kiwi Hero Awards (www.filipinoheroes.nz).