PCC videographer produces award-winning film

TALA, the award-winning film by PCC musician and videographer Milton Kaka

PCC musician and videographer produces award-winning film

A large crowd in the Polynesian Cultural Center’s Hawaiian Journey Theater on the night of January 2, 2024, joined the hundreds of people in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Utah who have already seen Tala, the new 50-minute movie produced by PCC musician and videographer Milton Kaka. The faith-based film has already garnered over a dozen awards.

Using locations at the Cultural Center and areas surrounding Laie, the storyline portrays touching incidents surrounding the death of TALAiga Moni Gago, the infant sister of Kaka’s wife, Jyneen Gago Kaka, over 60 years ago in Samoa. 

Previous screenings took place in October 2023 during the PCC’s 60th anniversary celebration, later at the Hamilton New Zealand Temple Visitors’ Center, and in a rented theater in Orem, Utah.

Back story: Jyneen explained that in the early 1950s her father had been a labor missionary living with his wife and several young children in Western Samoa (since renamed Samoa in 1999). “Tala was the third oldest in our family, and she died very young, probably just three or four months old.”

“Some people and villages in Samoa in those days really disapproved of the Mormon religion. So, the video tells the story what happened to my mother and my sister.”

Kaka added that he worked with Jyneen’s older sister, who was a young girl at the time of the pivotal incident but she has since passed away, to put the script together that “shows the struggles their mom went through when the baby died.

Essentially, Kaka said, a mob looking for the father “took the baby during a heavy storm” and about a month later the baby died of exposure. “Years later the leader of the mob ended up joining the Church.” In addition to “shoorting” the story, Kaka also wrote some of the music for the production.

Awards — so far — include: Official selection, Silicon Valley Asian Pacific Filmfest 2023; Best Foreign Film, Best Feature Film, Best Writer, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Villian, Best Actor Supporting, and Best Song, Christian Film Festival October 2023; and the Inspirational Feature Silver Award 2023, Christian Family Film Festival.

The creators and cast include:

Milton Kakadirector, producer, director of photography, videographer, co-casting director, co-music director
Lehi Falepapalangico-director, co-casting director, and screenplay
Kamerya Hanohanoco-director
Peter and Pika Hanohanolighting
Boyd LauanoJaneen Moanamamao Kaka and Alex Galea‘icultural specialists
Adele WiRepaco-music director
Eseneiaso Gagooriginal story
Mele ToliPūao Gago
Pelekina-i-vaito AuaeaLēava Gago
Amera Hanohanoyoung Ese Gago
Killian HanohanoHelaman (Mana) Gago
Roman Keoni Kepano CrowellBaby Tala Gago
Boyd LauanoTavita, mob #1
Esera TavaiMālosi, mob #2
Jeffery Joseph Lee-LoFētū, mob #3
Amella Penasister missionary #1
Mileen Kakasister missionary #2
Jeremy Hawkinspālagi man
Sam Moedoctor
Jovelana Mutinurse
Alesha Galea’iteenage Ese Gago
Peter Hanohanomissionary Elder#1
Russell Sātelemissionary Elder#2
Chris TuliloaChurch member #1
Serena TuliloaChurch member #2
Lauta’amutafea TuliloaChurch member #3
C J TuliloaChurch member #4
Manasseh TuliloaChurch member #5
Justyn KakaChurch member #6
Kamerya HanohanoChurch member #7
Ellen Gay Dela Rosaold Samoan lady
Keleise ReidSamoan lady #1
Titi Vimahi Ha’oSamoan lady #2
Pewa Dela RosaSamoan man #1
Abraham ManutaiSamoan man #2
Alex Galea’ivillager #1
Shannon Galea’i: villager #2
Chesser Cowanvillager #3
Quest Avavillager #4
Chandae AvaVillager #5
Aaliyah Avavillager #6
Tavita Tualayoung Lēava Gago
Erying Mapuyoung boy #1
John Manumaleuna: young boy #2
Iraia Manumaleunayoung boy #3
Legend Toiloloteenage Mana Gago
Tyrus Toilolo: young Samson Gago
Liv Toiloloyoung Thelma Gago
Tama’hawk Toiloloyoung Suaesi Gago
Eiva Toiloloyoung Janeen Gago
Kaleel SpoonerTavita’s wife
Alohimakanui LauanoTavita’s child #1
Aukahi LauanoTavita’s child #2
Ali’io’āiga LauanoTavita’s child #3
Kamerya Hanohanowoman at baptism #1
Shannon Galea’i: woman at baptism #2
Alex Galea’i: man at baptism
Pika Hanohano: male child at baptism
Kawena Murraysister missionary #3

Special thanks:

Adele Wi Repa                             Sone and Nina Mapu
Polynesian Cultural Center       Ron Fiaui
Delsa Atoa Moe                           Chris and Serena Tuliloa
Kyla Greening                              Ben and Nina Fuimaono
Josh Tatofi                                   Keleise Reid
Moana Feinga                             Tania Mahoni
Kathleen Lasi Cowan                 Roman Greening
Galea’i Samoan Choir                 Brandon Sparks and crew
Ilene Ah Ping Ingley                    Eric Peterson
Norris Alaiasā                               Kale Chang @ Auwa’a Studios
Daniel Henderson                       Jewel To’o
Tipa Galea’i                                  Travis Kaka
David Galea’i                                Catherine Teriipaia
Roy Hamada                                 Rob Tu’ufuli
Meagan and Roman Crowell    Pewa Dela Rosa
Vili and Penny Toilolo                 Alamoti Taumoepeau
Sai Naivalu Api Tora  

FOLLOW-UP: Kaka is screening Tala at the Zion Indie Film Festival — formerly known as the LDS Film Festival — in Utah on Saturday, March 2, 2024.  After that, he plans to do “one last festival in May, and then Tala should be done with its festivals.”