If There Are No Doors in a Fale, Where Do We ‘Come Out’ Of? Supernova – A Screenplay and Exploration of the Intergenerational Space Shared (In)Between Queer Pasifika Family Members

Iosefo-Williams, Joshua Hio-Peaufa Jacob
Marbrook, Jim
Schoone, Adrian
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Master of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This research is a critical autoethnographic work that uses screenwriting to explore the intergenerational relationship and space between two Pasifika queer family members – myself and my late Aunty Ema (Fadi). Prompted by the title of my thesis if there are no doors in a fale (house), where do we ‘come out’ of? I have endeavoured to answer my main research question, what is the space shared intergenerationally between queer Pasifika family members? To answer this research question, this thesis is presented in two parts, the first is the screenplay and research artefact Supernova; and the second is this exegesis. Supernova is a critical autoethnographic screenwriting exploration. It is a feature film screenplay that fictionalizes the shared narrative between Aunty Fadi and I through the queer protagonists Eden and James as they search for belonging within the world as well as within their own family. The exegesis of this thesis has been written with the intention to provide critical commentary on Supernova drawing connections between ideas presented in the script, the theory and/or concepts used as well as my own reflections. It will analyse the screenwriting process using critical autoethnographic approaches such as queering autoethnography, collaborative autoethnography and performative autoethnography as a way to “embrace the power of surrendering to the creative unknown, in which terror can be rewarded with solidarity and social change” (Iosefo, Holman Jones & Harris, 2020, p. 1). Pacific/Pasifika (ref,1) concepts have also been identified as key sensemaking tools within this research such as the vā, waka, the fale, queer Pacific history and my family’s aiga ethics komiti. This research proposes the term vā fetū to describe the space between two stars as well as the space shared (in)between queer Pasifika family members. Through all parts of this research, I have discovered that the space shared intergenerationally between queer Pasifika family members transcends time, is a safe space of belonging and has the ability to transform families.

(ref,1) “The term Pasifika is an umbrella term used to categorise trans-culturally diverse peoples from the Pacific region who now live in New Zealand but continue to have family and cultural connections to Pacific Island nations … the term Pacific or Pacific peoples is an umbrella term that is used to categorise one of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, particularly used in reference to the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia” (Ministry of Education, 2018, p. 3)

Queer , Pasifika , Pacific , Screen , Critical Autoethnography , Screenwriting ,, Va Fetū
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