EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a nice first trailer for female empowerment pic Vai, which opens the Berlin Film Festival’s NATIVe strand next week before playing at SXSW.

The portmanteau film, written and directed by nine Pacific female filmmakers and filmed on seven Pacific islands follows the journey of empowerment through culture over the lifetime of one woman, Vai. The film is produced by Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton, whose well-received drama Waru played at Toronto and Palm Springs.

Vai, which means water in Maori, was shot in Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kuki Airani (Cook Islands), Samoa, Niue and Aotearoa (New Zealand). The character is played by a different indigenous actress in each of the Pacific countries.

Filmmakers are Ofa-Ki-Levuka Guttenbeil-Likiliki, Matasila Freshwater, Amberley Jo Aumua, Mīria George, Marina Alofagia McCartney, Dianna Fuemana, Becs Arahanga and Sharon Whippy (writer) and Nicole Whippy (writer-director).

The film was made with investment from Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions, the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ On Air and Department of Post. MPI Media Group is handling world sales at Berlin. Vendetta Films will release in New Zealand.