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Directed by Dean Hamer & Joe Wilson
72 min | 2018 | USA/Tonga | Not Rated
Presented in English and Tongan with English subtitles
Leitis in Waiting is the story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and intolerance in their South Pacific Kingdom. The film follows Joey, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, provides shelter and training for a young contestant rejected by her family, and spars with American-financed evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize the leitis’ lives. With unexpected humor and extraordinary access to the Kingdom’s royals and religious leaders, Joey’s emotional journey reveals what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking who you are.
Official Selection: 2017 Frameline Film Festival, 2018 Festival International Du Film Documentaire Oceanien, 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival