As part of their ongoing partnership, Victoria Bitter and the National Rugby League have co-produced a heart-warming real-life story about Parramatta Eels footballer Maika Sivo and his dad, Joeli.
Maika Sivo, who came from humble beginnings in Fiji and only started playing rugby league for the first time four years ago, has now earned his place as one of this season’s top try-scorers and is hailed as a rising star in the NRL.
The short piece, entitled The Maika Sivo Story, is set in both the tiny Fijian village of Momi and Sydney. It centres around the fact that Joeli Sivo has never seen his son play in the flesh. Sivo senior has never left Fiji, and doesn’t have a passport.
Says Hugh Jellie, associate director, VB: “Just like Victoria Bitter, Maika Sivo and his family are hard-working and earnest. We knew this was a story that would resonate with all Australians, not just Rugby League fans.
“Maika left his country and has worked incredibly hard for a number of years to earn his place as an elite athlete in the NRL. Maika’s biggest supporter is his father and this really comes across in the film.”
Rhys Attard, NRL digital partnerships manager and Nicole Chesher, NRL senior marketing manager, echo these sentiments: “This really is a poignant father and son story.”
Adds Chesher: “There are so many positive stories within rugby league that don’t often get told. Like so many of our athletes, Maika epitomises the sort of every day hero that makes rugby league such a remarkable and diverse sport. The film is really a testament to who Maika and Joeli are. It is a privilege to tell their story.”
Film director and scriptwriter Nick Snelling, and director-of-photography Paul van Kan, joined the team to make the film.
The Maika Sivo Story have been distributed via the NRL and VB’s social channels.
Agency: National Rugby League
Creative Director, Director, Scriptwriter: Nick Snelling
DOP: Paul van Kan
Executive Producer: Nicole Chesher – Senior Marketing Manager, NRL
Sponsorship Manager: Rhys Attard – Digital Sponsorship Manager, NRL
Editors: Paul Van Kan & Nick Snelling
Sound Design: Matt Perrott at Uncanny Valley
Music Composer: Jonny Higgins
Colourist: Tim Wreyford
Additional Cameras: Chris Ras, Zoltan Jonas
Sound Capture: Daniel Miau
Voice-over: Maika Sivo, Joeli Sivo
Additional Voice-over: John Batchelor