15 Aug Telesa Movie Option Update

For those who have been waiting and hoping that a Telesa movie would happen sooner rather than later – some bad news.

I did not sign the contract offered by Multinesia, the company that wanted to option Telesa for film. Yes, they were awarded development funding by the NZ Film Commission and that vote of confidence from some of the best in the NZ film industry was exciting to see. But the terms of the deal offered meant that I would have had NO input whatsoever in how my book got adapted for film. I couldn’t accept that.

I have worked too hard and for too long on my Telesa Series – to then give it up completely to someone else to take it to the big screen. I may not know anything about film-making, but I owe it to myself, to my characters and to you my amazing supportive readers – to at least ensure that if Telesa ever goes to film (or television) that I will be able to participate in that process in some small yet meaningful way. How else will we make sure that Daniel Tahi is as dalashiously honorable on screen as he is in the books? Or that Nafanua and her sisters are as bada** and conflicted in action as they are on the page? There were other things in the contract offer that were also a factor but overwhelmingly and regretfully, I had to turn it down.

This was not an easy decision to make. I got legal counsel from myย lawyer. I talked it over with Darren. And I was fortunate to be able to get great advice from experienced legends in the field like Witi Ihimaera and my dear friend Erika (E.L James). From all accounts, the film industry is a cutthroat one and I’m thankful for those who have been generous with their time and sharing their insight.

A very big Fa’afetai lava to Multinesia and producer Karin Williams for the option offer. It was humbling (and a huge thrill!) to have a producer as experienced and committed as Karin, fall in love with Telesa and believe in it enough to want to option it. We couldn’t come to an agreement but I have the utmost respect for Karin and I look forward to seeing more of her fabulous work on screen and on stage.

As for Telesa – I’m confident it will one day find the right producer and the right investors. Until then, please keep sharing the books and giving them your continued amazing support. I’m going to keep writing and I hope to have the next book in the Telesa Series out by December.

Fa’afetai tele lava and thank you,


  • Meni

    Lani: I love the TELESA Series and was and still am looking forward for it to come on the Big Screen, but like you said…You have worked so hard on your books, and that’s disappointing that you wouldn’t have any saying in it if it was to be on the Big Screen. You made the right decision…and I know that us as your readers totally understand and support your decision. The time will come when Telesa will make it on the Big Screen, and when it does….it’s because you had a saying in it. In our day’s, the Book Series would be so good, but when they make a movie out of it, it’s so disappointing..SO, you do what is right and as one of your readers, I’m proud of you for following your heart. Please keep writing…You’re Awesome. Lots of Alofas : )

    August 19, 2015 at 12:21 pm
  • Laureen

    How could you not have a say it’s your work. You made the right choice Lani and you were very professional about it. Inspirational to us all. Laureen

    August 19, 2015 at 1:05 pm
  • Dana

    You made the right choice. I, personally, would not want to watch something that you did not have a say in. You are the only one who would be able to bring your characters to life and do them justice. I am looking forward to your next book in the Telesa series….and your Scarlet series ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€

    August 19, 2015 at 1:41 pm
  • Dee

    Dang, so gutted!

    But so happy that you are staying true to your work!

    You know what that means. Just gives me more time to work out and get myself in optimal condition to audition for parts lol. Bottoms (of ice cream tubs and choc wrappers) up!

    Go you!

    August 19, 2015 at 1:51 pm
  • Sheena

    Thanks Lani for what you do. Thanks for considering us as readers in your decision making. I feel the choice you made was very honourable. As much as I like movies, I think I would have been devastated more if the characters had been portrayed any differently from the books. I truly think an author’s input would have been pivotal in this whole process. I’m sad that they did not recognise that. However it just means another great opportunity will present it self. For now the books are still amazing and I will keep reading and sharing your books with everyone. Meitaki Maata. ๐Ÿ™‚

    August 19, 2015 at 2:00 pm
  • Von Morley

    Even though I’m older than you, someday when I grow up I want to be you

    August 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm
  • Von Morley

    Even though I’m older than you, someday when I grow up I want to be you

    August 19, 2015 at 2:45 pm
  • Von Morley

    This idiot thing cut off most of my comments! Anyway. Brave decision!

    August 19, 2015 at 2:48 pm
  • Pamela Tafua

    Great decision Lani. Follow your heart, it knows best. Looking forward to the next book.

    August 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm
  • Elisapeta Esekielu

    Yes Lani, I myself would have done the same thing but there’s always next time. Can’t for more of your books.

    August 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm
  • Elisapeta Esekielu

    I mean can’t wait for more of your books. heheh my bad.

    August 19, 2015 at 4:33 pm
  • You’ve done the right thing by us, your fans and characters. It’ll happen – I truly believe that. How could it not? I don’t think I’ve ever loved a series as much as I love this one. Good luck, hun.

    August 19, 2015 at 6:49 pm
  • dee

    Lani you made the right decision. I t wouldn’t have been easy but you did what you thought was best good for you!!


    August 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm
  • ShaLigi

    Good choice! They can’t make Telesa without the person who’s passion brought it to life! Happy for you in standing up for yourself. Much alofas and hope one day the right people will help you bring Telesa to life on the big screen.

    August 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm
  • Dave

    You did the right thing. As Orson Scott Card says (I’m paraphrasing and probably leaving out important stuff), if you don’t have creative control, the movie “machine” will turn your beautiful book into something ghastly. Don’t let that happen. Hold out for the best deal, you’ll get it!

    August 20, 2015 at 6:22 am
  • Laura

    I just recently starts following your blog & was surprise & happy to see that see that movie/tv was an option. When I stats the ready the series that was the 1st thing I thought; this would make a great movie! I’m sad to see that the option is off the table for now but like everyone else I am happy that tou stood your ground. You absolutely need to have some say in it, especially in choosing characters! Thank you for standing your ground & for thinking of your fans.
    BTW when is the next Scarlett series book expected?

    August 23, 2015 at 1:13 am
  • Florence

    Good on you. You made the right choice. You brought the book alive, I’d hate to have someone else ruin it all. The movie gas to be better than the book and only one person can make that happen. You. One day. Still waiting. It will happen ๐Ÿ™‚

    August 24, 2015 at 11:22 pm
  • daniel

    awesome to watch your journey through the maze of the “cut throat” world of literacy. I have learned alot from u. thank you.

    August 26, 2015 at 5:26 am
  • Yes, you definitely need some advisory input. When the right film company to produce it appear, you will know.

    September 7, 2015 at 7:54 pm
  • Elena

    you made the right decision but whats so ever I hope one day I can be the producer making it live on the big screen…..But its all you lani its your hard progress that got you into an amazing author, I’ve realised that I have actually felt in love with all the TELESA SERIES eversince I read im ‘DANIEL TAHI’ LOVE IT LANI…..I think all the information you know about TELESA is part of whats alive today, tomorrow and then and forever, telesa’s are original and real people not exactly humans but anyways keep that life possible because one day I might be like you btw great decision…xx

    March 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

Post a Comment