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Local Buena Vista filmmaker, juggler and magician Paprika Leaverton will screen her award-winning movie titled “Hiko in Tonga” at 7:00 p.m. on October 22 at A Church in Salida. Leaverton is a juggler and magician with Walkabout Productions and Salida Circus. She also produced, directed, wrote and co-edited this 62-minute film documentary about a vanishing culture of women jugglers in Tonga. The film has won three awards for Best Travel Documentary, Best Editing and Best Director.

Hiko Juggling is the through-line and opens the door to Paprika as she peers into the lives of the women in the unknown culture of Tonga. Paprika Leaverton took her passion for juggling and has spent almost a decade making the film ‘Hiko in Tonga’ a story that has never been told in film or print.  The film is now ready for local, international and online screenings. Leaverton’s goal with the film is to Keep Hiko Alive.


Hiko is a very unusual Polynesian Culture only for women and it is on the verge of disappearing forever. An unusual form of juggling, done by women, using tui tui nuts.  Not only is it a game, but it is also a sport, a competition and a cultural Polynesian dance. All are detailed in the film.

Leaverton plans on traveling to Tonga, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other locations to share the film and Hiko Parties.  The parties will demonstrate the juggling or hiko in the film and share the Tongan culture to Keep Hiko Alive.

Breck Film Fest premiered ‘Hiko in Tonga’ in 2019 just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Paprika persevered as all the film festivals shut down, and some went virtual.  She was honored with three awards, despite the worldwide pandemic shutdown. Editing assistance was provided by local Salida editor Claude DeMoss and Austin editor Simone Khan.