10 November, 2006

Melanesian Documentary Film Festival Program

The Melanesia Documentary Film Festival will be held from Monday, 13 November to Thursday, 16 November 2006. It will feature high quality documentaries that focus on social and political issues that are in someway connected and relevant to countries within the Melanesian region. Please refer to the program below :
  • Monday, 13 November 2006, 6.30pm ‘In the Name of Growth’ (Fiji), Directed by Dr. Atu-Emberson-Bain and Michael Preston, 53min, 2001. Nominated for 2001 21st Hawai’I International Film Festival. The film portrays the life of Fiji tuna cannery workers (who get poor wages and working conditions), and shows the human costs of a growth-driven economic model for workers in Levuka's Pacific Fishing Company (PAFCO) on the island of Ovalau. It highlights the clash between World Bank-style, growth-driven development and the traditional values of a needs-based subsistence economy. It also exposes the reality behind the rhetoric of indigenous rights. As the economic tide turns against the cannery, the screws tighten on the factory floor. The women struggle to support their dependent husbands and families, to manage their competing roles as mothers and workers, and to meet the unrelenting demands of culture and religion.
  • Monday, 13 November 2006, 7.30pm ‘Since the Company Came’ (Solomon Islands), Directed & Produced by Russell Hawkins, Edited by Gary Kildea, 52min, 2000. The story of a community’s struggle to come to terms with the social, cultural and ecological disruption that threatens to fragment Solomon Islands. Set on the remote island of Rendova, the film focuses on dispute and division caused by the Haporai tribe’s latest development activity: a logging operation.
  • Monday, 13 November 2006, 9pm ‘The Spirits of Koniambo’ (New Caledonia), Directed & Produced by Jean-Louis Comolli, 90min, 2004. The modern history of New Caledonia, its colonisation, revolutions and its path toward independence are viewed in the light of the notes and recordings of Antoine Goromido, an aged Kanak wise man and assistant to the anthropologist Alban Bensa who worked in the area for 30 years. Antoine died three years ago but his son and the anthropologist set out to discover through his documentation and political commitment how Antoine succeeded in having holy places kept sacred and managed to keep his clan alive and respected, even by the Canadian multinational Falconbridge that exploits the mineral resources of that land.
  • Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 6.30pm ‘A Race for Rights’ (Fiji), Directed and Produced by Larry Thomas, 53min, 2001. ‘A Race for Rights’ documents the May 2000 Fiji coup with news coverage and interviews of ordinary people with many different viewpoints from all walks of life. Important in Thomas’s film are the inclusion on multiplicity of voices and the opportunity he gives his subjects to reflect on the meaning these events have for their lives and the future of Fiji.
  • Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 7.30pm ‘Tanim’ (PNG), Directed by James Franckam, produced by Faraway Pictures, 50 min, 2002. 2005 Oceania International Film Festival Contemporary Film Prize. ‘Tanim’ is the exceptional story of the changes that have disturbed the life of the Papua natives. This film follows Enga's reigning tribe, the Apulins, struggling to find an equilibrium between traditional beliefs and an election system foreign to them. Tanim explores one of humanity's most ancient forms of social organization having to face social and political evolution. This transition is not without conflicts, sometimes bloody ones.
  • Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 9pm ‘Grassroots, those who vote’ (Vanuatu), Directed by Eric Wittersheim, produced by EHESS, 86 min, 2003. 2004 Oceania International Film Festival Jury Special Prize. The camera follows the 2000 election campaign in Vanuatu. Small and new parties speak. Through their words, appears the bitterness of broken promises. They have been cheated by the present government officials: they had been promised, land, houses and work, but nothing or so little has been done! Those who have to live under difficult conditions are too many. They must then return to old customs, to tradition, to seek support from them. This is also what the parties in power want to do while leaning toward a modernity that is difficult to achieve. Speeches, prayers, singing and all sorts of demonstrations accompany this campaign.
  • Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 6.30pm ‘The Maden Family’s Papua’, Directed by Séverin Blanchet, Produced by la Huit Productions, 52min, 2003. One family, the Madens, takes a look at today’s Papua through its memories. The father was a sorcerer and the mother a fervent Catholic. The children are village people, teacher, filmmaker etc. Their memories draw a portrait of contemporary PNG through three generations, successively confronted to the White Man’s world, then to their country’s independence. An independence that raised many hopes and guided many choices of lives. Where are these hopes today, while the country is undergoing in-depth transformation?
  • Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 7.30pm ‘Crater Mountain Story’, Directed and Produced by Martin Maden, 62min, 2006. ;
  • Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 9.pm ‘Koriam's Law, and the Dead Who Govern’, Directed by Gary Kildea, co-produced by the ANU RSPAS Film Unit, Canberra, and Arcadia Pictures, 110 minutes, 2005. 9th International Festival of Ethnographic Film, Oxford, Royal Anthropology Institute Film Prize 2005. In ‘Koriam's Law’, Australian anthropologist Andrew Lattas meets his match in philosopher-informant Peter Avarea of Matong village, Pomio, Papua New Guinea. Motivated by their lively dialogues, the film sets out to place that most misconstrued of cultural phenomena - the ‘cargo-cult’ - in a universal light. The Pomio Kivung Movement was founded in 1964 by a local leader called Koriam. In the face of official condemnation, its political and religious philosophy sought to uncover that path to a perfect existence which the colonising whites seemed to have found and selfishly monopolised. Koriam's Law concerns itself with the contemporary works and understandings of the Pomio Kivung. The movement's leaders are keen to show that it has nothing to do with 'waiting for cargo'. Rather, its mission is to prepare the way for the devoutly wished 'change' and, at the same time, to organise for a better society in the here and now.
  • Program for Thursday, 16 November 2006, to be provided later.

No fees required for entry.

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