Veteran New Zealand filmmaker Annie Goldson’s documentary about a fatal hate crime in Fiji won the Grand Prix at the 6th Pacific Documentary Film Festival (FIFO, Festival International du Film Océanien) in Tahiti.
An Island Calling (Murder in the Pacific) is a “post-colonial” story about the brutal double murder of a gay male couple, one of who was a human rights worker, in Fiji in mid-2001. The film explores the social, historical and political currents underlying the killing in post-coup Fiji.
Buy the DVD at Occasional Productions.
An Island Calling gets top award
Set in a rural Maori community in the Hokianga region of Northland in Aotearoa (New Zealand), The Strength of Water is the story of Maori twins Kimi and Melody, who are forced apart when a mysterious stranger arrives in their small town.
The film features Nancy Brunning (Crooked Earth, When Loves Comes) and a cast of locals. The project was developed at the Sundance and Binger workshops.
In a world where hundreds of indigenous languages are dead or facing extinction there is a bright, shining hope: Kohanga Reo, Maori “language nests”.
Veteran filmmaker Tainui Stephens documents the ground-breaking indigenous educational movement, and the woman behind it, in a feature documentary screening at ImageNative, the Toronto native arts festival.
Kohanga Reo is based on the simple but powerful principle of totally immersing pre-school children in native language and values. After 25 years, the program is recognized worldwide as a turning point for revival of Maori language and culture and an inspiration for language survival programs worldwide.
The model has been replicated successfully in other native communities, including Hawaiian Punana Leo.
Let My Whakapapa Speak
16 Oct 08, 1:00PM
Al Green Theatre
They are the two magic words in the story of how a struggling Maori language was pulled back from the brink of extinction: ‘kohanga reo’.
Mink was the first woman of color to serve in the US House of Representatives and co-authored Title IX, the landmark legislation that opened up higher education and athletics to American women.
Dubbed “Patsy Pink” for her unabashed liberal democratic views during the Vietnam War, she served in Congress for 24 years championing the rights of women, workers, immigrants and the poor.
Ahead of the Majority: The Life and Times of Patsy Mink traces the little-known story of the trailblazing dynamo who changed American politics forever.
World Premiere – Sun 12 Oct 7:00pm
Encore Screening – Sat 18 Oct 3:00pm
Regal Theatres Dole Cannery 18
Other Pacific films at HIFF:
Vincent Ward’s Rain of the Children
Marshall Islands’ first feature Morning Comes So Soon
Anne Keala Kelly’s Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i
Sima Urale’s short Coffee and Allah
Rick Bacigalupi’s doc on Jason Scott Lee’s sustainable Big Island farm Living Pono
Five Pacific films are featured in National Geographic’s All Roads Film Festival screening in Los Angeles and Washington DC during September and October 08:
Hawaikii – first dramatic short from Tainui/Te Arawa filmmaker Mike Jonathan about a young Maori girl’s first day at school
Guarding the Family Silver – Aotearoa’s Moana Maniapoto and Toby Mills (Moana & the Tribe) grapple with intellectual property issues in the global marketplace
Keao –short film about a young hula dancer’s struggle with commercialization of the dance, from first-time Hawaiian filmmaker Kaliko Spenser
Young, Gifted and Samoan – short doc featuring three Samoan youth creating music in San Francisco by Dionne Fonoti
Na ‘Ono o ka ‘Aina: Delicacies of the Land – in the lo’i (taro patch) with Hawaiian production team Joan & Puhipau of Na Maka o ka ‘Aina
Kiwi-Fijian director Toa Fraser’s second feature premiered at the Toronto Film Festival with a big cast, strong audience reception and generally positive reviews.
Fraser’s sophomore effort is located far from the South Pacific, where his first feature, No. 2 (released overseas as Naming Number Two), dealt with Pacific immigrants in contemporary urban Auckland.
Dean Spanley is a period piece based on the novel My Talks With Dean Spanley by Lord Dunsany. Set in Edwardian England, the film stars Jeremy Northam, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Peter O’Toole.
Paramount acquired Australian and NZ distribution rights.
Rave reviews for Fijian director’s second film
Kiwi-Fijian director Toa Fraser’s latest film ‘Dean Spanley’ has premiered to a standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival.
New Zealand director Toa Fraser’s Dean Spanley overcomes an uncertain and sketchy opening section to register as a moving and visually wondrous evocation of magic and imagination.
It’s simple and lollipop sweet, but it’s not an Oscar-caliber movie and it’s unlikely to survive the long knives of those sour critics who save up their bloodlust for flicks like this.
The new Pacific Islands Film Festival debuts in Honolulu with a collection of features, docs and shorts from Aotearoa, Australia, Majuro, Tuvalu, Samoa/Los Angeles and Hawaii.
The Marshall Islands’ first dramatic feature film has its international premier at the Honolulu Design Center on 12 July 08. Morning Comes So Soon features local folks in a teen love story dealing with racism and suicide.
The festival also screens two New Zealand features: Toa Fraser’s Naming No. 2, starring Ruby Dee as a Fijian matriarch, and Samoan Wedding featuring Aotearoa’s zany Naked Samoans comedy team.
Documentaries deal with Samoan gangs in urban America, tribalism in Papua New Guinea and Bougainville, effects of global warming on Tuvalu, Hawaiian culture and Polynesian DNA origins, plus biographical films about Samoan writer Albert Wendt and Maori musician/filmmaker Moana Maniapoto’s battle over the right to use her own name.
Keynote address is by the godmother of Pacific film Merata Mita (Patu, Mauri) of University of Hawaii’s Academy of Creative Media. Celebrity night features Pacific film icon Cliff Curtis (Once Were Warriors, Whale Rider).
The festival is produced by the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, California.
As Seen on Screen
Pacific Islands Film Festival brings big attention to little-known issues
Sima Urale’s first feature premiers at NZ International Film Festival
Apron Strings is a parallel story of two families from two cultures, Pakeha (New Zealand/European) and East Indian, set in suburban New Zealand.
Urale is best known for her acclaimed short films O Tamaiti, Still Life and Coffee & Allah, which screened at film festivals around the world.
The film explores the relationships between mothers and their fatherless sons, through the metaphor of food.
“Apron Strings isn’t simply a story about women,” says Urale. “It’s about their sons and the next generation; the changing face of New Zealand … and the age-old conflict between traditional and modern… which also reminds us we have more in common with each other across cultures than we think.”
Apron Strings stars British-Indian actress Laila Rouass (Footballers Wives) with Scott Wills (Perfect Creature, Stickmen), Jennifer Ludlum and Nathan Whittaker.
The film is produced by Rachel Gardner of Maxim Films and was written by Dianne Taylor and Shuchi Kothari. The cinematographer is Rewa Harre.
Hawai’i Surf Movie Premier
Shot at the 2005 Triple Crown over 55 days , Highwater follows the men and women wave warriors at Pipeline and Waimea. Hawai’i surfers include Kalani Chapman, Carissa Moore, Poncho Sulllivan, Sunny Garcia, Rochelle Ballard and wunderkind John John Florence, at 13 the youngest finalist ever in the premier big wave series.
Brown premiered his nearly finished film (missing final audio mix, color correction and credits, with narration recorded that morning) to an appreciative crowd under the stars in the Ford Amphitheater at Los Angeles Film Festival 22 May 08.
The Brown dynasty was out in force with pioneer filmmaker dad Bruce Brown (Endless Summer) and grandchildren, who crewed for son Dana on the film.
FIFO wants films
Festival Internationale du Film Documentaire Oceanien
6th Pacific International Documentary Film Festival
27 Jan – 1 Feb 09
Deadline: 1 Oct 08
Documentaries about the Pacific region, made during the past three years, are eligible. Films compete for cash prizes, including Jury Grand Prize and Audience Prize.
2008 winners are: Horo’a, by Jacques Navarro-Novira (French Polynesia); Sacred Ground by Kim Mavromatis, documenting a fight to save Aboriginal burial grounds (Australia): Ben Lewis’s Blowing Up Paradise about French nuclear testing in the Pacific (Britain); My Brother Vinnie, Steven McGregor’s portrait of actor Aaron Pedersen’s bond with his intellectually disabled brother (Australia); The Latest Australian Trackers by Eric Ellena (France); and Peta Carey’s Lifting of the Makutu, about a family grappling with a rare genetic disorder (New Zealand).
Pierre Ollivier, FIFO Director