Films and documentaries
Welcome to Our Pacific Ways’ video blog, a selection of excellent documentaries that provide inspiration and support for the vision of using our Pacific ways to reclaim our future. There’s also links to trailers of films not available in full online. Enjoy and share! All short films and documentaries produced by OPWs are available on our Youtube channel.
Everyday in Papua New Guinea’s rugged eastern Highlands province, the nation’s biggest business success story is taking place. It is the story of women farmers.
In PNG, where up to 97% of land is owned by the people, land is life. And women are the backbone of the land. But they earn little government respect for the vital role they play, and support from men is lacking.
In 1994, Weiya Sindana left his small village Kasu – in Rai Coast, Papua New Guinea – and visited a distant island. He brought back some vanilla cuttings. Eighteen years later, Kasu is one of the largest producers of vanilla in PNG.
Weiya’s story is one of many of self-reliance in a community that says ‘Mi inap’ (‘I can’). Instead of waiting for the government, a foreign company or an NGO to come and ‘help’ them, Kasu has taken responsibility for its own development – and the results speak for themselves.
Papua New Guinea is often described as one of the world’s ‘least developed countries’. But the Kasu community tells a different story. Watch Mi Inap
Samap village in Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik province is like many other places in the country – isolated and without road access. It lies in a tiny secluded bay facing the Bismarck sea. The village houses stand on ancient rickety posts bearing withering sago thatch roofs. The community’s isolation masks a transformation that has been happening over the last three years. A transformation driven by a small group of businessmen on a path to becoming self-made millionaires. The people have taken control of their land and are becoming leaders in the Buai (betelnut, areca) trade. They’re making almost a million kina every year by trading with buai buyers from Papua New Guinea’s highlands. Watch film
Our Pacific Ways’ 18-min documentary about the community of Saussi in Papua New Guinea’s Ramu Valley. Visionary leader Aipapu Marai organised the Saussi who refused to allow oil palm on their land. Instead, they used their natural resources to become far freer and wealthier than communities that give up their land for ‘economic development’. ‘Em Graun Bilong Mipla’ represents a vision of a future where Pacific communities stop becoming slaves on their own land to foreign companies and extractive industries. A must-see documentary. Watch film
While the fruits of big-business development continue to pass them by, women throughout PNG are turning to their colourful traditional customs to support their communities. Last month, Our Pacific Ways recorded an inspiring ceremony where sacred customs blend with new beginnings. Watch our short film ‘Sisters in Development’ here.
PNG’s five National Goals — Integral Human Development; Equality & Participation; National Sovereignty & Self-Reliance; Natural Resources & Environment; and Papua New Guinean Ways. What do they stand for and what do they mean to you? 2.30min of PNG inspiration.
Rita Aroga is a Grade 8 student at Holy Spirit Primary School in Madang, Papua New Guinea. She is scared for her future, and the future of her own unborn children, as the government and landowners increasingly sell the land to make quick money. She urges Papua New Guineans to heed the wisdom of National Goal #4: for our natural resources and environment “to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone, and be replenished for the benefit of future generations”. Watch
‘Building a Nation’ comprises two short interviews with former PNG Constitutional Planning Committee member John Momis. Released in 2012, the films provide an inside view of how the founding document of independent PNG came to be, and its importance as a guiding influence on the nation today. Watch first film / Watch second film
The Pacific is a unique and diverse region, with 9 million people scattered over thousands of islands, a third of the globe’s surface, but only a tiny fraction of its land. This discussion film, released by the World Bank in August 2012, asks what does the future look like for the Pacific region? Will aid help or hinder development? What are the challenges for development? It features Vanuatu’s Ralph Reganvanu.
The Coconut Revolution is a 2001 multi-award winning documentary about how the people of Bougainville Island created the “world’s first successful eco-revolution” during a time of war. The documentary reveals how the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) fought for their freedom against the Papua New Guinea army by using coconut oil to fuel their vehicles. Watch film
‘Fool Me Once: The regional lessons from the impacts of Tonga’s WTO accession’ is a look through the eyes of Tongans what membership to the World Trade Organization has meant for them and their country. This 10min video documents how the promised benefits of WTO membership have failed to not only materialise but have increased hardship across the country. The film ends with a plea to other Pacific countries considering joining the WTO to learn from Tonga’s mistake and not be fooled by the promises that accompany membership. ‘Fool me Once’ was produced by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG). Watch film
Bikpela Bagarap (Big Damage) reveals the human face of logging in Papua New Guinea. A film by David Fedele released in 2011, it is a tale of exploitation and broken promises, where local people are treated as second-rate citizens in their own country by Malaysian logging companies and corrupt politicians. Read more, watch trailer or watch film
Released on the eve of the World Bank’s Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington DC, April 2012, these new short films reveal widespread violations of people’s rights and environmental destruction from land grabbing in Africa. Produced by La Via Campesina and Friends of the Earth International, this is a first-hand account of how privatisation of land, and corporate-friendly policies promoted by the World Bank lead to violent displacements, hunger and facilitate the global takeover of community land by private interests. Watch the Uganda film / Watch the Mali film
First screened in 2011, this short film investigates the case of indigenous ni-Vanuatu who are being robbed of their traditional rights to fish, hunt and live on their ancestral land. The ni-Vanuatu support the nation’s real economy – the people’s economy, based on using their land and natural resources to fuel Vanuatu’s Gross National Product (GNP). But the Australian government’s myth of ‘making Pacific land work’ is crushing that economy and a nation’s way of life. Watch film
The wisdom of PNG’s traditional past – and its hope for the future – was captured in 1974 by a group of visionary Papua New Guineans. These goals and directive principles offer a way forward for Pacific nations wondering where we lost our way. We haven’t – our ways are still here, and always will be, as the Constitutional Planning Committee knew. Watch film
The story of Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed’s heroic fight to save his country, the lowest-lying in the world, from climate change. A wake-up call that if we let the Maldives and Pacific island countries become extinct through climate change, we set a precedent for the rest of the world. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011. More info and trailer
What does it really mean for local communities when large-scale ‘development’ comes to their place? Does the promise of a better life come into being? Uprooted profiles four communities in PNG’s Madang province, whose way of life has been affected in various ways by a large Chinese nickel project. Watch film