PACIFIC WOMEN PRODUCERS ATTEND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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SECRETARIAT OF THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY (SPC) Noumea, New Caledonia Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS RELEASE May 18, 2000

Five Pacific Islands documentaries made by Pacific women have broken new ground this week at the INPUT 2000 International Film Festival in Halifax, Canada. It's the first time in its 22-year history that the festival has screened a series of Pacific Islands programs.

INPUT, also known as International Public Television, is the only international festival for content and programming from public broadcasters.

Hundreds of submissions from more than 50 member countries are screened every year by an international jury, who select up to 100 programs to be shown during the five-day festival. This year the festival theme is "Television on the Edge."

The programs were all made as part of the 1999 Pacific Women TV Producers Documentary Exchange (PWTPE) project, which trains Pacific Islands women television producers in documentary production.

Nauna Paongo from Tonga, Faiesea Matafeo from Samoa, and Jennifer Kausei from Vanuatu are all attending the festival and will screen and discuss their work. Documentaries from Cook Islander Lisa Williams and Sincha Dimara of Papua New Guinea will also screen. Paongo, Matafeo and Kausei will be exposed to screenings, debate and critique among other producers, directors, journalists, filmmakers and program directors from across the world.

The five women's documentaries screening are Nauna Paongo's 'Breaking The Silence,' about domestic violence in Tonga; Jennifer Kausei's 'We Can Do It,’ about women in non-traditional jobs in Vanuatu; Faiesea Matafeo's 'Navigating This World Of Change,' about young people struggling to find their voice in a changing world; Lisa Williams', 'Mirror, Mirror,' about beauty and body image in the Cook Islands, and Sincha Dimara's, 'Plastic Panic' about the environmental problems of plastics in PNG.

Also attending the festival to screen a documentary on independence for Tuvalu is SPC/Regional Media Center team leader Conrad Mill. UNESCO, through the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC) donor funding made up of contributions from Denmark, Germany, Finland, Japan and other developed countries, initiated the Exchange project. AusAID provided funding in 1996,1997 and 1999 and this year Britain, through its International Development Fund (DFID), has provided support for a focus on good governance issues in the region.

The SPC Pacific Women's Resource Bureau (PWRB) has set up an e-mail network for the PWTPE group, which is administered by Lisa Williams, who is now Communications Officer there.

The TV Producers Documentary Exchange project began in 1992 and has led to a new growth of Pacific women who are independent or freelance producers.

Williams has been an active participant in the PWTPE workshops since they began in 1992 and in recent years has been counterpart trainer alongside workshop leader Margot Nash, an Australian filmmaker and lecturer in screenwriting at the University of Technology Sydney.

Contact: Margot Nash Sydney NSW 2034, Australia Tel 61-2-96655372 Fax 61-2-96655372 Email asif@netspace.net.au 

Lisa Leilani Williams Communications Officer SPC/PWRB  LisaW@spc.int  

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