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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Jan. 12) – Thirty-nine films about the Pacific region will be presented to public audiences during the 3rd Annual International Oceania Documentary Film Festival from Jan. 25-28 at the Papeete Cultural Center.

"When an event reaches its third edition, it is said that it becomes annual," said Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu, director of "la Maison de la Culture", or the Papeete Cultural Center.

Some 100 films were submitted for consideration for this year's festival, which is also known by its French acronym of FIFO. The seven members of a pre-selection committee required nearly four months to view each of the films.

Pierre Ollivier, the festival's general delegate, and Michel Kops, regional manager of the French State owned and operated television radio station RFO-Polynésie, emphasized the importance of this event when presenting this year's schedule of films.

There are more English language films this year. There also will be several debates and training sessions with filmmaking professionals.

One of this year's films will be the 52-minute documentary "Le septième ciel des requins gris" (The Gray Sharks' Seventh Heaven), which Cyril Tricot mainly filmed at the Tuamotu atoll of Rangiroa, 322 km (200 miles) north of Papeete. Tricot required three years to make the documentary, using means worthy of a full-length film.

The finished product presents exceptional images, some of them never before filmed, such as a sequence of gray sharks coupling, a world first and an unprecedented document for the scientific community, the production team said in a communiqué.

Tricot's film will be aired on Jan. 8 on the public French television network France 3 in France at 6 p.m.

The gray shark documentary won a bronze prize last October at the World Festival of Underwater Images held at Antibes, competing against 160 international productions from 50 countries submitted by such big-name producers as the BBC and National Geographic.

Tahiti Tourisme, which promotes Tahiti and Her Islands overseas, contributed to the production of Tricot's documentary by furnishing local inter-island airline tickets for his 11-person crew. They spent three weeks in French Polynesia between June and July 2004 filming the famous fish- and shark-filled Tiputa pass through Rangiroa's coral reef.

The documentary is also a plea for the protection of sharks and for adding the Tiputa pass to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO's) list of World Heritage Properties.

The Papeete Cultural Center along the far southern end of Papeete's waterfront just before the start of the island's one and only freeway will be converted into a film festival village for the public. FIFO films will be shown in three different halls.

There will be no passes for the public. Instead, there will be tickets for the day, which will cost 1,000 French Pacific francs [US$10] each.

The budget for this year's festival is some 20 million French Pacific francs [US$211,200]. The French State and French Polynesia's government are each covering a third of the cost, with the remaining third coming from private donations.

Like last year, Hervé Bourges, the former CEO of the private French television network TF1, is chairman of the film festival jury.

Last year's 2nd Annual International Oceania Documentary Film Festival, which presented 37 films, had 16,000 entries, which translated into some 5,000 people who watched the films. The 16,000 entries were nearly triple the number in the festival's first year in 2004.

The jury's Grand Prix went to one of 20 films in competition, "Devenir un homme en Mélanésie" (Reaching Manhood in Melanesia), which was directed by Jérôme Ségur and produced by Plan Large Productions. The jury's Public Prize went to one of 17 films not in competition, "La Force de Popo: histoire simple d'homme" (Popo's Strength: Simple History of Man), which was directed by Gérard de Broca, a television cameraman for the French State's RFO Polynésie.

The prize for the best historic documentary was won by "Le bataillon des guitaristes" (Guitarists' Battalion), a 70-minute film directed by Eric Beauducel and produced by Arc en ciel Production. The FIFO 2005 prize for best contemporary documentary was won by "Tanim", a 50-minute film directed by James Frankham and produced by Faraway Pictures.

January 16, 2006

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf/

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