Pacific Islands Films Shown Recently In Honolulu

Pacific Islands Films Shown Recently In Honolulu

By Caroline Yacoe

Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) following its mandate of increasing awareness and appreciation of Asia and the Pacific included several island films in their Spring schedule.

Papua New Guinea: The Opposition, Australia/Canada, Director: Hollie Fifer

This film documents attempts to remove local people who had settled peacefully and successfully in the Paga Hill indigenous community of Papua New Guinea to make room for commercial development.  The collusion of the government with business interests gave impetus to this action which resulted in the dispersal of families and people who had made it a tenable home for years.

Cook Islands: Gary of the Pacific, New Zealand, Director: Jarod Holt, Ryan Hutchings, Nigel Mcculoch takes a light hearted and humorous look at serious issues common to Pacific Islanders. The trails and tribulations of local residents returning home, who are no longer in touch with custom and the increasing pressure of migration due to rising seas from global warming and climate change, While this crudely humorous treatment of major issues facing Pacific Islanders will surely offend some, at least it gives visibility to serious problems in a provocative way.

HIFFs”s closing film Chasing Coral, United States, Director Jeff Orlowski lays to rest any question about global warming and it’s disastrous effects on coral reefs. – home to a major ecosystem world wide.  The dramatic time-lapse shots of dying coral and the consequences for the fish and mankind dramatically evoke the demise of this major ecosystem. Giving this film a special impact is the personal involvement and caring of the researches whose dedication to saving the reefs is inspiring.  Chasing Coral hopefully will be a major call to action for the political and economic powers that have means of mitigating this international disaster.

Another Honolulu venue for films about the Pacific Islands is the small but special  “Movie Museum” in Kaimuki. Dwaine, Owner/Director often provides showings of non-mainstream films relevant to the Pacific. This time giving audiences another opportunity to see Tanna shot on Vanuatu’s outer island with an active volcano and love story. In 2016 Tanna was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category.

In a different but related venue is the YOU TUBE presentation of Kanu Belong Karem Director: Daniel von Rudiget.  This is a low-keyed beautifully shot documentation of a group of Papua New Guinea’s Kamem villagers working in a forest to build a canoe. Using mainly simple tools- adzes and axes  -but with a lot of effort, spirit and cooperation, they show others how it is done and so help keep alive and pass on another traditional skill.

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Excellent films dealing with the island culture and challenges. Tanna is a wonderfully done film.

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