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Presse 2010

Festival at the end of the world

As I write we are lying back on loungers in front of our classic beach bungalow ; lapping ocean, white sandy beach, coconut palms. We are at the Anûû-rû âboro film festival in the Kanak region of New Caledonia. The only festival where there is no film industry, no producers, no business at all to speak off and not even a movie theatre. In fact no resemblance to any other film festival at all.

Festival at the end of the worldExcept the organisers have programmed some of the best, the most challenging, award winning and relevant documentaries screening in the world today. And invited all the filmmakers for 10 days. So here we are – documentarians from Russia, France, Burkina-Faso, China, Spain, Papua New Guinea, Columbia, Australia, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Egypt and Aotearoa sequestered in a resort at the end of the world. Many have travelled 50 hours or more to Noumea, only to be driven another six over a torturous mountain pass to reach the classic beachfront resort of glossy tourist brochures.
But the resort accommodation is just the icing. We are all here to present our films in communal open-air meetinghouses in local villages. And talk about their themes, about the big issues of the world told through the often-small stories of local heroes.
At the opening ceremony in the Tribu de Napwe Wiimia village the President of this region gave an impassioned speech worthy of Martin Luther King. He articulated for us the local struggle for independence and connected it to struggles for sovereignty all over the world. He spoke eloquently about disenfranchisement and free trade, about corporate control of resources and colonialism in this very colonialised nation.
He took us as filmmakers beyond our ego to the role and function of documentary in society and welcomed us into the world of the Kanak people.
The vision to stage a documentary film festival here, to bring people from all over the world to screen their award winning films for an audience of local villagers is a remarkable feat of inspiration and profound vision. We are reminded why we make films and we are honoured to be here.

Posted by SumnerBurstyn