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Pacific reels – Pasifika Film Festival @ NFSA

By Ariel Larkey 5 October 2018 0

Papua New Guinea’s ‘Orchids’ in Power Meri (2018).

In only its second year, and for the first time in Australia, a different kind of film festival pops into the capital this weekend as NFSA showcases work from our island neighbours with the Pasifika Film Festival 2018

Across four sessions this Saturday and Sunday, the National Film and Sound Archive will be screening recent highlights from the pacific nations, along with some additional shorts.

The screenings kick off with a collection of kid-friendly shorts entitled Niu Kids. The program includes Cook Islands-set A Boy From Rarotonga (2017); the locally-produced Samoan family-oriented Aiga (2017) which involved the University of Canberra; and award-winning NZ Maori piece Waiting (2017). More films to be confirmed. Saturday, 12:30 pm.

From Tonga, Leitis in Waiting (2018) is an unconventional documentary exploration of Tongan culture and tradition through the eyes and lives of our unexpected protagonists: an intrepid group of indigenous transgender women beset by intolerance and growing religious fundamentalism. Torn between fitting in with tradition and staying true to themselves, the Leitis conduct interviews even with royalty and leaders in the quest to be accepted.

The feature will be preceded by New Zealand short film Sunday Fun Day (2016), which also deals with belonging as a mother and daughter struggle to find their place in the world. Saturday, 4:00 pm.

Sunday’s screening of The Opposition (2016) shifts proceedings to Papua New Guinea. Audience Award nominee for Best Documentary at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival, this David and Goliath legal battle illustrates the plight of an indigenous community taking the fight to big business in a bid to escape eviction and save their community from hotel resort development.

The feature will screen with short Australia/PNG co-production Panguna (2017). Set in the midst of civil war, a woman is torn between her childhood and future. Her family is her driving force. Sunday, 2:00 pm.

Closing the festival is Power Meri (2018). Last weekend’s NRL Grand Final brought the 2018 Rugby League season to a close. This weekend, switch up the standard Sunday afternoon broadcast for a rousing documentary instead. Off the back of Papua New Guinea’s admirable showings in both the men’s and women’s 2017 Rugby League World Cup, discover the additional challenges the Orchids – PNG’s first national women’s rugby league team – have overcome to create history and reach their biggest stage yet.

Short film Salamasina’s Daughters (2017) will precede the feature. Set in South Auckland, film-maker Aruna Po Ching follows two Samoan female chiefs subverting established gender roles in the traditionally male-held positions of ‘tulafele’, or community orators. Sunday, 4:00 pm.

Tickets are $15/$10 for adults/concessions.

For more information or to book online, head here. You can also visit the Official Festival website.

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