Since its inception in 2004, the International Festival of Documentary Films of Oceania has set aside one week during the beginning of February to showcase documentary films about Oceania. The festival provides a journey into the cultures and current events of this vast region of the world. This adventure continues throughout the year with the FIFO Hors des Murs (Beyond the Walls) series as well as a selection of documentaries shown on our flights via the FIFO-TV channel.
The International Festival of Documentary Films of Oceania (FIFO) is held in Papeete every year. It is a major event on the French Polynesian cultural calendar that provides an opportunity for rich exchanges with several countries throughout the Pacific. With screenings of films from different regions connected through their membership within the Oceanic community, the festival is an opportunity to highlight multiple aspects of the lives and environment of the people who live throughout the Pacific.
Since 2004, this event has attracted an ever-increasing Tahitian audience to watch dozens of available films (now at almost 25,000 attendees).
In 2016, almost 160 documentaries from French Polynesia, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands were part of the festival. A committee had the difficult task of choosing about 40 films for the “Official Selection” category as well as entries for “Out of Competition.” An “Off” category made up of short films opened the festival. Notably, there was also a selection of films that were screened at the Â nûû-rû Âboro Festival International du Cinéma des Peuples, an international film festival of the people organized annually in New Caledonia since 2007.
FIFO Hors les Murs (Beyond the Walls)
Every year, a selection of films that were screened during FIFO is offered to viewers living in the districts of Tahiti and throughout 12 islands in the Society Islands, the Tuamotus, the Marquesas and the Australs. In 2015, this FIFO segment, called “Beyond the Walls,” gathered 12,000 viewers, 10,000 of which were students. However, the festival reaches even farther beyond the islands, notably through screenings in Paris thanks to a partnership with Air Tahiti Nui that went into effect in 2013. This provides an opportunity to spread the cultural diversity of Oceania to even more people.
Abderrahmane Sissako presided over a jury of six professionals. Sissako won the 2002 Cannes Film Festival International Critic’s Prize for his film, En attendant le Bonheur (Waiting for Happiness). This Mauritanian filmmaker was the big winner at the 2014 César Awards with seven awards, including best film and best director for Timbuktu. This film was also screened during FIFO during a special soirée in front of a packed audience.
During this 13th edition, the Australian film Another Country swept the Grand Jury Prize. In this film, Australian Aboriginal actor David Gulpilil recounts what happened when the way of life of his people was interrupted by the “white” ways of living. Three special Jury prizes were awarded for the following films: The Ground We Won, a New Zealand documentary that captures a rural community’s male perspective through the practice and rituals of rugby; another New Zealand film, The Price of Peace, which follows the journey of a militant Maori. He shows us the confrontation between his tribe and the Crown after 200 years of conflict up until a peace treaty. Lastly, Tupaia, shot in New Zealand and French Polynesia, reenacts the Tahitian navigator Tupaia whom history forgot, who contributed to the success of Captain Cook’s first voyage in 1769. This film shows the Oceanic version of the first contact between the Maori and the English. To conclude, viewers voted for the People’s Choice Award, which went to Hip Hop-Eration, a New Zealand film that tells the story of women over 90 who competed in the Hip Hop world championships held in Las Vegas.
A Writing Marathon supported by Air Tahiti Nui
This year, under the auspices of Air Tahiti Nui, the first FIFO Writing Marathon was created. Fifteen marathon writers had 10 hours to write a short 3-minute film over the theme of “departure.” The goal was to have fun learning and practicing screenwriting with a professional. The airline with the Tiare flower awarded a plane ticket for the winning screenplay.
Available on FIFO-TV, the channel broadcast on our flights
A partnership with FIFO and Air Tahiti Nui made it possible to create a FIFO channel for the inflight video system. The French Polynesian airline that connects the world to the heart of the Pacific offers travelers thematic video and audio content highlighting the culture of our islands and Oceania. Twelve FIFO documentaries selected from in and out of competition are available on board, some of which are short films (SF).
French films: Au large d’une vie (SF) – (The Depths of a Life); Humanahum, l’histoire de John Gabilou (The Story of John Gabilou); Mon Fenua et ses guerriers -To’u fenua e tona mau to’a (The Warriors of My Homeland) (SF); Raimana World; Tahiti, des perles à revendre (Tahiti: Pearls for Sale); Le mystère Mérou (The Grouper Mystery)
Australian films: Footprints; The Price of Peace
Hawaiian film: Vision in the Dark: the Life of Pinky Thomson
New Zealand film: Hip Hop-Eration.
– Raimana World: His world consists of the ocean and huge waves. Raimana Van Bastolaer, a true French Polynesian legend, is a surfer respected and admired by all. Those who dare to confront the famous Teahupoo wave count on him for his experience and advice.
– Tupaia: Originally from Raiatea (Leeward Islands), this arii (noble) possessed an extraordinary historical and geographical knowledge of the Pacific. This knowledge and his origins greatly assisted the English navigator and explorer James Cook initiate contact with the Maori at the end of the 18th century.
– Footprints: Dances and chants of the Djugun aboriginal people in Australia express the lives of their ancestors. Today, young people want to re-appropriate this knowledge of life. The elders transmit this culture, allowing the youth to take the path to “Dream time.”
– Le Mystère Mérou: The gathering of thousands of grouper in Fakarava (the Tuamotus) is an extraordinary spectacle. A group of scientists went on a diving expedition to better study this annual occasion that happens when the fish reproduce. A 24-hour dive shows the discovery of a cycle of underwater life.