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dimanche 1 mars 2015

FIFO at Tahiti, the 12th

From an edition to the next

At the International Documentary Film Festival in Oceania (FIFO), the theme of the 11th edition, "the voices of Pacific Islanders," augured that of "the free speech" for the 2015 session.

In the line with world events, the 12th edition asserts "no tabu" and presents a program, especially dedicated to women (6 films out of the 15 in competition): their claims, their aspirations, their ways of being and their affirmations. Result of a combination of choices rather than a deliberate intent. No specific section is created for the selection of this year.

FIFO continues its role as unifier between Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and the scattered continent across the Pacific, while continuing its dialogue with the West. Then the gender issue for the Pacific documentary emerges: is it an artistic or an informative work?  What template, for what distribution? What a debate between concept and  confrontation with reality, between imaging sensor and the filmed individuals.

A FIFO can hide another
Can the Pacific movies appropriate their images? Have the broadcasters the willing to admit it? One answer is given by the acquiescence and the enthusiasm of the growing number of spectators into the wide world.

The great matter that is controversial is whether there is a genuine Pacific documentary; and whether it cannot be confused with a reporting. It was born: with its tempo, its harmony, its expanded time, its hieratic stops, an entity composed of characters doing relays, etc. All that remains is that it must be recognized by the critics, to be determined as a Artistic School, to be budgeted. Born under a fare, it disturbs: because it does not fit into the mold of specialists (experts, financiers, distributors).

Women's Portraits
On last year, after the Pacific identity approach  and  the transmission of values of a strong collective heritage, the screens are opting this year for feminine singular destinies. Transgender women, women activists, passionate women, women in search of dreams, women in daily immersion, female artists...

But let's leave the screens a moment. Discover their linchpin: all the women who provide in parallel its achievement. Please note: the content of all the interviews of this article, is split into two parts: one written part and the other, seen and heard on the video.

It's with pleasure, while wishing a lot of stamina and drive to Mary Kops, the new organizer, I will give you a quick picture of Miriama Bono, coordinator of the three previous sessions.

Miriama Bono, an in vivo portrait " at FIFO"
What could we draw from it? "The attendance of professionals and diverse audiences, are a way to learn about us, Tahitians, by these viewpoints. »

If the management of the festival is like a marathon, spread over more than six months of preparation, the ultimate touch of the last month takes the local shape of the typical racing of fruit bearers, to the extent that the weight of this event rests on the shoulders of a frail team. In this context that spins good wind, Miriama, always available, adorned with a smile foolproof, unpacks treasures of ingenuity in Tauhiti Te Fare Nui, The Culture House in the center of Papeete.

Some chance pictures, taken at the end of the festival, could not show better the pressure that the development of such a machinery demands. Miriama, even in slow motion, even her voice broken, speaks only of "good tired, that of challenge accomplished and embellished by the satisfaction of its fulfillment."

Miriama gives us the Quid of the coordination.  We find out the stress but also the ethic aspect in the principle of neutrality which binds the members and organizers. Discretion is paramount!

Marie Kops: an eye to "fifoter" the world
What to expect? "We dread the rain. It has caused some extra work because of the material management, power supply and facilities. And then the rain proved to be an ally which attracted an audience therefore. »

And if Miriama declines the compliments of each festival-goer, she prefers to highlight the collaborative work of those who never are named, his teammates at all levels. If the technique can become misaligned, the team itself remains reliable to those who know how to consider it.

This maintains the ethics of co-founders Wallès Kotra and Pierre Ollivier since 2001. That said, let's take the pulse of the event to one of them, still president of AFIFO (the original Association).

Wallès Kotra and sustainability
Wallès Kotra always wants to ensure the "visibility of the Pacific Film" in this vast ocean which keeps rising. Does the competition from television channels submerge or is it an appropriate and faithful support to Pacific images?

"It 's a true  sake  of wielding a cultural event that mobilizes creators with little means, it is not won!" Wallès recalls starting difficulties where" government and political will did not see the need for the establishment of a film festival. "

Wallès Kotra: a foolproof ardor
"Of course, retention and growth of the partnership overcome the dangers of termination. The consensus of continuity persisted despite the changing of authorities. But it is certain that the festival could not ensure viability, if it was confined to our single geographic sphere. It had to adapt to the crisis. Its survival is its evolution, while safeguarding its independence. It is essential to show the fragility of the world ... The islands may disappear ... but the human exchanges and relations remain a mythical power".

"The FIFO has truly been created around the deep conviction that Oceania was unknown. The key is to affirm our own mentality, our “oceanity”, our own image, to make them known to Europe, as our stories are going to circulate everywhere.”

"As for the spirit of  the FIFO, it can be summarized thus: We try not to take ourselves too seriously to address serious issues. (...) I am delighted that Luc Jacquet is there. Although his work is important and famous (The March of the Penguins, Once Upon a Forest), he remains simple (L. Jacquet, president of the jury 2014).”

Behind this door, FIFO fever  (Te Fare Nui Tauhiti)
"We're there to kind of shake it up, that is our strength!" No need to introduce further Wallès, shimmering formulas man. And if Tahiti remains the center of the FIFO, don't forget the great figures of New Caledonian who hold the keys.

Emmanuel Tjibaou and Indigenous cinema
"New Caledonia is one of the major points of the Pacific cinema with Australia and New Zealand.  Despite its dynamism, it is very isolated from the fever of the 7th art. Added to this is the lack of resources for learning this communication medium. The technique has not yet passed into our custom, and it is only recently that we can expect the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers.”

"The work done in school are not distributed, the links of broadcast and production are actually missing. We lack cinemas. The time slots on the TV are uninsured. It remains to create channels.”

Candlemas and school: the FIFO 2015, let's go!
"We must consider our Culture: essentially oral, it is difficult to find scenarios or theater texts. There is a pool of players trained by the Guinean-Ivorian Souleymane Koly, from traditional African rituals communication, very close to the traditional ceremonies of New Caledonia.

"We need to affirm this form of expression, mixing slam / stand up / orero; the need to affirm the existence of the actor-dancer-slammer. What exists in the theatrical field, our original mode of expression, the peculiarity of our word, there to voice our social themes, must be rooted in the cinema.

"Our action is militant, we must deconstruct the mindset and return to our own indigenous or Kanak codes. The similarities are there. We must move from the center to the tribes. This dialogue between the film and the people who are filmed must thought provoking, advance in the debate. In Tahiti, we have the lighting of a mixed audience.”

Emmanuel Tjibaou: a Culture parable
"Here I come seeking in movies the emotion enhanced by the big screen, subjects worn by our language, something that evokes in me a share of affectivity ... The technicality is more an artifice. It is necessary that the characters touch me, that they address our problems ... that they are the echo of our questions.

"It has been too long spoken for us: we must let the people talk about themselves, about us.”

With his parable of travel (see video), Emmanuel Tjibaou demonstrates that this festival has the advantage of looking for each other, to go through the prism of Polynesia and the world. Find micro-answers, not lessons.

René Boutin and "Man's Shadow"
The movie is said in customary paicî language (spoken language about Poindimié area or Pwêêdi Wiimîâ in New Caledonia): Ânûû-rû âboro or "Man's shadow." The interview given by René Boutin, artistic director of the "peoples of the Festival" illustrates this world of the "shadow projected on screen."

At the outset, he defines "the documentary film as creative because  the Pacific  film  proves their identity that by making palpable the specificity of the culture. Corresponding with what we are, by filming that we cannot view and which is us. "

"It has the criteria of a work of art ... his head cameraman. Bearer of emotions, of sensitivity, reflection, conscience, of values, he speaks of himself (without the need to paraphrase by a voice-over). It has its aesthetic: the integrity of the true subject. It is intuitive, functional and questions the world without resorting to ready-made answers and moved from elsewhere.”

René Boutin: The documentary film, a work of art in its own right
"It goes to the bottom of things, explores the hidden, complex situations, paradoxical antagonisms ... with their dark side. Its screen image is linking the symbol with ancestors   (the shadows of the past). The work exists only endogenously, with Aboriginal filmmakers with this living heritage.

So what does characterize the South Pacific movie? "A world in our image which reveals its interiority, its shades... which has its own language (touch, gestural, verbal, sound), its own rhythm, its off-fields), its own communication codes... and that is not truncated by the television formatting. The voice of the tribes for the tribes… with their pain, their pain to say…

A transfer or a durability for the 12th edition?
If you noticed in the interviews, some prescient statements, they are not coincidental and fully engage their authors...

The editorials of FIFO 2015 are all marked by the intention to develop the festival in the consolidating and expanding over all the South Pacific countries. The guidelines appear in perfect continuity with the previous FIFO.

Among the pool of projects submitted by filmmakers in Pitchdating Workshops this year, will we have the good fortune to discover artists with Pacific names? Do they ensure the succession?

Spruce up you: the FIFO look!
Among the innovations, there is the emphasis on audiovisual education of young people.  They will be tomorrow's moviegoers!  Does that be subsequently able to attract all the modest population of Tahiti? The FIFO Tour to the islands, the FIFO outside the walls, are awaited mixings. Will the FIFO open the way to a more popular attendance?

The quest for identity, founder of the FIFO, shifts to the story. It is not for nothing that Jan Kounen said just "traveling to the Pacific galaxy of documentary-fiction". "Now it's time we tell our stories," launched Wallès Kotra.


An article of Monak
Translated from French by Monak


Copyrights Monak and Julien Gué. Ask for the author’s agreement before any reproduction of the text or the images on Internet or traditional press.

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