Filming Black Love in the tropics

I really adore this video clip for Frenna directed by AZAD WASTARA; specifically the shots that capture THE PEOPLE, colours, and other sensual impressions of this place so well!

I believe it was filmed in Ghana (there’s a shot of Kiki Bees’s, which is in Ghana). Trying to find information on who the cinematographer was.

And daydreaming of filming in Melanesia


Watch: munchies, chilli balls & an airbnb.

A quick post about something funny, moving, and entertaining.

After many recommendations, I finally watched the web series ‘High Maintenance’; it really is a thing of beauty.

Below are three of my favourite episodes so far, in the order you should watch them in (the first two episodes are related).

First up, ‘BRAD PITTS’:

This second one kind of struck a nerve – and features the hungry lady from the video above. Dating after recovering from serious illness, in my experience, can be a little weird – you just hope for someone who isn’t completely freaked out by the realness of your life, and there are many people who don’t want to deal with that. But exposing that reality to someone on the second date isn’t as challenging as having chilli on your… sensitive areas. ‘RUTH’:

And I enjoyed this one about a couple doing the Airbnb hosting thing, putting up with grating house guests (including a couple of Australians) to pay the rent (incidentally the recent episode of ‘Broad City‘ in which they rent out their apartments to international visitors for one night to make money made me laugh so hard). This scenario is really my personal nightmare – I hate people all up in my stuff and personal space. But maintenance guy really helps a brother put his foot down in ‘TRIXIE’:

 

New post soon, as mentioned.


Merchants of Doubt

Hello 🙂

An A.V. Club reviewer called this film an “artless, toothless look at the expert-for-hire industry”, so naturally I’m eager to see it and judge for myself. This is the synopsis of award-winning documentary maker Robert Kenner’s MERCHANTS OF DOUBT, which was “inspired by” the rigorously researched 2010 book of the same name:

Inspired by the acclaimed book by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, MERCHANTS OF DOUBT takes audiences on a satirically comedic, yet illuminating ride into the heart of conjuring American spin. Filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the curtain on a secretive group of highly charismatic, silver- tongued pundits-for-hire who present themselves in the media as scientific authorities – yet have the contrary aim of spreading maximum confusion about well-studied public threats ranging from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change.

Have a look:

Merchants of Doubt opens in North America in selected cities on March 6.


Cover story in Issue 13 of Stella & Entrepreneurs at CPAF

Hey look at this – the first post of the year! Hope you are well 🙂

Just writing, screenwriting and working in (arts) communications & publishing this year – which affords me time to tinker with organic and simple living (really my main hobby, other than ‘Whatsapp’-ing with my enormous family in PNG) and to prioritise nurturing my health. I am also now considering pursuing a gender research opportunity – specifically, I am considering whether I can bring something of worth to this particular task.

Anyway. Just wanted to share a couple of things to kick off this blogging thing for 2015.

‘SISTERS FOR WEST PAPUA’ IN ISSUE 13 STELLA – ON SALE NOW!

As mentioned late last year, I wrote a 6-page feature article on Nattali Rize, Petra Rumwaropen and Lea Rumwaropen for the latest Entertainment‘ issue of Stella Magazine (it’s the cover story for this issue) – which features fantastic articles on some amazing talent coming out of the Pacific! Here are some words from the Editor:

“If we’ve learnt anything from this issue, it’s that we love to entertain. And with the region brimming with so much talent, we are excited to share the stories of some of the most flexible, resilient and inspiring entertainers of 2014.

In this issue, meet the artists who’ve established unique voices in Australia, New York City, Israel, Fiji, and Tahiti. Working in music, film, literature, fashion, and dance, these artists share an interest, not in fame and fortune, but for social reform and social justice.

As much as we like to be a source of positive media for the Pacific Islands, injustice and exploitation is an ongoing challenge for us as we strive to decolonise our lands and our minds.

With our Pacific Youth being anything but pacified, we are excited to announce the launch of the Stella Pacific Writing Prize, a chance to make some noise about something you care about.”

There is also within this issue a little contributor profile on me, in which I admit to enjoying Katy Perry. If all this doesn’t convince you to SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE BY CLICKING HERE, I don’t know what will.

Check out the strong cover for Issue 13 HERE.

CONTEMPORARY PACIFIC ARTS FESTIVAL 2015: ‘OCEANIA NOW’

The Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival (CPAF) this year will be held from 9-11th April 2015, with workshops being run during March and visual arts exhibitions running until May!

CPAF 2015 will explore the spiritual, physical, cultural and political dimensions of contemporary Pacific identity – situated in the present, the medium between honouring the past and authoring the future. Oceania Now. A space of pure potentiality and agency.

Stay tuned to the CPAF site for updates and ticketing information for workshops and the Symposium. This years festival will include:

5 different Art and Creative Workshops. Including Pacific Photobook Project, Bilum Weaving with Vicki Kinai, Pacific Bling Weaving Workshops, Pacific Fashion Runway Workshop, and Hula Fitness Workshops.

Community Day. Featuring a FREE concert headlined by Radical Son, Children’s Area (a creative village for children and young people with workshops and activities running throughout the day), face painting with artist Ella Benore Rowe, the Craft and Weaving Tent (with Sounds of Polynesia), Interactive Art with Naup Waup (Naup will create work and display his own creations, as well as cultural artefacts from Papua New Guinea), and the Pasifika Fashion Parade featuring participants from the two day Pacific Fashion Runway workshop. There will also be a marketplace with stalls selling a variety of goods.

Traditional Tattooing with Julia Megeau Gray. She’ll be an artist in residence over the three days of CPAF (including Community Day) to demonstrate live tattooing. Julia will be working on individual pieces, and will be available to work on people at FCAC on the 9-11 April.

Woodcarving demonstration with Fono McCarthy. This carver and multi-disciplinary Samoan artist will create an 8ft free standing responsive sculptural work made of native wood titled ‘Gafa Fa’avae’ over 3 days of the CPAF festivities – the work will be completed during the CPAF Community Day.

‘Resonance’ Exhibition. Curated by Chuck Feesago, and featuring work by Naup Waup, Cecilia Kavara Verran, Dan Taulapapa McMullin, Kirsten Lyttle, Chantal Fraser, Chuck Feesago, Leuli Eshraghi, Anna Crawley, Eric Bridgeman.

‘Construction Piece Scores’ ExhibitionCPAF Artist in Residence Ann Fuata will collaboratively develop a work based on ancient intercontinental ocean floor highways that are thought to stretch across the entire Pacific Ocean.

Fiafia Bar – The Festival Bar. 6pm-10pm for the three days of the festival. Step into the Fiafia Festival Bar and witness a Pacific collision of island culture, dance, song, circus and all flavours of contemporary entertainment.

CPAF Symposium. 9-10th April. 25 speakers, 6 chair persons, the PK-CPAF presenters and our keynote speaker Ema Tavola will be progressing a lively and focused discussion on issues relevant to contemporary Pacific arts practice in both an Australian and international context.

We’ve just released the Symposium line-up HERE and HERE.

I’m looking forward to seeing Stella Magazine Editor Amanda Donigi chair the panel ‘Entrepreneurialism in Pacific Arts’.

A two-day pass or one-day passes are available. To book your place in the audience, CLICK HERE.

Stay tuned to the CPAF website and CPAF Symposium website for further announcements, booking information, and the full festival program (yet to be released).


ESSENTIAL viewing for contemporary peace: 12 Years A Slave

There’s a good reason this film won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Lupita Nyong’o, and a Best Actor nomination for Chiwetel Ejiofor:

 

12 Years A Slave is a devastating portrayal of the story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), an adaptation of his 1853 memoir ‘Twelve Years a Slave’.  Northup was a New York State-born free African American man, an accomplished violinist and farmer, a husband and father, who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery.

Other cast members include Adepero Oduye, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Liza J. Bennett, Brad Pitt, and Paul Dano. This motion picture was directed by the brilliant Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame) from an adapted screenplay written with John Ridley, and shot by cinematographer Sean Bobbitt – who worked with McQueen on Hunger and Shame. It was produced by Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company.

*****

I cannot quite put into words the power of this movie. The story will stay with me forever. So I will just say this: 12 Years A Slave is not merely an historical picture. It is much more than a biographical drama, more than a faithful adaptation of an autobiographical novel. And it is much, much more than an unflinching look at one of the ugliest manifestations of human evil in known history.

Yes, this film is all of those things, and for this I feel grateful to all who made it a reality. But let us not make the mistake of resting in the anaesthetising assumption that that warped consciousness – such that would lead a human to think it not only okay, but justifiable, to torture, own, or exploit another being – is essentially dead in the developed world. It is not.

I see this film as having contemporary parallels. For 12 Years A Slave highlights one of the most disturbing and insidious aspects of the human mind – the ability to desensitise ourselves from the suffering of others, in favour of our own comfort, pleasure, wealth, aesthetic preferences.

Perhaps unintentionally, the film is rich in metaphors for the justifications we in the modern, supposedly “enlightened” and civilised world make for purchasing products, supporting governments, hoarding wealth or simply turning away from the suffering of others, in favour of base and corrupt self-interest.

One such example: A slave owners wife, Mrs Ford, who is disturbed by the anguished wailing of a Mother (who happens to be a slave, Eliza) for her children, a young boy and little girl, taken from her and sold to other slave owners. “I cannot have that kind of depression about”, she whispers. The grieving Mother is removed, permanently.

Out of sight, out of mind… the oppressor’s comfort is conserved. The victim’s pain and vocal suffering was disturbing the comfortable, civilised peace. The victim’s pain – not the evil, vile acts that caused her pain – was seen as the problem.  (Mrs Ford had earlier, for a brief moment, entertained sympathy for Eliza’s plight, before telling Eliza it would be okay, as she would soon forget her children).

So then. What is evil?

Evil is not just abject cruelty and extreme violence. It has been said that evil thrives when good men do nothing. Evil also thrives when those perpetrating and supporting evil indirectly, fail to see – or wilfully refuse to see – how their actions (or inactions) are part of that evil.

When we allow our governments to torture, mistreat, imprison. When we punish people for fighting for their freedom. When we simply turn away from the suffering of others. We are Mrs Ford. We are the person who claims to be compassionate, to be good, whilst simultaneously supporting systems literally sanctioning the harm of others.

When you see this film – and you must – think about the hidden cruelty and inhumanity built into our global economic system today. Think about how we tell people fighting to merely be free that they should be less “angry”, and consider them less worthy of sympathy when they have the audacity to show the desperate emotions that come with the struggle to survive.

Think about how easily and happily we remain ignorant of the suffering that may have gone into almost everything we consume. Slavery is not dead, and nor is the moral blindness that enabled it. It is incumbent upon everyone who truly believes in freedom – and I hope that you do, as I do – to open our eyes.

.

“The last word: everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup. I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery. And the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today.” – Steve McQueen, Director, 12 Years A Slave.


RETRO POST: “A FORCE OF NATURE: David Suzuki”

Hiya 🙂 I first posted this blog post in 2011 – it was my 63rd post. David Suzuki was on the ABC program ‘Q & A’ a few weeks back, but I only just remembered this – thought it might be a good time to put it out there again. New post soonish!

“The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.”

David Suzuki


It was a chilly but wonderfully moonlight night on Sunday evening when a friend and I attended the Australian premier of the David Suzuki documentary, A Force of Nature, at the Moonlight Cinema in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. David Suzuki is a Japanese Canadian scientist, broadcaster and environmental activist, who has hosted the award-winning CBC science program The Nature of Things since 1979. Having grown up watching his television specials (broadcast in Australia on the ABC), I was excited to see him giving an introduction before the screening. If you’re familiar with his work as a science communicator, you’ll be surprised by the very personal nature of this film, made by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson.

This is the trailer:

THE FILM PREMISE.

David is in the final act of his life and academic career, and is about to deliver his last lecture. Not shown in its entirety, the brilliant lecture forms the spine of the film – it is visited in specific segments, to introduce themes and ideas that are then explored biographically through David. We are taken to various locations of significance to him, and broader significance in terms of our collective history (Hiroshima, for example. David marvels at the resilience of nature after the devastation of the atomic bomb). As he visits these places and reflects on the impact of these events on his life, we understand the evolution of his activism/career and the motivation behind the message – of the interconnectedness of all life, and respect for the natural world. The result is a more emotionally powerful argument for science. Gunnarsson seamlessly moves us between these personal scenes and the lecture, as the essential theme of the film unfolds: what LEGACY are we leaving behind?

INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE LEGACY.

Not only the central theme of the film, Legacy is also the title of David’s new book (read about it here). A Force of Nature and Legacy are part of The David Suzuki Legacy Project. When one becomes an elder, a status that 74 year-old David embraces in the documentary, leaving a legacy becomes the most important thing you can turn your mind too. In A Force of Nature, he reflects not only on his personal legacy but, more importantly, our collective legacy.

WHAT WE DO WE REALLY VALUE?

According to David, this is the greatest threat to that collective legacy: the industrialised/first world obsession with economic growth. It seems that to this society, or at least to political and business leaders, growth/expansion is not merely a means to an end; growth is progress. But David argues we need to reassess what kind of growth is good, and what progress actually means to us. The great benefit of being an elder, of being wise, is that it enables you to do just that. What do we really value? And how do we structure our lives, lifestyles, and economies to ensure that the important things are preserved, and that future generations can also enjoy them? We see that responsible public policies come after that, when we make sure we elect leaders and reward businesses who ambitiously pursue practical policies that reflect those values – as ambitiously as the United States pursued a space program after Sputnik (a determined program that, unintentionally, gave us GPS and mobile phones). In order to get the right leadership in place, though, the majority needs to come to really understand the direction our personal choices are taking us in, collectively. This is why David moved into television and media educating – to influence public consciousness on a broader scale.

BECAUSE THE SOLUTION LIES IN OUR HEADS.

David says that the 2kg organ that enabled our undistinguished ancestors to take over the world – our BRAIN – is the organ we must now use to save ourselves from the self-destruction we are creating.  Our brains are endowed with memory, curiosity, and inventiveness that enabled us to successfully populate the planet (despite our sensory and physical handicaps). And that brainpower did something incredible, which has set our species apart from others: it invented the idea of THE FUTURE. The future doesn’t exist (yet) – only the present, the now, is real. But our brains have the ability to perceive that we can affect the future by what we do today. This is CREATIVE POWER – the power to create the future. It is the power to imagine, and to see ahead where the dangers and opportunities lie. To recall experience and knowledge in order to plan and inform our behaviours, and understand how those behaviours (thoughts and actions) will affect the future reality. Deliberate cause and effect. David believes it is this foresight that enabled our species to rise to supremacy as it has.

PRICING LIFE ON EARTH? CARBON TAX vs BIG INDUSTRY

Yet business interests, emission intensive industries and their political allies are encouraging us now to ignore this ability of foresight, for one oft cited (bullshit) reason in particular:

“we can’t afford it”.

This is nonsense, David argues, as environmental concerns should always be primary… after all, it is the natural world that sustains human life in the long term – not jobs! He also argues that the notion that we can’t afford to reduce our carbon emissions is a complete fallacy. Business interests in his country of Canada, as in Australia, have opposed the imposition of a carbon tax, arguably one of the best market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions, saying it would cripple the economy. Here in Australia, Prime Minister Gillard’s recent announcement of plans to introduce a carbon tax from July 1st next year has been met with fierce opposition by the usual suspects: Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, right wing politicians, their media geisha and the money-focused voters that support them.  In the State of NSW, the right-wing opposition leader has wasted no time in using the issue, warning voters about how the tax will add to their annual power bills, and vowing to “fight the carbon tax” (wow, what a hero). Yet Sweden has had a carbon tax since 1991, and charges $150 a tonne – not applied to fuels used for electricity generation. Because fuels from renewable sources (such as ethanol and biofuels) are exempted, the tax has led to a large increase in the use of biomass for heating and industry. Since the imposition of the tax to the year 2006, they reduced carbon emissions by 9%, which exceeded the Kyoto target so much that they were told they could actually increase their emission by 4% (something they declined to do, because it wasn’t considered ambitious enough!). Moreover, their economy grew by 44% during that time.

Like David said, that old “we can’t afford it” line? Lie.

THE BRAIN, THE SOLUTION.

Our abilities of foresight are greater today than they have ever been, thanks to science, the body of knowledge across disciplines, and the freedom of access we have to that knowledge facilitated by communication technology. Ironically though, it is the advent of too much information that is in some ways impeding environmentalists’ efforts. People, having a bias towards a particular viewpoint (regardless of whether that viewpoint is true or not) can easily find sources of “information” that justifiy their bias. What is needed are people who can sift through the information we are bombarded with everyday, and identify what is valid and what is not. Moreover, we need people and sources of information that will take the time to look at an issue in depth AND in its broader historical and social context – how it relates to other news stories and ongoing developments, giving us a more complete understanding of the issues. Why is this important? Because of one simple, powerful fact: everything is interconnected.

THE WISDOM OF INDIGENOUS CULTURES, THE KNOWLEDGE OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, AND THE GENIUS OF NATURE.

Something I’ve always admired about David is his genuine respect for indigenous cultures’ relationship with the natural world. It is an affinity that has deepened with the birth of his grandson, whose father is a First Nation’s man of Canada (we get to see the little dude in the movie). The values of many aboriginal cultures in relation to the environment stand in complete contrast with the values that underpin the economic system of the West, Asia… the industrialised world. Many indigenous cultures place an emphasis on having humility and reverence in the face of nature. The idea that certain areas, certain places in nature, for example, are sacred and not to be exploited, is regarded as silly by growth/money-minded, myopic thinkers. That particular value though, of reverence for nature and seeking to work with it, or like it, (as opposed to conquering and using it), is one we will need to embrace en masse for our own survival. That doesn’t mean turning our backs on cities, or technology – far from it. In fact, the convergence of this value and technology – as in biomimicry – has already given birth to some ingenious designs, inventions, and architecture. Have a look at this awesome bit of biomimicry modern architecture in Zimbabwe (of all places):

Green Building in Zimbabwe Modeled After Termite Mounds

Another idea that is embodied in many indigenous cultures, and ancient spiritual traditions, that David has articulated scientifically throughout his career, is the interconnectedness, and hence, interdependence, of all life – of everything within the biosphere. Every living thing is bound together by scientific laws and the elements. We are, fundamentally, all the same.

In this short clip from the film, he articulates this interconnectedness beautifully in relation to air:

The problem we face as a species is that we tend to look at everything in a segmented, fragmented way. We see parts, not the whole.  This is reflected in public policy – we treat energy, health, the environment, immigration and economics like they are separate issues. But they aren’t – they are, as we are, all interconnected.

David believes this is the most crucial message we need to get out today… our very survival now depends upon it. Until enough of us let this fact permeate our thinking and consciousness, and govern our behaviour and choices, we will continue to head in the wrong direction.


Pearl: Film Premiere! May 24 2013

This is happening tomorrow night – congrats Lisa Hilli, George Siosi Samuels and the talented YOUTH who created this film!

Story Weavers, Youthworx Media and Signal invite you to the premiere of

‘PEARL’

A short film written and directed by Australian Pacific Islander youth. 

 

Earlier this year a group of young Melbournites from Pacific backgrounds came together with filmmakers as part of the ‘Story Weavers’ project. We spent our time exploring film craft and the experience of being young, urban and Pacific Islander. The result is ‘Pearl’, a beautiful short film written, directed and filmed by the collective and incorporating everyone’s idea of how it is to be a young Pacific person living in Australia NOW!  

It’s the story of Dinah, a young Islander woman struggling with her grandmother’s death and the demands that her family place on her. She escapes down to the railway tracks where she spends her days. Trains pass by, mates pass by, cops pass by. Will life pass Dinah by?

 Join us for a good Islander feed to celebrate the launch of ‘PEARL’ and contemporary pacific culture! Entry by donation/koha.

 

Friday May 24

6:30pm for 7pm start

SIGNAL

Flinders Walk, Northbank, Melbourne CBD

(Behind Flinders St Station towards Sandridge Bridge)

 

Story Weavers is a project of Youthworx Media and SIGNAL. This is a satellite event of the Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival held at Footscray Community Arts Centre  in partnership with the Big Island Collective 2013.

Pearls_Flyer3