Report from Film Promotion Tour of Vanuatu

30/11/2008 – Jude Fanton

We came last week to the end of our seventeen days in Vanuatu promoting ‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’.
‘Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi’ was broadcast with three repeats on VBTC televison. Interviews on Radio Vanuatu and in the Daily Post put the message out to the urbanites and Efate-ans. We presented the film to the Friends of the Museum on Wednesday night, hours after the Election result. It was great to have the Bislama dub, and French subtitles. Numerous people in the street in Vila told us they recognised their culture in the film.
We gave out a hundred DVDs to a range of key people and organisations for public screenings. It was great to meet with both the women and men Fil Workas (field workers that are cultural guardians in rural areas) at the Kulja Senta (Culture Centre and Museum), show them the film, listen to their reaction and discuss the issues with them. Those with DVD players were keen to show the film in their islands to their people. We also had a string of meetings, formal and informal, with the usual networks of relevant NGOs, newly appointed government officials, advisers and expats and visits to various Nakamals (kava bars).
We met and filmed the food alchemist, Charles Longwah ‘Sarlo’ who collects, promotes and sells more than seventy native food products in his shop and beyond.
Already we have shot some good sequences for the next productions, including a mix of modern and traditional wedding preparations and sharing in Tanna, how people feel sheltered and have positive coping mechanisms in place for crisis. The Year of Traditional Economy was in many minds and an inspiriting theme for our presentations and discussions.