Monday, 2 March 2015

Limanak Island Premiere

In 2014, ACIAR partnered with the Australia Network to produce a television series called ‘Food Bowl’ to be aired on the Australia Network (now called Australia Plus). The Food Bowl team travelled through Papua New Guinea (PNG), Timor-Leste and Lao PDR to discover how agriculture, science and farming come together to lift lives out of poverty and ensure a safe food future.

The community of Limanak Village (in New Ireland Province) were stars of the PNG episode of Food Bowl and I was excited to show them the finalised show so they could watch themselves on the big screen! On a threateningly wet Wednesday night in early January, I did just that.

Since the Food Bowl film crew came to visit and film the footage in mid-2014, I had been asked several times what had happened with the film. Sadly, it is often the norm for outsiders to come in and do things like this, interviews, films, photographs, but with no follow-up for those that gave their time and energy for it. This gave me pride and pleasure that this video came through and I could show the people of Limanak the PNG Food Bowl, episode, especially with so many of the community having a starring or cameo role.

Source: Cathy Hair

While there was no red carpet for this event, there was a buzz around the community leading up to the screening. The movie theatre consists of a white sheet, which I put up as our projector screen (it works really well but it has to be dark). The audience sits on both sides of the movie screen sheet which allows more people to come and watch, as often they wander in and out through the evening. The movie theatre is used by the village to show educational DVDs, project presentations, cartoons for the kids and action movies for the adults...often into the wee hours of the night.

Despite the threat of unwelcome rain, no-one considered cancelling and many people from the village came. I showed the PNG Food Bowl episode twice in its entirety and then another five times for just the Kavieng segment.

Source: Cathy Hair

Most of the locals are fairly shy and I actually think they were a little shocked to see themselves up on the screen. I suspect they thought the show would not eventuate and so were unsure how to react when it did happen. Not in a bad way, but a kind of shocked silence. There was much muted laughter, pointing, giggling and whispering, but not so much yahooing which might have happened in other places. The mark of approval was in the crowd because every time I asked, "shall I play it again?" a resounding response of "yes, please" emerged from the crowd.

The older members of the community who don't get out too much, especially when the weather is bad, didn’t make it to the "premiere"; however, I visited them personally and showed it on my laptop the next day so they didn’t miss out. They were thrilled to see the efforts of the community being recognised more widely.
Source: Cathy Hair

The show has had many positive effects, in particular, it has raised awareness of the projects and reinforced their awareness of the special role the community has in pioneering the mariculture of the valuable sea cucumber in PNG.

By Cathy Hair, PhD candidate
Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture
College of Marine & Environmental Sciences, James Cook University

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