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November 7, 2001 FIJI DOCUMENTARY "IN THE NAME OF GROWTH" NOMINATED FOR INTERNATIONAL AWARD
A Fiji production, In the Name of Growth, has been nominated for an international award at the 21st Hawaii International Film Festival taking place in Hawai‘i this week.
The one-hour Fiji film has been nominated for the First Hawaiian Bank Golden Maile Award for Best Documentary.
The Golden Maile Awards were established in 1994 "to recognize the outstanding cinematic achievements" in the festival. Of about 200 films selected for screening at this year's festival, five films have been nominated for the Best Feature Film and five films for the Best Documentary. The nominated films in the documentary category are from the United States, Canada, Australia, Israel and Fiji.
In the Name of Growth is the latest documentary by Infocus Productions, which comprises international award winning filmmakers Dr ’Atu Emberson-Bain and Michael Rokotuiviwa Preston. An evocative and moving expose of the effects of resource development on the island of Ovalau, the film has been enthusiastically received both in Fiji and overseas.
In a recent communication advising of the film's nomination, festival coordinator Anderson Le told director/producer Emberson-Bain that "We are truly honored to present your film at our festival and feel it is truly worthy as one of the finest films this year."
The documentary will be screened to an international audience in Honolulu this week, after which it will be taken to the outer islands. Along with other nominated films, it will be judged by an international jury panel of recognized professionals.
'Atu Emberson-Bain said that the nomination and invitation to attend the festival were very exciting for both her and Preston. "The nomination is, I believe, a first for Fiji. It is certainly great news for Fiji's fledgling documentary film industry and a boost for struggling independent film makers like us. It is a great honor, and we are looking forward to enjoying a feast of quality films and seminars in Hawai‘i.
In May this year, "In the Name of Growth was premiered in the old capital Levuka in the presence of chiefs from the various villages around Ovalau, and launched by former judge, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, at the Australian High Commission. It has since been used as an educational and advocacy resource by the Pacific Conference of Churches, ECREA (Ecumenical Council for Research, Education and Advocacy) and university institutions in the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. A number of reviews have suggested that the film "should be made compulsory for all students of economics and development in the Pacific."
In August this year, In the Name of Growth was shown nation wide during prime time by Australian television station SBS. However, Fiji TV has declined to screen the film locally.
The documentary highlights the struggle of the unsung heroines of development in Fiji, the women who skin, clean, cut and can Pacific tuna for the export markets of Canada and Europe at the PAFCO fish cannery in Levuka. It focuses on the lives of Fijian women cannery workers, and highlights the clash between growth-driven development in the style of the World Bank and the traditional values of a needs-based subsistence economy.
Dr. ‘Atu Emberson-Bain is a Tongan-born Fiji Islander who is a graduate of the Universities of Oxford, London and the Australian National University in Canberra. She is an author, consultant, documentary film maker, and a member of the Fiji Senate. Michael Preston is a film maker and professional musician, actor and sound engineer, who has performed and taught music in Canada, the USA and Australia.
In January this year, Emberson-Bain and Preston won a gold medal "for excellence in television programming" from the New York Festivals and UNESCO for their documentary Where the Rivers Meet. Entries for this award came from Africa, the Arab States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Asia and Eastern Europe as well as the Asia-Pacific region. Commissioned by the World Council of Churches in 1998 for its Peace to the City Campaign, Where the Rivers Meet has been distributed by Interfaith Search Fiji to secondary schools throughout Fiji to help in peace building and reconciliation efforts.
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