Island News

Short film highlights

Written By : MAKERETA KOMAI. As the world focuses on the glittering Oscar Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles this weekend, the hopes and aspirations of the almost
26 Feb 2011 12:00

image Written By : MAKERETA KOMAI.

As the world focuses on the glittering Oscar Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles this weekend, the hopes and aspirations of the almost 3000 inhabitants of the low lying atoll of Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea, considered the world’s first climate refugees, will also be on the world stage.
It’s been converted into a short film titled, ‘Sun Come Up’ that’s nominated for an Oscar in the coveted Documentary Short Subject category. Its other four competitors are Killing in Name, Poster Girl, Stranger No More and Warriors of Qiugang.
The 38-minute short film is produced by New York based documentary producers, Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, who have produced award winning documentaries on Discovery and History Channels. Metzger is currently working on a Discovery/Dreamworks series ‘Rebuilding Ground Zero’.
Redfearn, a Columbia University journalism graduate is currently producing a documentary on climate change conflicts in Africa for MediaStorm.
Sun Come Up follows a group of young Carteret Islanders led by Nick Hakata as they search for land in neighbouring Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, 50 miles across the open ocean.
When rising seas threaten their survival, the islanders face a painful decision: they must leave their beloved land in search of a new place to call home. The move is not easy as Bougainville is recovering from a 10-year civil war. Many Bougainvilleans remain traumatised by the “crisis” as the civil war is known locally. Yet, ‘Sun Come Up’ isn’t a familiar third world narrative.
One of the producers, Jennifer Redfearn hopes that ‘Out of this tragedy comes a story of hope, strength, and profound generosity.’
In addition, Redfearn hopes the film will bring about dialogue that will push the global community to protect the dignity and cultures of climate refugees.
“Sometimes I think that these figures [such as the UN estimate that 250 million people will be displaced by global warming by mid-century] don’t really mean anything to people. Our film shows first-hand the impact of climate change on 3,000 people.
“We hope it can be used for dialogue: how are we going to protect the dignity and culture of these people? Further, it will become clear that global warming is a major security issue in many parts of the world, since most conflicts are disputes over resources, and those are going to get more scarce.
Redfearn said the title of the documentary comes from a pidgin word “San Kamap” or “Sunrise.”
“It is also the name of the government boat that delivers supplies to the islands, said Redfearn.
“For Carteret Islanders it signifies the hope of the next generation and they are taking matters into their own hands.’

Tired of empty promises, the Carteret’s Council of Elders formed a non-profit association in late 2006 to organise the voluntary relocation of its population of 3,300.
The association was named Tulele Peisa, which means “sailing the waves on our own”. For Carteret Islanders, the name reflects the elders’ desire to see its people remain strong and self-reliant, not becoming dependent on food handouts for their survival. In early 2009, the first five families moved to Tinputz on the main island of Bougainville, onto land donated by the Catholic Church.
“I have volunteered to relocate as I would like my family to be able to plant food crops like taro, banana, cassava, yams and other vegetables that we cannot grow on the island,” said Charles Tsebin. “I also want my family to grow some cash crops like cocoa to sustain our future life here in Marau, Tinputz.”
According to a recent Tulele Peisa survey, 80 other families would like to move immediately and 50 wish to move later on. Twenty families have already relocated on their own.
Tulele Peisa’s plan is for Carteret Islanders to be voluntarily relocated to three locations on Bougainville (Tinputz, Tearouki and Mabiri) over the

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